Investigation Uncovers Bags Of Dead Dogs

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Investigation Uncovers Bags Of Dead Dogs

CREATED Jun 10, 2014
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (NEWSCHANNEL 5/AP) - Police said a Middle Tennessee woman is facing more animal cruelty charges after some emaciated dogs were found at her mother's home along with 37 bags of dead dogs.

Nicole Hulbig and her estranged husband, Eric Hulbig, were arrested last week on four counts of aggravated animal cruelty after Montgomery County Animal Control officers discovered four decomposing puppies at their Clarksville home.

That investigation led authorities to check out the Sumner County property of Nicole Hulbig's mother, where they seized 39 dogs living in a barn. They also found bags of deceased dogs that were so badly decomposed it's unlikely they'll ever know why the died. The number of dead is currently unknown.

"As soon as we exited the vehicle there was just a strong odor of decomposition or something coming from the property," said Sgt. Sean Ryan with the Sumner County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Division.

Nicole Hulbig is the founder of a nonprofit organization in Clarksville called RRR Service Dogs that claims to rescue dogs and train them for disabled soldiers or children with disabilities. She has denied wrongdoing, and blamed the dead dogs on a distemper outbreak, according to Ryan. The investigation is ongoing.

Someone shouted from inside the Cottontown, Tennessee property Tuesday, demanding a NewsChannel 5 crew leave the property Tuesday.

Chelsey Lainer is a former Ft. Campbell solider who suffers from PTSD. She sent her dog, Flint, to Hulbig to be trained, but now fears he is among the dead. She said she could be one of hundreds of soldiers in the same situation.

"I entrusted the care of him to her to train him to be non-aggressive and be able to live out a normal pet life with me," Lanier said.

People from as far away as California, Maine and Hawaii are now scrambling to see if their pet is among the dead or rescued. Many had their dogs shipped to Tennessee for training with RRR Service Dogs.

Anyone who believes their dog could be one now in custody should contact Sumner County Animal Control where officers are fielding non-stop calls and emails. Ryan said they are using photographs and veterinary records from people to prove they are rightful owners.

More charges against Hulbig could be pending, but Ryan said Tuesday the mission now is make sure the dogs who did survive go home.

"As bad as it may sound, we're not focused on the dead ones. We've got 39 live ones that we're trying to, you know, that there's hope for that we can get moved out," he said.

Any unclaimed dogs will be transferred to area shelters.

(Copyright 2014 NewsChannel 5/The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)