Police have raided the home of US rap star DMX, finding 12 apparently neglected dogs and a number of guns.
DMX's album Year of the Dog... Again shows him with a pit bull
The pit bulls terriers were not being fed or given water, and have been removed, police said. The bodies of three more had been buried.
No arrests have been made and DMX said he had not been at the property in Arizona for at least two months.
His lawyer said a caretaker was left in charge and DMX was disturbed to hear the animals had not been looked after.
"We had a caretaker that wasn't taking care, that's what happened," DMX's lawyer Murray Richman said.
"He loves dogs - he loves these animals. Those dogs are practically his family."
The 36-year-old musician, real name Earl Simmons, has sold 20m albums as one of the most popular stars of hip-hop in the US.
The cover of his latest album, Year of the Dog... Again, which came out last year, featured him with a pit bull straining at the leash.
He also launched his own range of dog clothing, including caps, scarves and raincoats for canines. It was named Boomer 129 after one of his pit bulls.
DMX has also become an established actor, appearing in movies including Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave.
A spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's office told Reuters news agency: "We served an initial search warrant for animal neglect, and 12 pit bulls were removed."
Officers were in the process of obtaining an amended warrant to find out whether the guns were legal, he added.
They also discovered about half a pound (0.23 kg) of suspected illegal drugs, which are being tested to confirm their content.
The buried dogs were found when the back yard was dug up. One had apparently been burnt and the cause of death of the others was unknown because the bodies were decomposing.
The trouble comes five years after a US court ordered DMX to make public service announcements after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.