COLDWATER, Miss. — Nearly two hundred dogs were seized in the raid of what investigators said is an alleged puppy mill in Mississippi.
Poodles, chihuahuas, Maltese and more jammed in tiny cages, living at the back of a woman’s property in Coldwater, Mississippi.
Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said the case will go to a grand jury to decide if the breeder will face charges.
FOX13 was told animal rescue groups called in to help were overwhelmed.
According to the animal rescue people, about 100 dogs were taken out of a building that is called the office building on the property. 176 total dogs were taken from the property.
Animal rescue workers like Sandy Williams, from the Tunica Humane Society, told us the sights and smells of the alleged puppy mill operation and the rescue effort were overwhelming.
“Crushes me to think that these dogs this is all that they have ever known, they've probably ever known,” Williams said. “They've probably never been in the grass just a breath of fresh air is everything to them.”
Amy Goad, the Director of Sunny Meadows Safe Haven for Pets, said the task of rescuing this many animals is difficult. They specialize in puppy mill rescues and answered the call when Tate County Sheriff’s Deputies discovered the situation.
“Absolute heartbreak more than we could have pictured,” she said. “Dogs matted and living in filth.
Goad said puppy mills are more prevalent in the Mid-South than many would think.
The rescue effort is being called Operation Breathe.
Investigators described the animals' living conditions as deplorable, and the air where the dogs were being kept almost reeked.
“You cannot breathe because of the ammonia level," Williams said. "It burns your eyes, and it takes your breath away. We are calling this operation breathe because this is the first day they got a good fresh breath of air.”
We’re told some of the puppies seized today were as young as two weeks old.
Several animal rescue groups will help care for the animals, including at least one here in Memphis.
“Next step is to get everyone vetted," Goad said. "They’ll all get any vet treatment they need. They’ll spayed/neutered, heartworm checks, all of their vaccines, dental work. Whatever they need, they’ll get it.”
A lot of these dogs are in really bad shape.
They’re going to need extensive medical care in order to go to loving homes, but of course, that costs money.
Sunny Meadows is asking for donations to help these dogs. If you’re interested in adopting, fostering, or making a donation online, visit http://sunnymeadows.org/.
You can also mail a check to 4066 New Getwell Rd Memphis, TN 38118.
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