It will be up to a judge to decide if a North Dakota breeder should regain ownership of 170 dogs found living in filthy conditions at an apparent puppy mill Wednesday.
The Fargo Forum reports dozens of Shih Tzus, Maltese, Yorkies and a number of mixed breeds ranging for 5 days to 13 years old were kept in crowded portable kennels filled with feces at a rural Wheatland property. Some kennels were packed with as many as five dogs each.
Authorities found the kennels stacked in very hot trailers, creating a "nauseating" odor.
The dogs were taken to Casselton Veterinary Service, where veterinarians expect the number of animals to reach more than 200 as some were pregnant when rescued.
Some dogs had matted fur that was so severe it restricted their movement. Other than being underweight, the animals' conditions were better than expected, most lacking basic care like vaccinations, treatment for ear infections, dental problems and grooming.
The dogs will remain under quarantine for two weeks and will either be prepared for adoption or the breeder can request the dogs be returned to her. If a request is made, a judge would decide whether the animals should remain in authorities' custody, the Forum said.
Cass County prosecutors are reviewing the case and will determine what, if any, criminal charges will be filed against the breeder.
Valley News Live has video:
http://KVLY.images.worldnow.com/interface/js/WNVideo.js?rnd=823435;hostDomain=www.valleynewslive.com;playerWidth=630;playerHeight=355;isShowIcon=true;clipId=9083566;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlayValley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks[/preserve]