Las Vegas police and Clark County officials late Wednesday recovered more than 160 Pomeranian dogs that had been crammed into the back of a box truck.
The 164 dogs had no food, water or ventilation when they were found in Sandy Valley, a small community just northwest of Primm, animal foundation officials said. Many of the crates carrying the animals had three to five dogs in them, officials said.
The driver, who has not been identified, was a woman from San Bernardino, California, whom officials described as a possible “backyard breeder.” The woman reportedly loaded the dogs into the truck and left California after receiving a tip her property would be searched.
“Apparently it’s a breeder who is notorious for not being always a good breeder, so she had a history,” Animal Foundation spokeswoman Kelly Leahy said.
After being rescued, the Pomeranians were taken to the Animal Foundation in Las Vegas, where they were being medically evaluated and groomed. Sometime in the next several weeks, they will be cleared for adoption, Leahy said.
Sabrina Hutchinson, a licensed veterinary technician and clinic manager at the facility, said the dogs generally appeared to be in good health despite being dirty.
Leahy estimated the dogs’ ages ranged from 3 months to up to 12 years.
The sudden addition of so many dogs is taxing the shelter’s resources, Leahy said. Some workers had to come into work at 1 a.m. Thursday to prepare to bring the animals in. On average, the foundation takes in 80 new animals a day.
Some of the dogs could go to the Animal Foundation’s rescue partners, Leahy said, but others would be available at the shelter.
As of Thursday afternoon, no charges had been filed. The Metropolitan Police Department’s animal cruelty unit continues to investigate, along with Clark County animal control and San Bernardino authorities.