Authorities rescued 53 poodles from a suspected puppy mill in Libby, Montana, after discovering the dogs living in deplorable conditions and suffering from various medical issues. They also rescued six donkeys who appeared to be extremely thin, 60 parakeets and three canaries. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Lincoln County Animal Care and Control, with assistance from the Humane Society of the United States, responded to the property after receiving a tip from a concerned citizen. The owner was selling puppies through a personal website and Facebook.

Many of the dogs were dangerously underweight with severely matted fur and suffering from untreated eye, ear and dental infections. They range in age from several months old to adults. Lincoln County Animal Care and Control removed the dogs from the property and will care for them pending the final disposition of this case.

Wendy Hergenraeder, Montana state director for the HSUS, said: “Sadly, the conditions we witnessed today are typical for commercial dog breeding facilities in Montana, since the state does not have any laws to regulate puppy mills. We’re thankful to the Lincoln County authorities for making sure these dogs and puppies will never go hungry again.”

Roby Bowe, Lincoln County Sheriff, said: “I am relieved that we were able to come to the aid of these dogs. We have tried to work with the owner to ensure the proper care of the animals, but we reached the point that the animals had to be removed for their well-being.”

Wendy Anderson, Lincoln County Animal Care and Control supervisor, said: “It’s been a long road to get to this day, but I’m relieved we were now able to provide these dogs the relief and care they deserve. We’re grateful to have the assistance of the HSUS in this endeavor, and we look forward to starting these animals on their new journey towards better lives.”

Unlike a majority of states in the country, Montana has no law that provides for the cost of caring for animals after they are seized in a cruelty case, so that cost typically falls on the taxpayers or the goodwill of the community. The HSUS urges Montana’s legislature to pass a law to put that financial burden on the suspected abusers.

The HSUS provided some financial assistance for the care of the animals, and PetSmart Charities™ also provided food, supplies and financial support.

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