LANCASTER — Garrard County authorities rescued 45 severely neglected dogs Monday from a suspected puppy mill and need donations of goods such as canned dog food as well as monetary contributions to cover thousands of dollars of expected veterinarian bills.
About 9 a.m. Monday, deputy sheriffs and animal control officials went to a residence near Lancaster to seize 45 neglected dogs, said Garrard County Animal Shelter Director Earlene Harris. A tip from a concerned resident alerted authorities to the situation, and they began investigating last week.
Inside the property were 45 small breed dogs of varying ages suffering different degrees of neglect.
Almost all of the animals had severely matted fur and significant dental problems, which in some cases caused mouth and skin infections. The conditions inside the property were filthy, there was not any fresh water available and kennels were stacked on top of each other, Harris said.
Many of the dogs are chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers, and after proper veterinary care, most of the animals will be available for adoption, Harris said.
There is a chance two of the dogs will be euthanized. Those dogs are about 14 years old and have multiple problems such as difficulty standing and breathing.
“As heartbreaking it is, those two dogs are in such seriously bad shape that it may be more humane to euthanize them,” Harris said. “They were literally being bred to death.”
Harris took 20 of the dogs to a veterinarian Monday night, and 16 of them need extensive dental work to heal abscesses and loose teeth. The other dogs were expected to see a veterinarian today.
“It costs about $100 to $150 per dog just to get some basic dental work done,” Harris said. “It’s hard to estimate how many thousands of dollars we will need to heal these dogs.”
She is hoping to secure not just donations of goods and money from members of the general public, but also the help of area veterinarians and animal rescue organizations.
Harris declined to identity the family involved in the alleged backyard breeding operation, only saying that the main people involved are an elderly couple that once had an American Kennel Club breeding certification but lost the credential when they allegedly did not uphold the AKC’s reputable breeding standards.
Though the couple and anyone else involved in the alleged puppy mill could have faced a misdemeanor charge, Harris will not press charges.
The couple signed legal papers Tuesday surrendering all rights to the 45 dogs and agreed not to own another dog for a year.
“That outcome is about all I could get in court anyway,” Harris said.
- Donations are being accepted at the Garrard County Animal Shelter at the end of Baker Street in Lancaster and also the Garrard County judge-executive’s office at the courthouse, 15 Public Square, Lancaster.
- The email address for sending PayPal donations online is email@example.com
- For more information, contact the Garrard County Animal Shelter at (859) 792-1562, (859) 200-8188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The shelter always needs volunteers as well as donations of dry and canned dog food and cat food, leashes, blankets, food and water bowls, and kennels.