50 dogs rescued from Sterling Heights home, donations needed

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"(It smelled) like rotting, like something was dead," said Brittany McClellan.

That's how McClellan described the stench that greeted her family when they moved on Montego Drive in this Sterling Heights neighborhood last July. 

"We actually have a trampoline and we noticed a smell in the backyard," she said.

Fast forward to February 2019. Another strong smell prompted an anonymous call to the Macomb County Animal Control.

When Animal Control and police arrived, they didn't find animals but were told by dispatch a homeowner on Montego needed a place for more than 50 dogs.

"This person called them and said we have these dogs we've been trying to take care of these stray dogs there, 52 of them," said Lt. Mario Bastianelli, Sterling Heights police. "(This person said) We have them in a U-Haul truck and want to turn them over to the Macomb County Animal Control Shelter."  

But police say as the man transported the dogs in the U-Haul truck to the shelter some got into a fight and one dog was injured so badly it had to be euthanized. Now police say they're working to investigate how all these dogs landed in this home. 

"Was it neglect - what exactly is going on, why are these people holding 52 animals?" said Bastianelli.

As police search for answers, these dogs are now being cared for at the Macomb County Animal Control shelter. It is forcing the shelter to call on the community to donate items like dog food, soap and bleach. 

"They are covered with feces," said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. "It is pretty sad.". 

Back on Montego Drive, sources tell FOX 2 that there was a foreclosure on this home and a man and his three sons are being evicted. 

On Thursday crews were sent in to help clear it out.  As the investigation continues into this dog hoarding case, police say there could be criminal charges.

"Maybe animal neglect," Bastianelli said. "Maybe along the lines of animal cruelty, it depends on the specifics of what was going on at that house with dogs." 

Macomb County Animal Control is asking for donations to help care for dogs. 

Go to https://animalcontrol.macombgov.org/animalcontrol-home