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Rescued puppy mill dogs improving

Jordan Beck | Daily Press “Nutmeg” — one of many dogs seized by police and brought to the Delta Animal Shelter after a Maple Ridge Township puppy mill was busted last week — nurses her eight puppies at the shelter Monday.

ESCANABA — One week after a Maple Ridge Township puppy mill was busted by police, the Delta Animal Shelter is continuing to care for animals rescued from the mill.

“We’ve come a long way in a week, thanks to many volunteers,” Shelter Manager Susan Gartland said.

She also thanked local veterinarians, dog trainers, groomers and people providing foster care for their help.

On Monday, Aug. 24, troopers from the Michigan State Police Gladstone Post discovered the puppy mill while checking on a horse in an area roadway. A total of 134 dogs and 20 horses were seized by police.

The dogs were taken to the Delta Animal Shelter, where they are still being cared for today. Since many of the seized adult dogs were pregnant, a large number of puppies have been born at the shelter recently.

“We’ve had 41 puppies born in two days,” Gartland said.

One of the dogs that has given birth at the shelter is “Nutmeg,” an English Cream Golden Retriever who had a litter of eight puppies. Shelter volunteers had to sit with Nutmeg around the clock early on, as she initially did not accept her puppies.

“I’m happy to report she is now being a wonderful mom,” Gartland said.

Gartland said the shelter and police are still collecting evidence in an investigation into the living conditions of animals at the puppy mill. The evidence will then be turned over to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office, and criminal charges may be filed at a later date.

Because of this, the dogs are not ready for adoption at this time.

“I know people are anxious for this to move quickly, but every single person involved in this investigation is working very hard and very diligently with an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be processed,” Gartland said.

Some people in the area — specifically, those who suspect they have adopted animals from the puppy mill in the past five years — may be able to directly assist the investigation by sending an email to deltaanimals@yahoo.com.

In the meantime, the shelter is working to provide medical care, shelter and socialization to the dogs rescued from the puppy mill. Local residents will be able to help socialize these dogs soon.

“This will be something that we will be asking for help with in the upcoming weeks,” Gartland said.

The horses seized by police were also taken into the shelter’s care and have been brought to an undisclosed farm.

“These horses are getting the best care you can imagine,” Gartland said.

She noted the farm has not been identified in order to protect the horses and to respect the privacy of its owner and the volunteers caring for these animals.

Over the past week, Gartland said a “tremendous amount of money” has been donated to the shelter. Donations have gone towards buying food, medication, vaccination supplies and cleaning supplies for the dogs.

“We look ahead to the amount of money to have them all spayed and neutered,” Gartland said.

Gartland said the horses are being taken care of with donated monies, as well.

“We’ve purchased hay and grain and halters and leads — the basic horse supplies,” she said.

According to Gartland, the support local residents have given to the shelter in response to this situation over the past week serves as a reminder of what makes the Upper Peninsula special.

“I’m not sure that any other area in the United States would have a whole community invested in the well-being of these dogs and horses,” she said.

For more information, find “Delta Animal Shelter” on Facebook.

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