WACO, Texas — The McLennan County Sheriff's Office described a horrific scene after they responded to calls about an abandoned house on Saturday.
"A very very bad situation," Sheriff Parnell McNamara told 25 News. "I don't know how a human could live there."
The sheriff said they found 17 dogs in that home. Two dogs were described as "vicious" and were living outside. The others were inside with no air and boarded-up windows.
"They did have water and were being fed, but there's no telling how hot it was in there and one of the filthiest situations I've ever seen in a house," Sheriff McNamara said. "The dogs had absolutely torn up the house."
The dogs were all brought to the Humane Society of Central Texas. The shelter was already at capacity and with one of the dogs testing positive for Parvo, they all had to be quarantined.
"It's a strain, it's hard when you're already full and now we have one whole area of the shelter that can't be used for anything else," Executive Director Kandi Hillyer said. "When we say we are at max capacity, we truly are."
The animals are being held in the shelter's intake building where staff can only work with them in protective gear until the quarantine ends.
They won't be available for adoption for a while.
"We'll hold those animals for the duration of that investigation until the McLennan County Sheriff's Office decides to take action," director of animal services, Trey Buzbee, said. "We don't have a timeline yet, we're working with the sheriff's department. We'll hold them indefinitely until the court tells us what we need to do with those animals."
The investigation is still ongoing, but the sheriff told 25 News it looks like it could be tied to dog fighting.
"A lot of these houses are called drop houses and these are bait dogs where they're basically fed to Pitbulls involved in dog fighting," he said. "People who do it need to go to prison for a long time. I'm not saying that's what this is, but it's what it looks like it could be."
Sheriff McNamara also said they might not have heard about this situation without citizens reporting it. He said it's a reminder of how important it is that if you see something concerning, you say something.
If anyone is missing a dog from the Waco area, they are asked to call the sheriff's office to see if their animal was one of the ones found over the weekend.