Dozens of dogs rescued from a puppy mill in Alabama arrived in Palm Harbor Saturday.
The Suncoast Animal League worked with the former owner, who rescuers say is a breeder and a hoarder, to take 30 of the 60 dogs from her property.
The dogs were mostly small breeds, including Pomeranian, Maltese, and Yorkies.
"One of the biggest issues we face with puppy mills is the lack of socialization. I mean, they're just not used to being around people at all," said Rick Chaboudy, executive director of Suncoast Animal League.
Volunteers feed and groomed each dog. Many of the dogs had long fur that was extremely matted and had to be cut off in thick strips.
"They're completely attached to the dog, and you need to use a surgical blade to remove the pelt from the dogs," said Ellen Schofield, who closed her own business for the day, Wag More Grooming, to volunteer.
It is too soon to put the dogs up for adoption, according to rescuers. They must undergo a medical screening and be spayed or neutered. Rescuers are currently looking for foster families to care for the dogs until adoption.
"I came and looked at one of the puppies, and I fell in love. I'm signing up to work," said Samantha Misuraca, one of about 80 people who signed up to foster a dog.
"For some, they've never been a pet. They've never had a family to be with, so we're going to change all of that," said Chaboudy.
Anyone interested in fostering a dog can contact the Suncoast Animal League at 727-786-1330.