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170 dogs living in horrendous conditions at puppy mill in TN

Posted: 7:16 AM, Feb 05, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-05 08:16:15-05

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC/CNN) — Rescuers in Mississippi found about 170 dogs living in horrendous conditions at a breeding facility Monday.

Authorities are looking into whether any crimes have been committed at the puppy mill.

"The one thing you never forget about situations like this is the air," Sandy Williams with the Tunica Humane Society said.

It was an emotional day for Sandy Williams and her rescue team as they removed about 170 dogs from deplorable living conditions.

Many of the dogs were blind, matted and filthy.

"Kennels just stacked on top of each other. There were two mamas nursing brand new puppies. Many, many little senior dogs," Williams said.

About a week ago, Williams, who's the Tunica Humane Society Director, received a tip about the operation.

After some investigating and undercover work, Williams brought her findings to the Tate County Sheriff's Office.

Monday morning a warrant was executed.

"She has a legitimate puppy business, but that doesn't excuse the condition the dogs were living in," Williams said.

Around the property, there are signs for Ashcraft Kennels.

A website shows a breeding business - chihuahuas, poodles, miniature pinschers - all for sale.

According to investigators, the business owner has been cooperating and has not been arrested.

"I don't know how anyone gets in a situation like this. It's certainly not the first time. It probably won't be the last time we see this," Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance said.

Lance said puppy mill cases are difficult to prove. This operation has been on their radar for quite some time.

Investigators will send their findings to the district attorney's office to then be presented to a grand jury.

"It's just a matter of being able to get what you need in accordance with the law to take care of it and shut it down," Lance said.

All the dogs are now receiving medical attention.

They are not yet available for adoption.