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Officials: Some of the nearly 40 dogs recovered from hoarding situation belonged to other families

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LAFAYETTE, Tenn. — A man and a woman have been charged with animal cruelty after nearly 40 dogs were rescued from a hoarding situation in Tennessee.

It began with an unusual call to Macon County Animal Control officials on Friday afternoon, Jan. 18.

“We got a call from neighbors that eight dogs were on the loose, attacking livestock — and when I went down with the deputy, lo and behold, there were more at the barn,” said Jamie Weekley with Macon County Animal Control.

Altogether there were 38 dogs, mostly Siberian huskies. Eighteen were found in the home on Sycamore Valley Road in Lafayette, Tennessee. Another 20 dogs were found in a nearby barn.

“They were not well taken care of. Conditions were very poor. Some of them are very thin and never had human contact,” said Weekley.

Officers arrested 59-year-old Gary Leary and his 46-year- old wife, Jennifer. They were charged with 38 counts of animal cruelty and the killing of livestock — being held on a $20,000 bond each.

The Wilson County Disaster Animal Response Team, otherwise known as DART, was called in to assist.

“It is terribly heartbreaking but rewarding, because once they come to a setting like this, they are safe and secure — and that’s what we like to see,” said Julie Hutchison, coordinator of Wilson County DART.

Thirty-four of the dogs survived.

Weekley said some of the dogs belonged to other families and were taken by the Learys, including a dog that went missing for a year. That dog belonged to a family who lived right down the street.

Macon County Animal Control officials said the dogs would eventually be sent to adoption centers.

Meanwhile, they asked that anyone concerned that one of the dogs is theirs should call the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, and be prepared to show paperwork.

DART officials have set up a account to help with the care of the dogs.

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