The dogs, at least one of which was stolen, will be cared for at Alaqua Animal Refuge in Freeport, Florida.

FREEPORT — Alaqua Animal Refuge will be getting about 90 dogs surrendered by a Holmes County couple who face felony animal cruelty charges. 

The first dozen dogs are already at the Freeport shelter. The rest are expected to be taken there Saturday, thanks to a team effort from animal welfare groups from a multi-county area.

Many of the dogs are suspected to have heartworm, which is expensive to treat, and all of them are "large nondescript" dogs, according to Alaqua founder Laurie Hood.

She said their size makes them harder to house and that their appearance makes them harder to place in a home.

That may have been how they came to be at the Westville home of 55-year-old Ferrell D. Godfrey and 60-year-old Marianne L. Godfrey.

"I truly believe that the owners thought they were acting as a sanctuary," Hood said. "They thought they were taking in dogs no one else wanted."

She added that the dogs were extremely friendly and happy to see the rescuers. That is not always the case with animals hoarded in poor conditions.

"I think they're a really good group of dogs, behavior wise," she said.

Holmes County sheriff's deputies discovered the dogs, all of whom were living outside, when they went to the couple's home Monday on an unrelated complaint. The dogs, many of which were chained to trees or crowded together in an outside pen, had no access to fresh food or water.

Many of the animals appeared to be severely malnourished and/or seriously injured, and suffering from mange or untreated wounds, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Godfreys were each charged with felony animal cruelty.

Hood was contacted and spoke to the owners, who agreed to sign the dogs over to Alaqua, she said.

At least one of the dogs was found to be micro-chipped and had disappeared in South Florida during Memorial Day weekend in 2018.

Marianne Godfrey has previous animal cruelty charges in Georgia in 2011.

People who suspect a dog belonging to them may have been at the Godfreys' home should contact Alaqua Animal Refuge. However, they should keep in mind it is a process and allow the organization some time to evaluate and account for all the animals.

Alaqua needs donations for the dogs' care.

This story originally published to NWFDailynews.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the GateHouse Media network via the Florida Wire. The Florida Wire, which runs across digital, print and video platforms, curates and distributes Florida-focused stories. For more Florida stories, visit here, and to support local media throughout the state of Florida, consider subscribing to your local paper.