MACON, Ga. — Three people are in jail amid an animal cruelty investigation in Bibb County.

Jean Dumas lives across the street from Jonathan and Sara Iler, and Sara's mother, Donna White. 

"I was shocked that they had that many animals, and I was really shocked that they were arrested," says Dumas, "They were a nice couple. I mean, they didn't bother anybody. They had their animals, but I think they loved their animals."

Dumas had no clue there were 21 cats and 13 dogs inside, but she did say the home had an odor.

Sonja Adams with the Bibb County Sheriff's Office Animal Enforcement says it all started with a welfare check. "A smell of just urine, feces, built up over time, they called me and said, 'Hey, we're gonna need you guys out here.'"

Adams says upon first glance, the animals are healthy, for the most part.

"Many of the cats have respiratory issues from being enclosed in a room with 20 cats, 20-plus cats, and never coming out," she says.

She also says the conditions, including the smell of cat urine and feces, sent one officer to the hospital. "Because the ammonia levels reach a toxic level at some point, your eyes start to burn, your nose burns, you start burning in your throat."

The animals are being held at Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare, but they need to adopt out other animals to make room. They're looking to have 10 dogs and 10 cats adopted.

The shelter will be open on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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To find out more, please visit the Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare Facebook page, or call (478) 621-6774.

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