LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- They came from across the state, shouting a message and leaving with animals in desperate need of help.  It's the kind of big-time protest that small town Campbellsville has never seen before.

Feet planted, signs in hand, it was a mass rescue to save the dogs and the shelter they're living in.

Stephanie Jackson of Tyson's Chance Animal Foundation described the scene as, "Anger, a lot of anger, but at the same time a lot of remorse. I feel like we failed them. I feel like the community has failed and I'm hoping we can change that."

Jackson is just one of close to 100 animal welfare activists who staged the demonstration at the Taylor County Animal Shelter.

Disturbing pictures that surfaced last week reveal what some in the crowd described as inhumane conditions.  Critics say the shelter is a breeding ground for diseases and that animals are dying.

On Tuesday, Shelter Director John Harris responded to photos, saying his shelter is clean and safe:  "They was 7 o'clock in the morning when they came into my shelter. The shelter is not going to be clean at 7 a.m."

Nonetheless, constant pressure from the public led Fiscal Court to switch the facility from a animal shelter to a "holding facility."  The difference: no adoptions or vet care.

Dogs and cats will only be housed for a day, then shipped to a yet-undetermined county shelter.  It's not what they wanted.

Jolene Wuertenberg of Taylor Made Rescue says, "Our rescues have been so successful in placing animals in new homes, and it just does not make since that you would shut it down. We would like to see employees and management in there that has the same goals as us."

Jackson loaded up with eight of the 25 dogs saved in the effort.  It's just the first step, and she says, "You also have to find them a home, and we're still not done yet because more dogs are going to continue to come in."

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.