FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — In a hearing Wednesday, a man charged with dogfighting and animal cruelty gave ownership of the 68 dogs seized from his home to a local shelter.

In October, the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) seized the dogs from 38-year-old Lamarcus Dewane Ricks. He was later arrested and charged with 17 counts of dogfighting and 68 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

Matt Burbank, an investigator with the sheriff’s office, told News 19 that the dogs were taken to two local animal shelters.

“[Florence-Lauderdale Animal Services] is under a lot of strain,” Burbank said. “Of course when you take on 68 dogs, that puts just quite a burden on the shelter.”

According to Burbank, the shelter has lost thousands of dollars taking care of the animals.

In the hearing, Ricks formally agreed to relinquish ownership of the dogs to the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter. This will allow the shelter to give the dogs to foster homes and potentially adopt them out to new families.

“An agreement was reached between both parties that Mr. Ricks would surrender the dogs and that the animal shelter will have control of the dogs,” Burbank said. “If they decide to adopt them out or whatever their next step is, that’s going to be up to [them].”

Burbank said the shelter is petitioning to have Ricks pay for the cost of housing the dogs; however, that petition will be heard at a later date.