LAKEWOOD, Ohio (WJW) — More than 40 beagles have been rescued from a home in Lakewood, where investigators said the owner had been hoarding the dogs for years.

Most of the beagles are now getting the care they need at the Lakewood Animal Shelter.

Acting on a series of complaints, Lakewood police executed a search warrant at the home along Waterbury Road on Monday. Investigators said the dogs were not being properly cared for and were forced to live in filthy conditions.

“Dogs should not have to live in conditions like they were living and thank goodness we got all of them out and most of them are alive,” Lakewood police Capt. Gary Stone, who supervised the removal of the beagles from the home, told FOX 8. “I don’t know what the future holds for some of them.”

(WJW photo)

Neighbors said they were concerned about the barking they heard and the strong odors emanating from the house, but had no idea the owner’s hoarding had spun so far out of control.

“Initially, I just thought it was somebody breeding and just not keeping dogs properly, but I think ultimately when it comes down to it, there’s an underlying mental health condition probably that’s happening, even if they do love the dogs too much,” said neighbor Bethany Roebuck.

It was information gathered by animal rights activist Stefanie Valencic that was a key factor in the investigation and led to the rescue of the dogs.

“I’m just happy they’re out of the house right now. It’s a very sad situation that there were this many dogs in that house and for that amount of time,” Valencic told us.

The addition of so many dogs at the same time is creating a hardship at the Lakewood Animal Shelter, and they are running short on food and other supplies. Good Samaritan Bob Miller was so moved by the plight of the regal beagles that he decided to bring a couple of bags of dog food to the shelter on Tuesday afternoon.

“Obviously, they’re not used to having this many dogs here, and I just thought it would be a good thing to do at Christmas, you know,” said Miller.

Technically, the dogs still belong to the owner, but all involved are hoping they will eventually be put up for adoption and placed in loving homes.

The case has been referred to prosecutors, but at this point, no charges have been filed against the owner. Authorities said his home is unfit for human habitation, due to the unsanitary conditions.