BROOKFIELD TWP. (WWJ/AP) – Authorities say they removed 15 dogs, six cats, three rabbits and a “large number” of birds from the home of a Lansing-area woman.

Authorities took the animals amid an investigation into three dead dogs that were found frozen Sunday in a trash bin behind a Payless shoe store in Charlotte, according to a report by the Lansing State Journal.

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Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said in a statement that the dogs belonged to an elderly woman who lives in Eaton County’s Brookfield Township. Her name wasn’t immediately released.

Investigators say they believe the dogs were placed into the trash bin several days before they were found. None of the dogs appeared to have visible injuries. Necropsies are expected to shed some light on their deaths.

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Once investigators linked the dogs to the woman, they went to her home where they seized the other animals. Reich said investigators believe someone else is responsible for disposing the dogs.

An investigation is ongoing and a review by prosecutors is expected.

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