12:43 PM EST, January 13, 2013
MISHAWAKA – A local animal rescue group is searching for some foster homes, thanks to a new law cracking down on puppy mills in Ohio.
Until the Ohio legislature passed the bill last week, puppy mill owners in the state were only required to give their dogs food, shelter and water. The dogs were allowed to be in a cage all of the time.
121 dogs at one Ohio puppy mill have been delivered to animal rescue groups across Indiana, including 13 that have ended up at Heartland Small Animal Rescue in Mishawaka.
The nonprofit rescue is looking for foster families and individuals who can provide stable temporary homes for these dogs.
These dogs may have never felt grass on their paws or even be familiar with an indoor living environment.
On Sunday, WSBT visited the Heartland Small Animal Rescue and found the 13 dogs from Ohio had matted hair, many had never received baths or been groomed. Some were seen to be visibly shaking.
“We are trying to work in advance to set up additional foster homes in our area,” said Heartland’s Linda Candler. “The more foster homes we set up, the more dogs we can save from the cruel life dogs are forced to live and reproduce in puppy mills.”
Candler believes most of the small breed dogs, such as Yorkies, Poodles and Shi Tzus are highly profitable as puppies. The mothers and fathers being freed are believed to be around the ages of 2- to 5-years-old.
Heartland will provide medical care, crates, toys and food for the dogs. Fosters are being asked to provide the temporary home, love and patience.
You can fill out a foster application and help by going online to http://www.heartlandsmallanimalrescue.org/canine-application.html.
If you cannot foster but would like to donate to care for these dogs in dire need, you can also visit www.heartlandsmallanimalrescue.org.
Heartland Small Animal Rescue services St. Joseph County and the surrounding area by taking in homeless pets and adopting them out into loving homes. They also work closely with local shelters to reduce euthanasia rates by pulling animals and putting them in the Heartland program.
Candler expects to get more dogs from Ohio because of the state’s move to overhaul its puppy mill law.
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