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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

110 dogs rescued from squalor, certain death

One hundred and ten Chihuahuas - squirreled away by a hoarder in a home with floor-to-ceiling piles of trash and feces everywhere - have been rescued, but the bodies of 151 others were found in several freezers.

The gruesome animal rescue and recovery is one of the biggest ever in the Dearborn, Michigan area, according to Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, which assisted in the rescue and is caring for the dogs.

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"In my 35 years of working in this field, I have not seen or heard of any case in this area reaching this magnitude," Ms. Greene told Love of Dogs.

The dogs (seen at left and below in photos from Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter) are suffering from wounds, ear infections, overgrown nails, dental problems and most lack social skills because they never have been outside the cramped home, Ms. Greene said. "Some of the dogs appear under socialized and are very slowly accepting their new surroundings, but many others are very friendly and crave human attention."

The occupant of the house, who could face animal cruelty charges, took steps to conceal the dogs, Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad states in a media release. Tarps covered the windows and doors, and ionizers were found in the house to hide the odor.

Ms. Greene is hopeful that the dogs can be rehabilitated and eventually adopted. "It is our goal to find good homes for all of the dogs rescued from this home," she said.

Some dogs, the ones that lack social skills, will take longer to rehabilitate, Ms. Greene said. "From what we understand, the dogs basically were keep inside the home - never experienced the outdoors. We feel that some will take more work to adjust to their new lives but believe there will be someone for each of them."

House training the dogs will be challenging. Ms. Greene said. "We will work with them in the shelter or in foster homes until they can be adopted."

The rescue and rehabilitation of the dogs will be expensive, Ms. Greene said. Each dog will be vaccinated, heartworm tested, tested and treated for intestinal parasites, sterilized and microchipped, which will cost about $450.

Additionally, many of the older Chihuahuas will require costly dental work and other medical treatments, Ms. Greene said. "We cannot forget all the man hours to care for and work with each of dogs until they can find their forever home."

The shelter was already overcrowded with pets from a recent rescue, Ms. Greene said, so financial help is needed. "Our staff and volunteers were so saddened and sicken by what they have seen in this case, but our spirits are lifted by the outpouring of support and kindness by the community."

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Those interested in adopting the dogs or who wish to make donations to help pay for their treatment and care should visit the Dearborn Animal Shelter or send checks to the shelter at 2661 Greenfield Road, Dearborn, MI 48120.

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