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updated 3/12/2008 10:15:42 PM ET 2008-03-13T02:15:42

Police found 117 starving and diseased dogs — including about 40 that were dead or dying — during a raid at an eastern Kentucky animal shelter.

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Some officers donned hazardous-material suits Tuesday before they went into the basement, which was full of filth, feces, murky liquid and more than a dozen dogs.

"There were a couple of small puppies that just fell over dead while we were standing there. I think I'm gonna have nightmares about this," said Greg Hayes, Jackson County emergency management director.

Officials said they retrieved about 75 living dogs from the shelter and would deal with about 40 dead dogs. The living dogs were taken to a veterinary clinic in Jackson County for medical attention and temporary holding space.

Timothy Foust, 32, and Shawn Embs, 18, were each charged with 117 counts of animal cruelty. It was not clear whether the men had attorneys. The Jackson County Jail did not immediately return a message to The Associated Press.

Jackson County Sheriff Ted Fee said he plans to charge Foust's wife, Aimee Robbins-Foust, on the same counts.

Fee said no one associated with the Animal Assist facility in Sand Springs has been able to produce a kennel license. Robbins-Foust and two other women set up the shelter in December, state records show.

"I guess they had intentions of doing something right, but in my opinion, they wound up with more than they could care for," Fee said. "They just didn't have the money or the space they needed. It just went bad, really bad."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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