As our Suncoast Animal League volunteer transport with 23 dogs makes its way from Tallahassee this evening, we have learned of some bad news. Sixty-six poodles were removed from a puppy mill in the Florida panhandle and are sitting in the local animal services facility waiting to be rescued.
The overwhelmed county facility has stated the dogs MUST be removed by tomorrow afternoon. They originally contacted VIP Rescue of Florida, who then reached out to Suncoast Animal League for help...QUICK! Even as we have 23 dogs en route at the moment, how can we say no to helping these sixty-six?
Once the 23 previously-scheduled dogs arrive tonight around 8pm, they will be bathed, vetted and hopefully, placed in to foster homes (please help, if you can). Most will be spayed and neutered in the next couple of days and eligible for adoption by the weekend. Therefore, these 23 dogs and puppies should be relatively short-term fosters.
Then comes the really tricky part...
Because time is of the essence for the 66 poodle mixes in the panhandle, two of us will leave at 2am this morning and drive straight through to arrive first thing in the morning at the animal services facility. We will load up 25-30 little ones (VIP Rescue of Florida will get the others) and bring them back to Suncoast Animal League. Without any snags, the non-stop round trip should take 16-18 hours. We expect to return Wednesday afternoon or early evening.
Here's what we know so far about the dogs...
The group consists of "designer" breeds: Poodle/Shih Tzu's, Poodle/Maltese, etc. Most are very small and very matted. The animal services facility they are currently being housed at is very overcrowded so the boys and girls are mixed together.
Here's what we are comfortable assuming...
As with other puppy mill rescues, we know a lot of the dogs will have social issues since they have likely received little or no positive interaction with people. They will need patient caretakers to help them overcome their fears and to learn to love and be happy pets.
As you are wondering to yourself, "Where are they going to go?" we can only answer that we are working on that now. First things, first so we need to get the 23 dogs and puppies coming tonight into foster homes, then we will shift our energies to finding a location to house the puppy mills dogs on Wednesday.
We have many "feelers" out looking for a location to house our half of the 66 dogs, perhaps a store or warehouse with A/C. We will need the location for probably a week while we shave down their mats and tend to their immediate medical needs. Once the puppy mill dogs are stabilized, we will ask for foster homes.
As I said, time is of the essence so getting there and getting them to safety is our first goal. If you can help in any manner please let us know as soon as possible by calling us at[masked] (we will be here late tonight) or e-mail us at [address removed] or [address removed]
Thank you for your concern and for helping us help these dogs.