HOWARD, Colo. - The Fremont County Sheriff's Office says some of the 19 dogs and four cats that it removed from a home in Howard were locked in cabinets and closets.
William Kevin Goode, 58, is facing aggravated animal cruelty charges.
The sheriff's office says it found one dead dog in the home and that most of the dogs and cats did not have access to food or water. It says all of the animals appeared to be in poor health.
Deputies learned about the animals when they went into the home to carry out an eviction on July 10, 2014. The sheriff's offices says Goode was arrested after not cooperating with the eviction.
The sheriff's office says that investigators had to wear protective hazmat clothing and breathing respirators inside the house because of the overwhelming smell and filth.
The Colorado State Humane Society was called to help remove the animals from the house the next day.
Captain Katrina Schou with Colorado Humane Society and SPCA helped rescue the animals from the home. She said dogs were locked in closets. It took a long time to coax fearful animals out of the home.
The animals are being held at the Dumb Friends League in Denver. Colorado Humane Society and SPCA partners with the shelter. A room in the shelter had to be cleared out to host the animals to make sure any potential diseases they carried with them from the home didn't infect other shelter animals.
Veterinarians are monitoring the animals. Schou pointed out that one dog looked thin. Dogs fur was extremely matted. Two dogs' white fur was yellow and Schou said that was from conditions in the home.
Some dogs shied away from treats. Schou said that's not necessarily based on conditions at the home, it was more dependent on the nature of the dog.
"I am happy that they are responding to us and that they are animals that are getting the stimulation that they need and right now they are getting what they needed in a healthy and sanitary environment," said Schou.
The animals are not up for adoption. They will be held at the shelter until a judge decides if Goode can have his pets back.
"The owner has a right to be heard before the courts and that's a right all of us want to have as citizens," said Schou.
Goode is facing a charge of obstructing government operations related to his arrest on July 10 as well as 23 counts of aggravated animal cruelty.