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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

210 dogs rescued from years of confinement

Two-hundred and ten dogs - many suffering from severe emotional problems after being locked up most of their lives in dirty, cramped pens and wire crates with little interaction with people - have been rescued from a breeder in Pennsylvania.

Many of the dogs - mainly Poodles, Poodle mixes, and some Chihuahuas and Terriers - are suffering from eye and ear problems, some have respiratory trouble and one has a deformed jaw, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

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"These animals were subjected to years of constant confinement and denied loving human care and socialization," Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the United States, states in a media release.

Rescuers from the Humane Society of the United States - like Beau Archer who is seen above in a photo from HSUS removing two of the dogs - and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture seized the dogs from Almost Heaven Kennel in Lehigh County outside of Harrisburg.

"Two dogs in particular were very frightened during their removal and have since calmed down and are doing much better," Justin L. Scally, deputy manager of the HSUS Puppy Mills Task Force, told Love of Dogs. "We are happy that these dogs are now on their road to recovery."

The dogs - like the one at left in a photo from The Humane Society of the United States - are recovering from their physical ailments, but healing from the psychological trauma will take much longer, Mr. Scally said.

"It is our hope that the dogs will be
rehabilitated and placed with new, loving, permanent families," he said. "This process will require time, love and compassion. Veterinary treatment has been started on these dogs, but the emotional treatment will require time and compassion from their new owners."

The dogs have been placed with several animal shelters and rescue groups in the mid-Atlantic region because of the large number rescued, Mr. Scally said.

"Whenever we engage in the removal of so many animals, we don’t want to completely tax one shelter or organization of all of their resources," he explained. "As a result, we utilize several shelters in various areas to assist in the placement of the animals, thus maximizing their potential of finding new homes more quickly."

Ten of the dogs are being cared for by the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area, according to spokeswoman Kelly Hitz.

"Regarding the dogs that our shelter received, they are doing well and seem to be relieved to have a second chance at a new life," she told Love of Dogs. "We are happy to have been able to assist the Humane Society of the United States and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture with finding loving, new homes for these innocent animals.

The Washington Animal Rescue League, which has received 100 of the dogs, is committed to helping the "puppy mill victims," Gary Weitzman, the league’s director states in a media release. “It’s what we’re here for even if it takes all of our resources to turn these dogs’ lives around. These dogs are invariably the victims of prolonged, gross neglect, and they are among the neediest animals a shelter will ever be called upon to help."

The dogs will be evaluated by a veterinarian, treated for medical problems, and spayed or neutered to get them ready for adoption, according to the Washington Rescue League. The dogs also will be helped with socialization issues and assessed for special needs.

“These dogs are not for everyone,” said Mary Jarvis, the Washington Animal Rescue League's director of animal welfare. “Some are very afraid of people, and not one has ever been around small children. House training can be a real challenge since the dogs have never so much as set foot outside or in a home. But if someone has the time and patience to deal with their special issues, it can be very satisfying to give one of these dogs their first-ever home.”

Rehabilitating the dogs will be expensive, Mr. Scally said. "It is difficult to estimate the total amount of expenses that it will take to rehabilitate one of these dogs. Some of the dogs will require more intensive care than others, and thus this will require more expenses. However, we must remember that the care of a pet is never inexpensive, even when the dogs may not have come from a puppy mill and is perfectly healthy."

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Those interested in adopting the dogs or making donations for their care should contact these animal welfare organizations: Washington Animal Rescue League, Maryland SPCA, Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Pennsylvania, Humane Society of Berks County in Pennsylvania, Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area in Pennsylvania, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria in Virginia, Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Pennsylvania, Humane League of Lancaster County in Pennsylvania, Gordon Setter of America Rescue and Main Line Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania.

Donations for the care of the dogs can also be made to the Humane Society of the United States.

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