ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Seventeen Yorkshire Terriers were rescued on Tuesday, and law enforcement officers say the dogs were living in deplorable conditions outside of a Tallassee home.
Tallassee Police, Elmore County Sheriff's investigators and the Elmore County Humane Society convinced an elderly couple to surrender the 17 animals, who are now on their way to a better life.
Most of the dogs have matted, dirty coats and itchy, flea-infested skin. In all, eight full-grown Yorkies and nine very young puppies are on their way to get medicated baths, veterinary care and love at the Elmore County Humane Society.
"I can't wait until they have a life with families and lay on the sofa or a bed and are played with or snuggled and loved on and learn what that is about. Not just used as breeding stock, that is what I hope for them," said Rea Cord, executive director of the Humane Society of Elmore County.
Tallassee Police say the couple, who lived at the home on Taylor Road, bred animals for more than 40 years.
Investigators say most of the dogs were kept in small cages, stacked on top of one another in an outdoor trailer. The dogs were rarely let out cages soiled with mud, rancid food, water, feces and urine.
"Our focus has been the welfare of the animals and this is a couple raising animals for 40 years and it got to the point at their age not able to take care of these animals," said Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rogers.
Chief Rogers says the elderly couple, who struggle with health issues, will not face any charges because they cooperated with investigators, surrendered the animals and agreed to stop their breeding business. They are also not being identified.
It's now up to the already overpopulated Elmore County Humane Society to step in and care for the animals. It's a job they are passionate about doing, but need your support and donations to continue.
"Donations are always welcome because these 17 come on top of the 250 so that are already at the shelter," said Cord.
It's going to be a while before the Yorkies are ready for adoption. First priority is getting them healthy, spayed and neutered. Then they will need to be fostered, because again they've lived their entire lives in cages and not around people.
You can visit the Elmore County Humane Society online by clicking here, and check back for updates on the dogs regarding when they will be ready for adoption.