Local News

Dozens of Dogs Rescued From 'Puppy Mill'

Posted July 19, 2007 8:51 p.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2007 6:42 a.m. EDT

— More than 60 malnourished dogs and puppies have been rescued from a home in western Hoke County.

The dogs were sick and starving when Hoke County animal control officers brought them to the county animal shelter.

"When they got here, they were matted and full of fleas," shelter director Michelle Queja said. "Most of them came with hips showing, ribs showing, a lot of scars."

Some of the animals had to be euthanized because they were so malnourished, Queja said.

Authorities have described the home where the dogs were kept as a puppy mill but have not been able to find the owner, identified as Janet Marburger.

"They were selling the dogs to the public. People were buying these sick dogs," Queja said.

Harold Richards said the dog owners left North Carolina in January to seek jobs, and he hasn't heard from them since. They allowed him to stay in their home as long as he watched the dogs.

Richards said the owners assured him dog food would be delivered regularly. But the food stopped coming weeks ago, he said.

He finally called someone to help him care for the dogs, and they called animal control officers.

Authorities haven't been able to track down the dogs' owners, who they said would likely face multiple charges.

Queja said the shelter has about 10 dogs from the home available for adoption.