GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Staff workers at the Guilford County Animal Shelter have had their hands full for the past two weeks cleaning and caring for more than 50 abused dogs brought in from suspected puppy mills.
"It breaks my heart,” said the shelter’s executive director, Marsha Williams. “It breaks my heart so much."
On March 12, the shelter took in 26 poodles from a suspected puppy mill in Iredell County. On Monday, 31 Australian sheep dogs were rescued from a registered sex offender’s home in Hertford County.
"Broken limbs, missing limbs -- the animals had sores and all kinds of feces all over them," Williams said.
Nursing the animals back to health isn't an easy job.
First, the animals are placed in the shelter's trauma building, separate from their general population of dogs.
Once at the shelter, they're examined, cleaned and given medicine.
The Australian sheep dogs brought in from Hertford County mainly suffered from being malnourished, according to the shelter’s on-site veterinarian, Lynn DiMarco.
"They're very thin to emaciated," DiMarco said. "A lot of tumors like in the mouths."
Aside from cleaning the dogs and their cages, the biggest step in their recovery process is showing the dogs a little love.
"We're constantly touching them, talking to them in calm voices, singing to them sometimes, giving them hugs even though they're yucky,” Williams said. “We let them know that we care."
Williams says some of the dogs will be ready for adoption by April 1.