11 dogs found dead while responding to hazmat situation in Carroll County

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Authorities rescued 27 dogs and recovered 11 dead dogs Friday from a house in Hampstead.

John Roberts, 49, and Laura Filler, 55, both of Hampstead, face 51 charges, including animal cruelty, aggravated cruelty, hazardous substance/endanger pet, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said.

Authorities said an anonymous complaint about a foul odor coming from a house in the 4300 block of Black Rock Road led to the investigation.

“Animal Control got here and found a rancid odor of decomposition coming from the house and contacted the Sheriff’s Office. We responded and assisted them. We had to get the fire department to force entry to make sure there was no one in the home,” said Tim Brown, of Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews responded just after noon and were at the home for several hours. They wore hazmat suits as they worked, removing debris from the home.

“There’s a lot of feces and mess all over the floor, pretty much everywhere,” said Brown.

“This was one of the most disturbing scenes that many of the first responders have ever seen. We are continuing the investigation and are supporting the staff at the Humane Society. This case is a stark reminder of the unsung work that our local animal control officers and Humane Society staff do day in and day out. I encourage everyone to support their efforts as they take care of the surviving animals that were removed from the residence,” Carroll County Sheriff James T. DeWees said in a statement.

Neighbors didn’t want to go on camera, but they told 11 News the homeowner and his wife had several large dogs when they moved in.

They also remembered seeing puppies in the yard at one point.

“The dogs that were deceased were in various states of decomposition,” said Brown.

No one was inside the house when crews arrived.

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