The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office in Washington had their hands full on September 11, 2018 when they issued two warrants as part of an investigation into illegal dog breeding operations. Police raided the two locations on the same day expecting to find about 150 dogs in total, but they actually found 255 dogs and puppies in all. Investigators planned the raids for weeks in advance to provide for the rescued dogs. However, the number of canines seized in the backyard breeder raids overwhelmed their expectations and resources.
The first raid location in Ford was so filthy and dangerous that authorities and rescuers had to wear hazmat suits for safety. They found 89 dogs and puppies kept in a 10-by-60-foot mobile home also occupied by two people. Investigators pulled one puppy near death from the home and found a dead dog on the property. At the second raid location, authorities saved 166 dogs in various states of health from a split-level home in Suncrest.
American Human and Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team (HEART) arrived on the scene days prior to the investigation to prepare temporary shelter and housing for animals seized from the backyard breeders. Local veterinarians were also on the scene to provide medical care. Investigators and volunteers weren’t prepared for so many dogs. However, they worked hard to provide food and care with some working up to 19 hours on the first day.
Authorities charged the residents of both locations with animal cruelty along with possible felony charges. In the meantime, the mostly small breed dogs are being kept in a temperature-controlled temporary space at the local fairgrounds, and they could use some help. Please consider donating to HEART to cover the costs of the dogs’ care. Other locations in the area accept donations of supplies like towels, puppy pads, crates, and bowls. Click here to see a list of drop-off locations and needed supplies. None of the dogs are available for adoption yet, though they may be within a week or so. You can follow the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook for updates.
Are you happy to see that these dogs are getting the care they need? What do you think the penalty should be for backyard breeders? Let us know in the comments below!