Nearly 170 animals seized from Phoenix boarding facility

- Starving dogs, overcrowded kennels and filthy conditions -- that's how the Arizona Humane Society describes Planet Petopia Doggie Dude Ranch.

The sign outside of Planet Petopia says it's a boarding and daycare facility, but Phoenix police say it has become a hoarding facility for stray and unwanted pets. In all, 165 animals were removed from the business on Thursday -- four have since died.

One by one, rescue crews removed animals from Planet Petopia, taking truckloads to veterinarians and other shelters. The owner sat quietly, detained by police.

According to Phoenix police, 49-year-old BarbaraAnn and 52-year-old Glen Whitley were arrested and both have been charged with one count each of neglect, failure to provide medical care, and hoarding.

Phoenix police say additional charges will be added by prosecutors.

Sgt. Alan Pfohl says it was AHS employees working across the street who first reported what they described as squalid conditions.

"Two staff members heard a huge commotion from this facility, almost like fence fighting," said AHS' Bretta Nelson.

In January, more than 50 dogs, considered to be critically ill or hurt, were removed from Planet Petopia. According to police, the facility failed to show any improvement which culminated in removing the rest of the animals.

"They had open wounds, sores.. many were found to have a blood parasite. Two had to be put to sleep immediately. Two died in a trauma center while getting blood transfusions," Nelson added.

Police say most of the animals were strays. One pet owner cried as she came to pick up her pitbull "Choco."

"My dog was big and beautiful," said Erika Reyes.

Reyes and her husband were in the process of moving and couldn't keep Choco and their current home. Before they dropped him off at Planet Petopia, they say Choco was about 90 pounds. The couple visited the dog often and say Choco became sick and showed signs of neglect.

"We even told them he was getting skinnier and skinnier. They were like he's eating all right," said Michael Reyes.

Police say the Whitleys likely had good intentions in the beginning, taking in stray dogs and unwanted pets that would've been put down at other shelters, but things got out of hand.

If anyone needs to claim an animal that was being boarded at this facility, you should contact the Arizona Humane Society.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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