EVERETT, Wash. — It was hard enough on animal shelters in northwest Washington state when nearly 600 dogs were seized in raids. Then they started having puppies.
About 80 percent of the animals seized in Snohomish and Skagit counties in the past week - predominantly miniature Chihuahuas, shih tzus, poodles, Yorkshire terriers and so-called "designer" dogs - appear to be pregnant, officials said.
Everett Animal Services received 155 dogs that were taken from a site near Gold Bar in Snohomish County on Jan. 16, Director Bud Wessman said.
"We've already had two litters born," Wessman told The Seattle Times. "We have six that will give birth over the weekend and probably another 10 litters coming up in the next week."
According to documents released Friday in Evergreen District Court, investigators have been told that the Gold Bar operation made millions of a dollars a year, The Herald of Everett reported.
The site has been linked to a second property in Skagit County where authorities seized 135 dogs on Wednesday and returned Friday to seize the remaining 308.
The owner of the second property, near Mount Vernon, is the mother of the woman who owns the Snohomish County property.
He said the first batch was considered to be in immediate need of care because the dogs looked sick, had matted fur, were standing in their own feces and had been left without food and water, were deemed to be in need of immediate medical care, he said.
The second batch dogs was taken after authorities determined they might be infected with coccidia, a potentially deadly intestinal parasite that causes diarrhea and was found in two dogs from the initial raid, Reichardt said.
Most of the dogs from both batches are now at the Skagit County Fairgrounds, although some have been placed in foster homes, he added.
In the earlier raid in Snohomish County, deputies and animal control officers said the dogs they seized were sick, filthy and covered with fleas.
The dogs were sold from a third family property in the town of Snohomish, described as a "nice country house," and through the Internet site Wags & Wiggles Teacups, said Paula Helinski, who lives near the Skagit County property and has spent years collecting documents on the operation.
Investigators went to the Snohomish property on Jan. 16 and found 44 dogs, more than allowed by the kennel permit, but left the animals there because they appeared to be in good shape, Snohomish County Animal Control manager Vicki Lubrin said.
Authorities in the two counties say they are cooperating in the investigation and may file animal cruelty charges. ---------------------------------------------------------------- and what you can do:
They came from filth and darkness…and into the light. Over 600 puppies found in a dank kennel, sheltered in the woods one hour outside Seattle, Washington.
Pasado's Safe Haven is working with Animal Shelters to evacuate animals using Pasado's Spay Station, offering to take in all overflow dogs and 24-hour veterinary assistance (at our own expense) to avoid any animals unnecessarily being euthanized.
Staff and volunteers will be on call to rehabilitate and heal these dogs who have been enslaved in cages for most, if not all, of their lives - in the name of profits.
With supplies and man power now depleted in the evacuation of these animals, we need your help to successfully rebound - as we continue to help animals in the deep freeze.
Please make a donation or purchase a gift card for WalMart, PetsMART, or Costco. We can buy anything we need when we're on the road should we run out of beds, shelters, or food. scheduled to round up 70 volunteers and truckloads of dog shelters, food, flea treatment, and toys for pets of the poor, left in the freezing cold.
HOW TO HELP THE PUPPY MILL FIGHT:
1) Donate to Pasado's: The money will help us to supply veterinary services and keep our transport vehicles at the ready for such emergencies
2) Don't Shop, ADOPT! NEVER buy an animal from a pet store
3) Share your puppy mill stories with Pasado's: every bit of information helps us investigate unfit environments - contact us.
4) Educate: Respectfully help educate friends and family about the harms of buying animals from pet stores.
Thank you, from our hearts, for what you're doing from the comfort of your home or office. Isn't it amazing what we all can do as a team?