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MARIANNA, Ark. — Eight, 2-week-old crying puppies were among the 19 dogs rescued Friday morning in Marianna in what police believed to be a dog fighting operation.

Police went to the home on Liberty Street before sunrise searching for marijuana and cocaine.

What they found shocked them: 19 abused dogs in a fenced in area behind the house.

“They didn’t make any noise or anything like that. Definitely if we hadn’t of stumbled across it, we never would have know that there were any dogs back there,” said Chief Martin Wilson with the Marianna Police Department.

Police immediately called the Humane Society of the Delta in Helena-West Helena for assistance.

“Wherever an animal needs us, we go. And so we went,” Gloria Higginbotham, the President of the Humane Society of the Delta told WREG.

She said there was evidence the yard was being used as a training camp.

“There was a treadmill there and things, a deer hide that was hanging. So we know that’s what’s used to train dogs to fight,” she said.

Among the male and female pit bulls was a Pomeranian, which volunteers said was left chained up in the heat.

“She’s had her ears bitten either by other dogs or flies,” the Director of the Humane Society, Beth Florek, told us. “She’s totally matted and she is very depressed and distressed over this whole situation.”

Police arrested a man and woman at the home in Marianna and charged them not only with drug possession, but also animal cruelty.

Michael Daniels said he was simply disgusted by what reportedly happened at the home.

Daniel was cradling a puppy he just received as a gift.

“”I hate to see dogs fight. Cause they just hurting dogs when they fight them,” he said.

Workers at the Humane Society of the Delta said the additional 19 dogs has pushed the shelter’s capacity to the limit.

They are hoping other animal rescue groups will see this story and volunteer to take some of the dogs.

The Humane Society of the Delta, which is located in Helena-West Helena, relies on donations from the public.

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