ATWOOD, Tenn. - Around 150 animals of various species were found to be living in extremely neglectful conditions on a property in Atwood.
Officials with the Animal Rescue Corps and Carroll County authorities rescued the animals Sunday. They reported it was a breeding operation and dubbed the rescue "Operation Noah’s Ark."
The animals were found about two hours west of Nashville and were seized by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
Photos: 150 Animals Rescued From Atwood Property
(WARNING: Some photos have graphic content.)
The animals included approximately 43 large and medium breed dogs and puppies, 37 cats and litters of newborn kittens, 17 rabbits, 10 geese, eight chickens, six ducks, six goats, five sheep, five chinchillas, four ferrets, and two alpacas.
The animals were living without adequate food or water, and multiple dead animals were also found on the property, including a zebra, a cat, a duck, and rabbits.
Live animals were also found to be living in the same cages as dead animals. They were also found running loose or in cages and a barn on the property, as well as in the property owner’s home and garage.
Authorities said they were all extremely dirty and suffered from infestations of internal and external parasites, as well as broken bones, extreme matting, eye and ear infections, and respiratory issues.
The respiratory issues were reportedly caused by extremely high ammonia levels inside the house and garage. Those levels were among the highest ARC has ever recorded.
“This is extreme animal cruelty,” said ARC President Scotlund Haisley. “I have never experienced ammonia levels this high. These animals were not living here; they were dying here. The operators of this mass breeding mill chose greed over compassion.”
ARC received a tip from a concerned citizen which led to the rescue that began with a search warrant.
Multiple cruelty code violations were discovered, and officials immediately began removing and documenting the animals.
“This county takes all cases of abuse and cruelty very seriously,” said Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson. “The law was being violated and these animals desperately needed help, so we didn’t hesitate to take action.”
The property and animals were being documented, and the animals were safely transported to the Rescue Operations Center in Lebanon.
This was ARC’s third rescue operation in the past two months in Tennessee and Louisiana.
The animals were receiving thorough veterinary exams, appropriate vaccinations, and any necessary medical treatment.
ARC officials confirmed they will provide daily care until legal custody of the animals can be determined. The animals can then be placed with shelter and rescue organizations to be adopted into loving homes.
Those with ARC said Redemption Road Rescue also assisted. They will be caring for all of the farm animals and fowl.
For more information, visit ARC online.