Washington’s Humane Rescue Alliance has rescued 12 of 188 dogs found in poor condition at the facility of a breeder who entered dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club, officials said.
The canines were rescued from a property in Stockton, N.J.
Many suffered from skin infections and parasites, animal rescuers said. Most were “covered in dirt and showed signs of physical neglect and lack of socialization,” according to the Humane Rescue Alliance. Those involved face several counts of animal cruelty.
The dogs brought to the District on Monday evening will get medical treatment and eventually be available for adoption, officials said.
According to the New York Times, the animals were rescued from the Rocky Ridge Russells kennel, which was the 2009 Westminster Kennel Club best in breed champion. The operation had terriers, Parson Russell Terriers and dachshunds.
The Times identified Martin Strozeski as one dog breeder who lived at the rural farm. Strozeski said: “It all just got out of hand. This wasn’t backyard breeding.”
A call to the Rocky Ridge Russells kennel wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday. A lawyer representing Strozeski also didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Times said one official with an animal welfare group said 10 dead dogs were found on the property. Many of those rescued were placed in the care of the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J.
The Westminster Kennel Club is best known for the dog show it sponsors. Individual kennel owners or managers breed and raise dogs independently of the Westminster Kennel Club and show.
In a statement, the Westminster Kennel Club expressed concerns about the rescue at Rocky Ridge.
“Supporting and promoting responsible dog breeding and ownership has been a key core value of the Westminster Kennel Club for 140 years,” the statement said. “We are saddened to learn of this unfortunate situation and are grateful for the care being provided to the affected dogs.”