CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Human Society in Charlotte in now caring for 17 dogs that were rescued Friday from deplorable conditions.
According to the Humane Society, the animals were found after the Alexander County Sheriff's Office served a search and seizure warrant on the property.
Jorge Ortega is the Vice President of Operations at the Humane Society. He told WBTV this is the first puppy mill bust his shelter has assisted with this year. However, the shelter assisted in rescuing hundreds of dogs from puppy mills in 2013.
"We responded to four puppy mill cases last year that totaled a little more than 400 animals," Ortega said.
Ortega said the underground operations can be hard for authorities to uncover. He recommends pet owners do their homework before buying from a breeder.
"You definitely have to ask a lot of questions," Ortega said. "Where is the mom? Where is the dad? Can I see them? Can I see the conditions they are living in? The last thing you want to do is buy a puppy for a couple hundred dollars and then you are turning around a couple weeks later spending thousands of dollar in medical bills because the puppy is sick."
After they are nursed back to health, the dogs that were rescued in Alexander County will be up for adoption.
North Carolina state director for The HSUS Kim Alboum said, "The deplorable conditions these dogs were forced to live in are heartbreaking - we're grateful to the Alexander County Sheriff's Office for taking swift action and letting us help rescue these animals. This is the 16th puppy mill we've rescued animals from since June 2011. We're hopeful North Carolina legislators will stop this terrible suffering in 2014 by passing stronger laws to protect these animals."
The dogs were taken to the Humane Society of Charlotte where they will be evaluated, given the medical treatment they require, and placed in foster homes.
Officials told WBTV that the owner agreed to surrender the animals.