HAMPTON, Va. (AP) _ A Virginia man accused of neglecting 21 puppies that were found dead and decomposing inside a Hampton home has been sentenced to just over eight years in prison. The Virginian-Pilot reports 59-year-old Vernon Silver was sentenced Wednesday in Hampton Circuit Court. Silver had entered an Alford plea to the animal cruelty charges and one count of dogfighting, not admitting guilt but acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him. Court records say Silver was a maintenance worker at the home where the pit bull puppies where found. Police were called there to investigate a smell coming from it. When officers went inside, they found the 21 dead dogs and one severely malnourished dog still alive. According to the newspaper, officers also found dogfighting paraphernalia. Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell said he was pleased with the punishment.