Springfield organization buys dogs from breeder

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- More than 60 dogs are recovering in Springfield after being rescued from a breeding facility in northern Missouri. The HavaHart Rescue group considers the facility a puppy mill.

Late Saturday evening going into early Sunday morning, volunteers and dog lovers across southwest Missouri came together to see through another one of HavaHeart Rescue dog retrievals.

It was a welcome for dozens of dogs, as volunteers with Springfield's HavaHart Rescue traveled two hours north to what they explained as saving more than 60 dogs.

"When you see the condition that these dogs come in from these puppy mills, at times it's atrocious," said Cheryl Groves, volunteer.

The dogs ranged from day old puppies, to nursing mothers, and included small designer breeds Shih Tzu and Yorkie mixes. Groves says rescues like these are always filled with prepping, waiting, and lots of emotion.

"It's heartbreaking, and it's sad and they cower and they shiver and they can't look you in the eye," said Groves.

It's something first time volunteer Alexis Grothe experienced first hand Saturday evening.

"I've never seen dogs in this condition so it's making me sad but i'm just happy we can help them," said Grothe.

Rescuers say puppy mills have long been a problem in Missouri and continue to be.

"It really takes people fighting for these animals," said Groves. "Currently they are governed by the USDA, and really they are treated like live stock."

The dogs retrieved were bathed, groomed, and checked out by vets, which were all volunteers.

Now, all 62 dogs are now with foster families, thanks to people in southwest Missouri. They'll stay with those families for two or three weeks before being adopted by a forever family.

This was not a raid by authorities on this facility, but rather HavaHeart going in and buying the dogs. It's a practice considered controversial because it's giving money to the facility owners. But HavaHeart Rescue says they just had to do what they could to help these dogs right now.

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