LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) — Fourteen Chihuahuas are being treated at a Lorain County animal shelter, after being rescued from an extreme hoarding situation.

The sad story began to unfold on Tuesday, after concerned residents called Lorain police to check on the welfare of their 68-year-old neighbor.

When officers arrived, they discovered a number of the woman’s Chihuahuas running loose outside. They then went inside to look for the woman and found more Chihuahuas crawling on top of large piles of items stacked throughout the home.

In all, police found 14 Chihuahuas. The owner, who it turns out was not home at the time, is being cited for violating a Lorain city ordinance, that limits the number of domestic animals allowed in one home to five.

Photo courtesy Lorain police

Lorain Police Department Lt. Jake Morris told FOX 8: “this person involved in this, I don’t think did this because she didn’t like animals. As a matter of fact, it’s probably quite the opposite, the unfortunate truth behind this though is that it doesn’t do the dogs any favors, I mean the animals are living in situations like that, and you start to question whether that person is in a position to be able to support 14 animals.”

The Chihuahuas were taken to Friendship APL in Elyria, where they are getting the care they need. 

“Just trying to calm them down, trying to get them more comfortable, and relaxed with us,” said Executive Director Greg Willey. “You know, we kick into gear and we want to help the animals, but my heart breaks for the people in these situations as well. We deal with it a lot, and it’s hard and it’s tough, and it’s tough to see people that struggle with these situations and struggle through this.”

The dogs will be cared for at Friendship APL until the case is resolved, and some of them will eventually be put up for adoption.

Authorities say their goal is not to punish the owner, but to get her the help they believe she needs, and to understand that the conditions in the house were not humane for the dogs.

“You know as an animal lover myself, a dog lover myself, I hope that they all find homes and they’re happy and they go on to live long Chihuahua lives,” said Lt. Morris.

The case is now being reviewed by prosecutors.