Dogs rescued from puppy mill headed to Palm Harbor - FOX 13 News

Dogs rescued from puppy mill headed to Palm Harbor

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(Photo courtesy: Suncoast Animal League) (Photo courtesy: Suncoast Animal League)

The Suncoast Animal League in Palm Harbor is preparing to take in 32 dogs from a puppy mill operation.

As they were rescuing 23 other dogs, they got a call Tuesday night they couldn't refuse.

The caller said they had 66 dogs made up of poodles, Shih Tzu's and Maltese dogs that would be put down unless someone could come the next morning to rescue the group.

Executive director Rick Chaboudy immediately left with another volunteer to get the dogs.

Now, 32 dogs are on their way to Palm Harbor. They are expected to arrive around 6:30.

Volunteers are on hand to wash, feed and rehabilitate the dogs.

By phone, Chaboudy told us the dogs are in some of the worst conditions he has seen. He said most of the dogs are very small and matted.

The Suncoast Animal League is now running out of space, and work has doubled for the staff there.

But it's work they are glad to take on.

"They just need a chance. They need a second chance in our life, and that's our goal," Betancourt said.

These are among 23 dogs from Alabama that were going to be put down, until the league stepped in and brought

them to Palm Harbor.

Just as the dogs arrived from Alabama, the league got another call.

"They were like, either you come and get them or they're being put to sleep," Betancourt said.

Thirty-two dogs rescued from a Panhandle puppy mill also needed saved.

"Half of these animals have never been out of the case, so he says it is really horrific and disgusting," Betancourt said.

The breeds are mainly Poodles and Maltese. Many of them are puppies.

"I don't want to put it that this is their final chance, but this is probably their best chance," Sam Carrell said.

And they need a lot of care.

"Their paws are really messed up, they're really matted so badly that it's almost to the core of their skin," she said.

With two big rescues in just one day, the Suncoast Animal League is running low on space.

"We need to find some facility just for two weeks that could house them while they get taken care of," Betancourt said.

After that, they'll need to find homes. Tami Pietsch fostered one of the dogs from Alabama.

She hopes others step up to give these dogs another chance.

"You come down and you see one of these dogs and 20 and they are like terrified I don't understand how people can be that way," Pietsch said.

To get in touch with Suncoast Animal League call 727-786-1330 or visit


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