Seventy-three neglected dogs were rescued from an alleged puppy mill in Stephens County after being found in filthy, cramped conditions, according to the Humane Society of North Texas.
HSNT said the owners were breeding Australian shepherds, border collies, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. The animals were housed in three areas that did not provide suitable living conditions.
"The conditions these dogs were living in were absolutely horrific," said Kim Meek, lead humane investigator for HSNT. "It was clear that the owners had become overwhelmed. There were so many dogs living inside the house that the owners had actually moved into a travel trailer in the yard. More dogs were living in the attached garage and two large buildings. Even worse, there were several dogs crammed into wire pop up crates. In many of the enclosures, more than 6 inches of feces covered the floors."
The Stephens Count Animal Shelter was awarded custody on Monday of all 73 dogs — including three nursing mothers. The shelter was unable to care for the large number of animals and signed custody of 60 dogs over to HSNT.
HSNT gave the dogs medical examinations and treated them for parasitic infections. Two of the puppies tested positive for parvovirus; one died and the other is being treated by a veterinarian.
"Puppies born in puppy mills frequently contract life-threatening diseases such as parvovirus and distemper as a result of the squalor they live in," said HSNT veterinarian Dr. Cynthia Jones. "Sadly, many do not live to see their first birthday."
A male miniature Australian shepherd, named Ranger by the HSNT staff, needs ear ablation. HSNT said it doesn't know what caused Ranger's deformity, but without the surgery, he will have chronic ear infections and ear pain. According to the HSNT, the surgery would remove his ear canal and sew it shut, allowing him to live a healthy, comfortable life.
HSNT is seeking donations from animal lovers in the community to provide Ranger with surgery and to help fund the care of the 60 dogs in its care until they are able to find loving homes.
Donations can be made at www.hsnt.org, by calling 817-332-4768, or by mail at 1840 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76103.
The rescued dogs will remain at the HSNT holding facility until they are cleared to undergo spay and neuter surgeries and then enter the adoption program.