Published: Apr 07, 2014 4:44 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 08, 2014 12:22 AM EDT

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- More dogs were rescued from a Lehigh Acres neighborhood in a case Animal Services believes is connected to another, larger investigation.

Five dogs living in cramped cages were discovered Monday in the backyard of a home in the 4500 block of Douglas Lane.

Investigators said this may have been a backyard puppy mill, brought to their attention by concerned neighbors. Investigators said there have been no arrests yet, but misdemeanor charges are likely, and they could go up from there.

"All they can really do is stand up. Turning around isn't even really a possibility," Lt. Tony Backhurst told WINK News. "They've got water they can't drink. It's just disgusting conditions."

In March, more than a dozen dogs and puppies were rescued from a home about a block away.  Lt. Backhurst told WINK News those dogs were adopted into new homes.

The five dogs in Monday's investigation will be evaluated and may also be put up for adoption.

But the owner is hoping to get them back.  Arthur Safford arrived after-hours at the county animal shelter, hoping to reclaim his dogs.

Safford told WINK News the conditions inside the cages were not as bad as LDAS made it sound.

"No, I don't breed and sell puppies or run a puppy mill," Safford said Monday evening. "I use my dog's for hunting."

Safford said he cleaned the cages Monday morning, and that any feces investigators found was not there when he left for work.

Safford says he doesn't know why investigators think his dogs are connected to the previous case.  He said they are healthy and sociable.  The dogs WINK News saw did appear friendly, but also thin.

Safford said if the cages are too small, he'll make them larger.

"I wish they'd come to me and told me," Safford said, "instead of making this a bad situation."