More than 150 dogs were removed from two separate locations owned by what authorities are calling a large, substandard, unlicensed breeding facility in Lake City on Wednesday.
Missaukee County Sheriff's Department and the Roscommon County Animal Shelter have been working on the case for the last two years. As part of a civil action, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals assisted authorities with the removal of 169 dogs, the majority Jack Russell Terrier and Shiba Inu. On Thursday, the dogs were on their way to finding new homes.
"We saw a lot of dogs that were being housed," said Kathryn Destreza, with ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "They were very wet, filthy, living in muddy conditions, very cold. It was cold and rainy yesterday. So there had no protection from that. They were also very fearful and unsocialized to human contact."
But John Jones, one of the owners of JRT John's Jack Russell and Shiba Inu has a different story. He says that he always care for the dogs, that they had proper shelter, and water, and that he had contact with them 24/7.
Officials from the Roscommon County Animal Shelter say they have seen these types of scenes before, but never this large.
"I've never seen the conditions in which the animals were held with the weather, the sun, the heat, the snow, the rain, along with exposure to insects and bug bites and flies and mosquitoes," said Terry Mackillop, from the Roscommon County Animal Control. "It was pretty hard to handle."
Workers and volunteers have been cleaning the dogs up and giving them medical examinations. On Thursday some of the dogs were loaded up into trucks and will soon be ready for adoption in Michigan and across the country.
Many of the dogs will remain in Michigan. For any information on how to adopt or make a donation towards the cause you are asked to contact the Roscommon County Animal Shelter.