D.C.

Rescue dogs: WARL seeks homes for dogs saved from Ohio puppy mill

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Dozens of dogs that had a really rotten start to life are on their way to a brighter future.

Nineteen Chihuahuas and four Shar Peis were rescued from a puppy mill in Ohio and are being nursed back to health in D.C.

The dogs were overbred and basically treated like trash. Despite their awful upbringing they're beating the odds and itching for a forever home.

They were filthy, flea-infested and starving for affection when they arrived at the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Dr. Dan Shillito is nursing the dogs back to health, treating them for parasites, chronic ear and eye infections and skin disease.

Some of them are blind and deaf.

But perhaps his biggest task is helping them learn what it's like to be pets.

"It's sad," Shillito says. "The worst part about it is you have these dogs who are treated so horribly in these horrible conditions with many medical conditions and yet the first thing they want to do is wag their tail and be petted get a scratch behind the ear."

They were among the more than 250 dogs removed from a cramped puppy mill in Ohio, one of the few states where commercial dog breeders are not regulated.

When the breeder in this case fell ill, her family called for help, and surrendered the dogs.

"They'll probably bond really closely with the people who adopt them, but it may take a while to be a dog that you can take to a dog park or a dog that you can walk to Starbucks and sit down with your friends," says Mary Jarvis, WARL's Chief Operating Officer. "They're pretty scarred."

Some of the dogs may be up for adoption within a couple weeks. Others could take months.

And they require a home that understands their rocky background.

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