The Utah County Sheriff's Office said an Eagle Mountain woman is suspected of animal cruelty after 16 dogs were found dead inside her home.
On March 3, neighbors went to check on the welfare of the dogs when the 74-year-old woman was hospitalized after a fall. After seeing the dogs and the deplorable conditions, the neighbors called the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies were able to secure a search warrant, and when they entered the house with animal shelter staff, they "encountered an overwhelming odor of animal feces and urine." Deputies also found more than 15 dead dogs inside a freezer, and one dog lying dead outside a kennel.
Fourteen dogs that were alive were removed from the house.
The case has been submitted to the Utah County Attorney's Office, with a request for 16 charges of Class A misdemeanor animal cruelty for the dogs that died, and another 14 charges of class B misdemeanor animal cruelty for the dogs that were still alive.
The Sheriff's office said they had previous contact with the woman under similar circumstances in 2018. At that time, 14 dogs were removed from the home, although the woman was allowed to retrieve four of the animals.
On another occasion in 2014, the woman denied a request to have deputies inspect her home. In the most recent case, police were able to obtain a search warrant.
Law enforcement officials have not yet released the woman's name.
Sgt. Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff's Office said the animals — which ranged from small puppies to fully-grown adult dogs — were not the "cuddly kind of dogs that want to have their ear scratched," and they even seemed "almost feral." They were difficult to round up, he said. One deputy was bit in the ankle, but only into his boot. An animal shelter employee was also bit.