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1,000 dogs are rescued from West Virginia puppy mill

August 25, 2008 |  7:00 pm

More than 1,000 dogs were rescued from a West Virginia kennel over the weekend, prompting a national effort by animal groups to find them new homes.

The Whispering Oaks Kennel in Parkersburg surrendered the dogs, mostly purebred dachshunds, to the Humane Society of the United States after sheriff's deputies searched the facility, the Associated Press reports.

The Humane Society called the rural property a puppy mill where dogs were kept in cages and dilapidated sheds for breeding. The dogs were never let out and rarely handled by humans. Officials said the animals did not appear to have been abused, but noted that it would be impossible for that many animals to be properly cared for.

Sharon Roberts, the owner, was not charged with animal neglect but agreed never to operate a dog breeding facility again. She told the Associated Press she was the victim of a "witch hunt'' by animal rights activists.

The dogs are being housed at a temporary shelter as rescuers examine them before trying to find them homes.

"These resilient little animals are already beginning to perk up under the care of their temporary guardians at the emergency shelter," Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at the Humane Society, said in a news release. "Thankfully they will soon be taken in by humane organizations around the region, evaluated and put up for adoption."

-- Tony Barboza

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