PHILADELPHIA, PA. (WHTM) — Citing concerns for the animals’ welfare, the Pennsylvania SPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement team reported they rescued 21 dogs from a breeder’s property on Cain’s Road in Gap, Lancaster County, on Thursday, January 19.

According to the PSPCA, their enforcement officers were informed of the situation by the Bureau of Dog Law, which had been performing an inspection of the breeder’s kennels. Bureau inspectors told PSPCA officials they found animals living in unsanitary conditions, with inadequate sheltering to protect them from extreme cold or heat. Some of the dogs suffered from severe matting. There were also questions about whether the dogs received adequate veterinary care. PSPCA officers, with the help of Lancaster County Detective Joanne Resh, executed a search warrant at the property.

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The owner surrendered the animals to the Pennsylvania SPCA and took them to their Philadelphia headquarters to be placed in the care of the shelter’s medical team. They include a Shih Tzu mom with three 2-week-old puppies, a Shih Tzu mom with four 5-week-old puppies, two adult Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, four Labrador Retrievers, a Belgian Malinois and several poodle, terrier, and Shih Tzu type dogs. 

“It is important to remember that breeding facilities like this one still exist in Pennsylvania, with mother dogs and their puppies suffering in horrific conditions,” said Julie Klim, CEO of the Pennsylvania SPCA. “While we have made many strides in the fight against animal cruelty, it is disheartening that the demand for puppies from breeders like this continues. We implore members of the public to consider adoption when searching for a new dog. But, if they must go to a breeder, please do the proper research to find a responsible breeder, always make sure you meet your puppy’s mother and inspect their living arrangements, and report any abuse and neglect. “

The animals will be available for adoption after medical examinations. The puppies and their mothers will stay at foster homes until they are old enough to go to permanent homes.

Animal cruelty and neglect investigation is ongoing.