Twenty-two dogs are now getting expert care in Fluvanna County. All were seized from one home and from living conditions described as unsanitary.  The German Shepherds were taken by animal control from a home on Bremo Road.

All but three of the dogs are being cared for by Fluvanna's SPCA. Their owner, Jennifer Brooks, faces 44 charges:  22 charges of animal cruelty, and 22 charges of failing to adequately care for the dogs. a warrant has not been served yet, but a petition has been filed.

We're told the dogs were not starving but a veterinarian judged their living conditions as unsanitary.  Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip said, "We had a veterinarian go out and look at the conditions and his opinion was the animals safety and health were in danger."

The magistrate's office was petitioned to have the dogs seized. Haislip stated, "You know there's a difference between caring about your animals and caring for your animals. It's obvious she cared about them, our concern is they weren't being cared for."

Nineteen of the dogs are now at the Fluvanna County SPCA; the other three are in the care of a veterinarian. Tricia Johnson of the Fluvanna County SPCA said, "Right now the dogs are just being well fed, watered. They're in clean surroundings." Johnson says the number one priority is the health of the dogs.

The commonwealth's attorney says his office only gets involved in cases like when it absolutely has to. Haislip said, "We seize animals as a last resort. We know it's hard on the animal owner, it's hard on the tax payer because it's expensive."

The commonwealth's attorney says that ten of the dogs have been relinquished by the owner and are going to the German Shepherd rescue. A judge will determine what happens to the remaining 12 dogs. A court date is set for next Tuesday.

Update: Jennifer Brooks spoke with us Wednesday night.  She says she is heartbroken, loves her pets, and wants them back.

Brooks says she had a medical procedure last week and hasn't been staying at her Bremo Road home. She did have someone feeding the dogs, but when a veterinarian was called to the house, he said the conditions the dogs were living in were unsanitary.

Brooks said, "I don't want people to think that I'm abusing them. They're loved, they're cherished."

She did relinquish 10 of her dogs. She'll have to go to court to fight for the other 12.  She says she is prepared to do so.