POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A couple was arrested on charges of drug possession and animal cruelty in Polk County, said deputies.
Randall Keith Huggins, 49, and Bernice Mae Walskey, 55, were arrested after deputies said they were called to their home on Owens Road in Auburndale to investigate possible drug activity.
Deputies said Huggins agreed to allow deputies to search the property.
A sheriff's K-9 assisting with the investigation alerted to the odor of narcotics in Walskey’s vehicle.
When deputies searched the vehicle, two large bags of a green leafy material were found, investigators said. The material was identified as “Hawaiian Haze and Orange Krush,” which deputies said are herbal alternatives to marijuana. Additional items used for packing and distributing illegal narcotics were also found, deputies said.
While conducting the drug possession investigation, deputies said they contacted Animal Control officers requesting their assistance with 47 dogs found on the property.
The dogs were confined in cages stacked on top of each other inside the home in deplorable conditions, deputies said. The dogs were standing in their own feces and urine and were not provided food and water, officers said.
Deputies stated in a report that the odor of feces and urine in the home was overwhelming. The dogs had not been out of the cages and were not provided room for exercise or change of air. The report stated that many of the dogs suffered signs of malnutrition, skin conditions and fleas.
During the course of the investigation, an additional fourteen pounds of a green herb and several bags of chemicals commonly used to produce synthetic marijuana were found, deputies said.
The animals were taken to the Polk County Animal Control facility. A veterinary evaluation is being conducting.
Huggins was charged with 40 counts of animal cruelty. Walskey was charged with three counts of possession of listed drug and 40 counts of animal cruelty.
Walskey bailed out of jail on Sunday, but Huggins remains locked up, deputies said.