MONT VERNON, N.H. — A New Hampshire woman is facing an animal cruelty charge after police and animal rescuers removed 44 small dogs from her home.

Animal Rescue League investigator Maureen Prendergast said in a statement Tuesday the condition of the dogs was the worst she’d ever seen. She said the dogs were covered in feces, and many exhibited behavior indicating they had been confined for an excessive period.

The dogs include Yorkshire terriers, Shih Tzus and poodles.

Seventy-eight-year-old Virginia Smith of Mont Vernon was charged with a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty and neglect.

Smith signed over ownership of 22 of the dogs, which rescuers say will speed the adoption process.

The others will remain in Rescue League custody. Four will be euthanized.