About 90 dogs were found abandoned in far southern Oklahoma on Monday. The dogs are believed to have been dumped off by a puppy mill owner.
A group called Southern Oklahoma Animal Resources, based near Ardmore, took custody of most of the dogs. Scott Sutherland, the group's director, said all but three have been given homes.
The dogs were found on a nearby ranch on Sunday night, he said. A rancher gathered them up in a horse trailer and took them to an animal hospital in Ardmore, Sutherland said.
Many of the dogs are pregnant and most are emaciated and ratty, Sutherland said.
He believes a puppy mill owner dumped the dogs off because he or she could not make enough profit. A puppy mill is an organization that breeds dogs and then sells them. Conditions in the puppy mills are not regulated, and that creates an environment where animal abuse is common, said Christy Counts, president of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.
Sixty-five of the found dogs were taken up by Southern Oklahoma Animal Resources, and 25 were sent to an animal shelter in Texas, Sutherland said.
Nearly all of the dogs in Oklahoma have been given new homes, but the center plans to spay and neuter the animals, and is accepting donations for that purpose.
Sutherland said the dogs appeared frightened but would do well in new homes. One was unable to bark, and he believes a rod may have been shoved down the dog's throat to sever its larynx — assumedly because a mill owner became annoyed with the dog, he said.
Animal rights activists say they plan to use the incident as new cause for pushing regulations on unlicensed breeders in the state. Counts said Oklahoma has a much larger problem with puppy mills than other states.