A scene out of a horror film unfolded as officials descended on a Cottontown home in Tennessee Thursday, June 5, 2014.
After a representative for Bill Mace Home Builders went to a Clarksville home rented by Nicole and Eric Hulbig, the woman called Montgomery County Animal Control upon the discovery of four dead puppies decomposing in cages with no food or water, according to the Leaf Chronicle.
There was trash everywhere and feces littered the floor. The house appeared to be abandoned. The damage to the home reached $13,000 and the home needed to be decontaminated.
Nicole and Eric Hulbig were both arrested on four counts of animal cruelty and released on $4,000 bond.
Then the Montgomery County Animal Control contacted Sumner County.
It was then that animal control discovered the horrific scene at the Cottonwood home of Nicole Hulbig's mother. Nicole stayed there when she wasn't at the Clarksville home, which she stated she left over a month ago after leaving her husband.
The barn on the property was filled with 39 live dogs. All of the dogs were kept in stalls, most of them were kept in cages and cages too small for them to stand up or turn around. There was no food or water and the dogs were emaciated. Eight of the dogs were so severely malnourished, Nicole was charged with one count of animal cruelty for each.
The barn was filled with feces and upon further investigation, 37 bags were found holding animal remains.
The remains in the bags were far too decomposed to determine how or when they died, or even how many animals were in the bags. For this reason, Hulbig could not be charged for their deaths.
Nicole Hulbig runs Raja Renata Ranch (RRR) Service Dogs, an organization that Nicole claims rescues dogs from high kill shelters and trains them to be service dogs for disabled vets and children. She also takes in other people's dogs to train them.
Sumner County Animal Control is familiar with Hulbig's ranch, as it has been out there a few times in 2011 from complaints. There was never a reason to remove the dogs from the barn and Hulbig claimed to be getting a non-profit status, which she never did nor could ever prove.
Nicole, mother of a one and five year old, stated she was on bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy and left the dogs in the care of her mother. She claimed the dogs died of a distemper outbreak nine months previous, but there was no proof of that. She claims to have no knowledge of the dead puppies.
Calls have flooded officials from concerned individuals looking for their dogs that were sent to the ranch for training. Only a few have been reunited, leaving many to speculate that their dogs are among the remains in the bags.
Nicole was not taken to jail because of her physical condition and must turn herself in. She has been charged with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty in Montgomery County and eight counts of animal cruelty in Sumner County. Her arraignment is scheduled for June 20, and Eric's arraignment is scheduled for June 11.
Anyone looking for their dog can make inquiries at 615-452-2616 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . A petition is circulating to impose the maximum charges, and a Facebook group, “Rise Against RRR”, states “We are looking for anyone that has sent money to or paid to have their dog trained by this couple and never received anything that was promised.”
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