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Animal Cruelty

A Northwest Florida mother and her son face charges in connection with animal cruelty.

Investigators say they ran an alleged puppy mill in an affluent Gulf Coast neighborhood.

Authorities say 69-year-old Betty Keller and 42-year-old Von Arna Keller, Jr. were operating a puppy mill inside their Dune Allen Beach home. They each face 82 counts of cruelty to animals and 82 counts of unlawful confinement of animals.

On Monday, several agencies served a search warrant. They found 84 small dogs, mostly Yorkies and Chihuahuas, living in deplorable conditions, stuffed in cages, living in their own waste with little food or water.

Wearing masks, personnel with a Destin cleaning company removed much of the trash and debris from the home. Owner Rick Yohe says it's one of the most shocking scenes he's ever come across. He's earmarking his profits from the job to go to the care and treatment of the dogs that were inside the home.

The Keller's arraignment on the felony charges is set for next month in a Walton County courtroom. They each remain free under a $1,000 bond.

At this time, many of the animals are in bad shape. Area shelters are helping in their treatment and there is no word on when they might be ready for adoption.


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