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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

Rescued dogs suffered in feces-covered cages

Thirty-three dogs - traumatized from long-term confinement in waste-encrusted cages, covered in their own feces and living in conditions that "no animal should be subjected to" - have been rescued from a horrific smelling kennel in Michigan.

The dogs, Airedale Terriers and standard Schnauzers, were forced to live in filthy conditions and appear also to have been socially neglected, according to the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

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“Most dogs were matted with their own feces and the kennels were filled with waste," Julie Curtis, lead investigator for the Humane Society of Huron Valley, states in a media release. These are not the kind of conditions that any animal should be subjected to.”

Ackley Kennels, located in Northfield Township near Detroit, was raided after the humane society received a complaint about poor conditions from a dog owner who had her dog boarded there. The kennel boards dogs as well as breeds Airedale Terriers and Schnauzers, according to its web site.

Six of the dogs that were seized were returned to their owners and the rest have been returned are being cared for by the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

Some of these dogs look like they have never seen the light of day,” Tanya Hilgendorf, executive director of the Humane Society of Huron Valley, states in a media release. “But, we are committed to them and remain very hopeful that they can be adopted after they are cared for at HSHV.”

Taking in the rescued dogs in an already overcrowded shelter is a "big challenge" for the humane society, Ms. Hilgendorf said. "We have a lot of wonderful people really struggling to make this work. It is not easy for us, and we are really tight for space right now."

Tall Oaks Kennels in Whitmore Lake is boarding some of the humane society's already adoptable dogs to make room for the rescued dogs, Ms. Hilgendorf said.

Groomin’ N’ Crusin’ of Manchester, a mobile pet grooming salon, donated two days of time washing and grooming eight of the dogs.

Humane society volunteers cleaned up some dogs, according to Cat Meyer, who runs the grooming service with her husband, Earl, and son, James. "I was left with the really tough dogs."

Ms. Meyer, whose salon grooms about 100 to 125 dogs a month, said the conditions of the dogs' coats were some of the worst she had ever encountered. "The Airdales were the absolute worst. They probably had five to six inches of dreadlocks that were poo and urine encrusted. ... You couldn't even see their faces," she told Love of Dogs.

Some of the pets were suffering from open and bleeding skin sores, Ms. Meyer said. "The skin was breaking down."

One female Airdale had to have a bunch of her teeth pulled, and suffered from a heart murmur and mastitis, Ms. Meyer said. "This makes me just mad. It makes me terribly mad."

In addition to the physical problems, the animals, who are "show-caliber dogs with beautiful confirmation," were clearly frightened from lack of human handling as they would back up with fright when they were approached and touched, Ms. Meyer explained.

The timid reaction and the backing up indicate the dogs may have been physically abused - possibly "hit around their heads," Ms. Meyer said.

But despite the conditions that the dogs were forced to endure, Ms. Meyers says they are sweet pets. "None of them were aggressive. None of them tried to bite. That's good. That means there's hope. Each proper handling can help take away that fear of people."

Ms. Hilgendorf encourages people who are interested in adopting the dogs to contact the humane society. "If you are ready for a new family member, please consider coming out to adopt,” she said.

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Those interested in making donations to help pay for the care and rehabilitation of the dogs should visit the Humane Society of Huron Valley for information.

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