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Rescued Dogs Get Love, Care From Sanford Volunteers

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SANFORD, N.C. — About a week ago, a Lee County judge ordered more than 100 dogs removed from a so-called puppy mill. Now, the rescued animals need to be rescued again.

Volunteers, with the help of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a successful injunction against Barbara Woodley, who had the dogs on her property. The group got permission to go on the property to rescue them.

The dogs are being cared for at a makeshift kennel the Sanford Fairgrounds.

"Since 90 percent of the dogs have no teeth, we have to give them soft food," volunteer Pat Williams said.

"We are real animal lovers, and some of the dogs are in bad shape. It's just to feel like you're helping maybe have a better life," volunteer Jeff Reid said.

Veterinarian Dr. Laureen Bartfield described the conditions of the rescued dogs as "shocking."

"Many of the dogs were in the dark. They were coated in urine and matted feces. It was terrible," she said.

Since their rescue, Bartfield and other volunteers have put in countless hours documenting and treating the dog's health problems.

The dogs are said to be suffering from skin, teeth and eye diseases. One is completely blind, another has a tumor.

"[This one] has decreased vision in one eye, but he has no eye on the right side," Bartfield said.

Woodley said she takes in animals nobody wants.

For now, Bartfield said they can only keep the animals comfortable with antibiotics and pain killers. Many of them need surgery.

"The one thing that we need right now is funding," she said.

Woodley's attorney and vet are assessing the situation for themselves. Because of the legal wrangling over the dogs, it could be up to three months before they can be put up for adoption, if at all.

Woodley, who still has close to 100 dogs on her property, vows to fight to get the dogs back.

To donate money, supplies or time, contact the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, SNAP-NC, by calling (919) 363-0788 or by e-mail at