Las Vegas police and Clark County officials on Wednesday evening recovered more than 160 Pomeranian dogs that had been crammed into the back of a box van.
The 164 dogs had no food, water or ventilation when they were found in Sandy Valley, a small community just northwest of Primm, animal foundation officials said. Many crates carrying the animals contained three to five dogs, officials said.
The driver, who has not been identified, was a woman from San Bernardino, Calif., Who authorities described as a possible “backyard breeder.” The woman allegedly loaded the dogs into the truck and left California after receiving a tip that her property would be searched.
“Apparently she’s a breeder known to not always be a good breeder so she had a story,” said Animal Foundation spokesperson Kelly Leahy.
After being rescued, the Pomeranians were taken to the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas, where they were medically assessed and treated. Over the next few weeks, they will be allowed for adoption, Leahy said.
Sabrina Hutchinson, a licensed veterinary surgeon and clinic director at the facility, said the dogs generally appeared healthy despite their filthiness.
Leahy estimated the ages of the dogs ranged from 3 months to 12 years.
The sudden addition of so many dogs puts a strain on the shelter’s resources, Leahy said. Some workers had to go to work Thursday at 1 a.m. to prepare for the arrival of the animals. On average, the foundation welcomes 80 new animals per day.
Some of the dogs could go to Animal Foundation rescue partners, Leahy said, but others are said to be available at the shelter.
As of Thursday afternoon, no charges were laid. The Metropolitan Police Department’s animal cruelty unit continues to investigate, as do animal control authorities in Clark County and San Bernardino.