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Fourteen dogs rescued from a Kentucky puppy mill last month, including two nursing mothers with a total of six puppies, found shelter this week at the Humane Society of Calvert County.

On Sept. 19, Animal Rescue Corps, an international nonprofit animal protection organization, recovered 122 dogs, three cats and two parrots from a puppy mill in Monticello, Ky. The animals were dispersed to eight different shelters across the country, including the Humane Society of Calvert County.

Kirstyn Northrop Cobb, a volunteer and adoption counselor for the humane society, met with an Animal Rescue Corps representative Sunday in Takoma Park to transport the dogs back to the shelter. With the help of five volunteers and four vehicles, 14 dogs, including Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers and shih tzus, arrived safely where they were welcomed with food, toys and blankets, Cobb said.

“Everybody was very excited,” Cobb said about the rescue. “We know they came from a rough start and we’re giving them a brand new lease on life, and it’s only going to get better from here.”

Cobb has worked in animal welfare for 20 years and has been with the humane society for eight. She said, on average, there are about three giant puppy mill busts a year, and those numbers are growing. There are an estimated 15,000 puppy mills in the U.S. alone, according to the Animal Rescue Corps website. In these mass-production “factories,” dogs are forced to supply litters of puppies, supplying pet stores and selling directly to consumers through online or newspaper ads.

Cobb described the dogs’ living situation in Kentucky as “deplorable,” without clean water and food. She said some animals were kept in closed containers and never saw daylight, they were packed in filthy wire cages covered with feces and were in dire need of medical care. One rescued dog had a broken leg that was never cared for and is now completely deformed, Cobb said.

Since then, Animal Rescue Corps medically and behaviorally evaluated all animals and delivered them to shelters across the country, Cobb said, adding that the next step is to get all dogs spayed and neutered. All dogs are currently available for adoption, though they will not be able to go home until they have been spayed or neutered.

Cobb said the shelter is currently at capacity, but will make use of as many foster homes as possible.

Adoption applications can be found on the Humane Society of Calvert County’s website, humanesocietyofcalvertcounty.org.

“I hope to see them all in happy and loving homes,” Cobb said.

snewman@somdnews.com