FORD, Washington - Stevens County Sheriff's deputies seized 255 dogs from two illegal dog breeding operations Tuesday.
One operation was located in Ford, Washington. There, investigators discovered 89 dogs and puppies in various states of health. According to a news release, "One puppy was near death and a carcass that was improperly disposed of was located."
The release says "the dogs were living in filth and investigators had to wear hazmat suits while processing the scenes."
In that location, the 89 dogs were contained in a 10x60 mobile home with two people living inside.
At another location in Suncrest, investigators found 166 dogs in filthy conditions and various stages of health. Investigators had to wear hazmat suits at that location as well.
Investigators say the operation had been planned for weeks so that veterinarians and other experts could be in place. American Humane as well as HEART (Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team) came to Stevens County several days early to set up a temporary shelter.
The agencies are now trying to deal with a large amount of these small breed dogs.
Authorities knew about the Suncrest operation previously; the sheriff's office credited Deputy Jessica Garza for developing probable cause for a warrant.
Investigators spent 19 hours on the scene.
The occupants of both homes likely face charges that include cruelty to animals and violations of dog breeding statutes. Their names and specific locations are not being released.
The animals have been examined and are receiving medical attention if needed.
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