A Wicomico County couple faces 168 charges of animal cruelty in what has been called the most egregious treatment of pets the state of Maryland has ever seen.
Susan Marie Murphy, 67, and Robert Holliday Murphy, 60, of Eden, Maryland were arrested following an investigation on their property, according to a statement from the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office.
The kennel check, which took place in April, discovered a total of 310 dogs on their property. Several hundred dogs were distributed in three other buildings on the property and 166 were found inside their home. There is now enough evidence to prove that the couple had been running a puppy mill, an operation that breeds dogs in deplorable conditions to sell for a profit, according to WMDT.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis described to local media outlets in a press conference on July 11 the horrendous conditions authorities had witnessed—calling it the worst case Maryland has ever seen.
“There was an inordinate amount of feces and urine in the residences and many locations you could not determine what type of flooring was in the home because of the urine and feces that covered the residence,” said Lewis, via WMDT.
“There were also the remains,” he added. “The skeletal remains of many dogs located in these out buildings as well as many puppies who actually gnawed their own limbs off of their bodies. There were many dogs found in very deplorable and egregious health conditions.”
Humane Society executive director Aaron Balsamo also told media that there “were complaints in the past” about this property, and that an investigation of other kennels with possible connections to the Eden one is currently underway.
Fortunately, all the dogs have been confiscated from the property. Some are still undergoing treatment at a local Humane Society—they have raised $110,000 for the dogs—while the rest have been adopted, according to The Associated Press.
The Murphys are facing 84 counts each of animal cruelty. There are no official court dates set for either suspects.