A man from Georgia is expected to be charged for animal cruelty after firefighters rescued 85 dogs from a house that had caught fire, and where he had kept them confined in unhygienic conditions.

The dogs were discovered as firefighters tried to enter the house in South Fulton County on Sunday to extinguish the fire. The identity of the owner is yet to be ascertained and it was not known if he was arrested.

According to various reports, the floor of the house where the dogs were kept was littered with feces and dotted with pools of urine.

It is believed that many of the dogs were pregnant and one of them was found dead.

According to a report in the Times Standard News, Fulton County Deputy Fire Chief Charles Stubbs said the condition of the house was so bad that the firefighters had a tough time to get into the house to fight the blaze.

Stubbs also said the owner did not have the required permit to keep more than four dogs, and was illegally breeding the rest of the animals.

According to the rescuers, it was one of the most unusual and horrifying cases they have come across with regards to cruelty against animals and also animals living in precarious surroundings.

They said that though the dogs were given food and water, they were living in horrific conditions.

According to a report in ABC-affiliate WSB-TV, Karen Hirsch from the Lifeline Animal Project said, “They are terrified; they’re cowered in their cages. The conditions they were living in were just terrible. I don’t know if they ever got to go outside.”

Hirsch added, “Health-wise, they don’t have heartworms, they’ve been fed and seemingly cared for so we feel lucky.”

The dogs have been given shelter at the Fulton County animal shelter; since the shelter is already full to its capacity, they are looking for people who are ready to adopt or foster some of them.

The dogs are being given proper medication, informed the Fulton County Animal Services.

Local rescue groups have come forward to help find loving new homes for the dogs so that they can have a new beginning, reported WSB-TV.

According to Stray Pet Advocacy, an organization that stands for animals’ safety, animal cruelty is defined as “causing death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. Willful neglect means the intentional withholding of food and water required by an animal to prevent starvation or dehydration.”

The organization described the various charges for cruelty against animals in the state of Georgia. According to their website, the charges depend on the extent of vindictiveness to which the animals are subjected to.

The first level of felony is charged with a fine up to $1000 and/or imprisonment for up to 1 year. In the next conviction, a fine of up to $5000 and imprisonment for up to 1 year is imposed. If meanness against the animal causes death of an animal then it will be regarded as a felony of “a high and aggravated nature." 

For this a person can be imprisoned for a minimum 3 months, maximum a year and/or a fine up to $10,000.

It also explained that aggravated cruelty can lead to imprisonment of minimum 1 year, maximum 5 years, and/ or a fine up to $15,000.