63 dogs rescued from hoarding situation

Published: Feb. 27, 2017 at 10:49 PM MST
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From the darkness...

"Yesterday these dogs were in utter darkness. Many of them in the basement. We found some of them in cupboards; they were trying to hide them."

...into the light.

"Today, you see, they're just relaxing, they're in little beds, they've got full bellies with good quality food and they just seem like they're decompressing, happy to be out of the stress."

More than 60 dogs were rescued from a brutal hoarding situation in a small Kansas town. The National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton worked with law enforcement to rescue the dogs.

"We brought in 63 in total: 51 adults and 12 baby puppies," said Theresa Strader, founder and executive director of the National Mill Dog Rescue.

Most of them are dachshunds and chihuahuas. Several are pregnant now, Strader said.

"They'll be available as we get through their medical intake, and there's a lot of nutritional issues that these dogs had," she told 11 News. "They weren't really feeding them dog food. They were feeding them oats and some kind of powdered baby food."

Already, the dogs are blossoming in freedom.

"This little guy right here" -- Strader gestured at one of the pups -- "I was just watching him today. He just rolls around in his bed upside down and he naps. ... You can just tell he's grateful, he's not stressed anymore, and when we see that, that makes every single bit of this hard work worth every second of it. He'll be a completely different dog in a couple of days."

Strader said five rescuers went on the Kansas mission.

"It was very difficult for us to see what we saw there, animals in that condition."

About 20 of the dogs were sent to the Dumb Friends League in Denver. Later this week, about 30 more will probably head to Phoenix and San Diego. The 12 puppies are too young to go to a home yet.

"[The former owners] sent along 12 puppies ... they just gave us a big bucket with 12 baby puppies in then. They're all about 5-6 weeks old, so we have to wait a little while for them to grow up a little bit too before they can go home," Strader explained.

If you are interested in adopting a dog from the National Mill Dog Rescue, you can find more information on their website.

to learn more.

Strader says she is in awe at how the dogs are bouncing back.

"I look at these dogs and I think, 'Yesterday and every day prior to that you lived in a virtual hell.'

"Today, you see the forgiving and resilient spirit of dogs."