SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - More than 40 dogs from Operation Breathe have gone through Stateline Animal Clinic in Southaven, Mississippi. They’re receiving the medical attention they so desperately need so rescue partners nationwide can step in and help.
“They grew up in very close quarters. They’re not used to being cuddled and handled,” said Tunica Humane Society Executive Director Sandy Williams.
A total of 176 dogs were rescued from a Tate County home just over a week ago, in what rescue teams are calling ‘Operation Breathe.’ According to investigators, the homeowner ran a breeding business. Of the 176, 107 were chihuahuas.
“She basically dealt with chihuahuas, Maltese, and some min pins,” said Williams.
It was after a tip came into the Tunica Humane Society that the investigation started that lead to horrifying conditions being uncovered.
“We were at the site that day cutting mats out of their eyes so they could see,” said Lisa Godfrey with Stateline Animal Clinic.
The dogs, which range from newborn puppies to 15 years old, have been taken to clinics. Some have dental disease, tumors and hernias from over breeding.
"They smelled bad. Had parasites. We found a few heartworm cases so far," said Godfrey.
Local rescue teams are working with placement partners nationwide to help dogs find foster homes and eventually permanent ones. It would have been too overwhelming for local rescue teams to try and do this locally. They’ve been overwhelmed by the community’s response.
“Calls about fostering. People were very anxious to help. Of course, wanting to adopt. Thousands and thousands of phone calls about people wanting to adopt,” said Williams.
It will be a few more weeks before the dogs will be placed up for adoption here locally. That's when people can start calling and applying.
The Tunica Humane Society also wants to let the public know these dogs are specific to this breeding operation and are not missing pets. They've received a number of calls from residents believing a dog is theirs.
As for the homeowner, no charges have been filed at this point. Investigators are still gathering evidence and will present that information to the district attorney's office.
If you’d like to donate to Operation Breathe you can click the link --