• Sea of rescued puppies calls into question breeder oversight

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    GROVELAND, Mass. - At Groveland's Sweet Paws Rescue, there is a sea of dog smiles.

    Furry yellow faces, wagging tails -- so many golden retrievers all in one place. But all the golden retriever happiness comes at a price. These dogs -- more than a dozen breeding females, four males, and nine puppies -- were all rescued last week from a Massachusetts backyard breeder.

    This may be the first time any of these dogs have experienced extended freedom and love in their entire lives. 

    >> PHOTOS: 28 golden retrievers rescued from Mass. breeder

    "I heard it was just crates -- and a dog can't live its life in a crate," Sweet Paws co-owner Cynthia Sweet said.

    Sweet Paws volunteer Dan Downey picked up all 28 golden retrievers from the same breeder. 

    "I love these girls, they are wonderful," he said. "I think they are finally happy to play with toys. And play with each other. And roam free without being in a little kennel pumping out puppies."

    Sweet said most of her rescues come from southern states, where backyard breeders and abandoned dogs are a major issue. But she said this is proof that more needs to be done here.

    "I'm over the moon that these guys will never be used as breeding machines again. But the bigger issue is why did this happen in the first place? Who is overseeing breeders in the state of Massachusetts?" Sweet said.

    All of the cute puppies are going to find good homes, there’s no question about that. But the new owners of the dogs are going to have to deal with some health issues.

    All of the dogs are likely related and that means genetic problems will likely surface later in life. But for now, the dogs are healthy and happy and looking forward to new lives.

    As of now, the pups are not available for adoption. Officials say the dogs, who are not socialized, will first need behavioral evaluations and medical care. Check the Sweet Paws website for adoption updates.

    Tips for finding a responsible breeder >>

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