BRADENTON — Investigators found the remains of 20 dogs and cats on Thursday and took more than 300 animals from Napier's Log Cabin Horse and Animal Sanctuary near Bradenton.
Officials also had to euthanize 12 of the animals taken from the home.
The Bradenton Herald reports the animal services facility and local rescue groups have been overwhelmed by the large number of animals they've taken in. Officials took dogs, cats, geese, horses, hogs and goats from the home.
The dead animals were found Thursday buried in a shallow mass grave at the back of the property.
"There was a couple areas of disturbed soil so we figured we would start there," Manatee County Sheriff's Sgt. Rob Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson said the remains appeared to have been buried at different times.
Investigators searched the home again on Thursday to make sure they didn't miss anything, he said.
No arrests have been made.
According to reports, four horses that were kept in a pasture were so thin their rib cages were visible. Officials said 63 dogs and 13 cats were taken to Nate's Honor Animal Rescue.
Board member Cam McCarthy said all the animals have been given medical checks. "They were vaccinated, groomed and bathed, if necessary, and they were examined by a veterinarian."
Five animals required medical attention and were separated from the others.
"Of course all of them had fleas and ticks," McCarthy said. "Then we tucked them into kennels making sure they have plenty of food and water. We now have our volunteers sitting with them and socializing with them."
Volunteers have been asked to come in and help take care of the animals.
Officials say the investigation began with a tip received by the Sheriff's Office.
Anyone interested in donating food or supplies for the animals is asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at (941) 747-3011, ext. 1151.
The investigation is continuing.