LORETTO, Tenn. - Jenna Deuel has lived in her home on Horn Ave in Loretto for two years. She said within days of moving in she noticed something was off with the dogs living next door, "17 dogs in one garage for 23 hours out of 24 hours a day," Deuel said.
Several weeks ago she noticed her neighbors were no longer there, she assumed they had left one dog in the back yard so Deuel began to feed it. She did not know that inside the home dozens of animals had been left to starve. Her first clue, weeks later, was the smell.
"It slapped me in the face," Deuel said. "I smelled dead animals."
This week Loretto police officers conducted a welfare check on the home and found five dead dogs inside, seven other dogs and 15 cats were also taken from the home and placed in veterinary care.
"Knowing that I slept not 20 feet from where these dogs were dying, I don't think I'll ever get over it," said Deuel.
The couple who lived there, Jessica Clark and Matthew Blessing were arrested and charged with five counts of felony aggravated cruelty to animals and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty.
Police say the seven dogs that are in veterinary care will be given to couple's family members. Deuel hopes there's another way they can be helped.
"I would hope that they can implement something so this never happens again," she said.