Nineteen Maltese mix dogs were brought to the Humane Society of Charlotte Saturday with a range of health problems.
According to the shelter veterinarian, many suffered from dental disease, cataracts or severe skin problems.
"For the most part the lack of vet care is common theme [among puppy mills]," Vice President of Operations Jorge Ortega said.
The Humane Society of Charlotte's Emergency Response Team rescued the dogs after authorities located a breeding operation in Western North Carolina.
The owner surrendered the 19 dogs but she is believed to have more. It's unclear if the woman will face charges.
This latest rescue comes on the heels of new legislation to regulate commercial dog breeding. House Bill 930 creates standards of care for people who own 10 or more female dogs for the purposes of breeding. It requires proper vet care and adequate food, water and shelter.
The bill is modest compared to other bills that failed in the past. It does not require breeders to register, be licensed or be subject to regular inspections.
Currently the North Carolina does not have any law governing commercial breeding and ranks among the worst for puppy mills.
"We are optimistic something will be put in place to help these animals and to make sure these conditions don't continue to exist in North Carolina," President of the Humane Society of Charlotte Shelly Moore said.
Animal advocates hope if the House bill passes, a similar bill will be filed in the Senate.
Ortega is hopeful after the 19 dogs are evaluated they will either be put up for adoption or in foster homes.
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