SUMMERDALE, Ala. (WALA) - On Thursday, police executed a search warrant at the Purple Hearted Puppies property in Summerdale.
"We're specifically serving a search warrant and specifically, we're looking for tax documents, financial records for Purple Hearted Puppies, the business itself," said Officer Trent Dennis with the Summerdale Police Department.
It was the first time they've been able to search through a home on the property.
Police said filing cabinets had been cleaned out, and they believe someone pulled the records from the property after the arrests.
Police also said they are looking for any more dead carcasses after getting several tips about animal cruelty prior to the discovery.
Police are building up their case against Roberta and Sharon Dueitt, and trying to prove intent.
"They reported themselves as a no-kill shelter and a tax-free business; and in fact, we haven't been able to verify that they are a non-profit," Dennis said.
"Basically what were learning in our investigation is it appears they were selling the high-dollar dogs out of here and the ones they couldn't get rid of were left to fend for themselves," said Summerdale Police Chief Frankie Ingram.
Police said they believe those that couldn't survive ended up underground.
Detailed tips led authorities to find at least 25 animals buried in just one spot.
"In one hole there were like four or five, in another hole there was a couple and we can probably spend a week out here digging. But what we wanted to do was make our information credible and show that this has been a continuing pattern," said Chief Ingram.
Charges against the Dueitt women have now been upgraded to felonies and police said the two must turn themselves in no later than 10 a.m. Friday, February 3.
While police searched the property for evidence, some good news came about for the surviving animals that were rescued from the Purple Hearted Puppies.
Baldwin County Humane Society (BARC!) Board President Christine Sherwin was informed by Assistant District Attorney Robert Nichols that Sharon and Roberta Dueitt have signed over permanent legal custody of the 58 dogs and 51 cats who were seized January 26 at the shelter, and January 27 at the Dueitt's residence in Robertsdale.
"The release of these pets into our custody marks a milestone in taking these animals from crisis to care," Sherwin said in a press release. "We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from Baldwin and Mobile counties and from across the nation."
Now the animals can be spayed or neutered, have a complete set of vaccinations and be tested and treated for heart worms. Previously, only emergency veterinary care could be administered to preserve evidence in the mass animal cruelty.
Deneen Balistere, BARC! Dog Adoption Coordinator said, "We are asking the public to be patient as we determine the health conditions of each of the pets rescued. Our primary concern is that each of these cats and dogs eventually be placed in loving homes. The trauma they have suffered can only be alleviated by love and continuing care."
Individuals that surrendered or boarded pets at the Purple Hearted Puppies facilities should email a picture and complete description including breed, age, gender, color of coat, weight, spay/neutered and microchip number to Info@BaldwinHumane.org . Owners will be required to provide proof of ownership through veterinarian records.
Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon cautions the public about potential scammers for donations and adoptions.
Mobile police have released the names of three shooting victims. Police say the shooting was the result of domestic violence.
Mobile Police have launched an internal investigation into the Third Precinct Captain and a patrol officer, who authorities believe were involved in an ongoing sexual relationship. Captain Carla Longmire is charged with conduct unbecoming …
A Grand Bay family woke up to an unexpected guest on their back porch Wednesday, December 11 - a donkey. Don Edeker said the little guy is lost, and he's trying to help his owner find him.
Bay Area Food Bank, Christian Food Pantry, and American Flooring and Cabinets join together to feed families in need this Christmas season.
Clear skies and a secondary push of chilly air arrive tonight as a stronger area of high pressure moves in from the central plains.
You've heard about some brazen criminals and what they will do to get what they want. This time, you are going to hear about a brave bank employee who didn't mind saying "no".