CAMDEN, Mo. — A phone call to the Ray County Sheriff's Office led to the discovery of a dog hoarding and puppy mill in the rural county.
Now, the community and rescuers across the region are stepping in to help the dogs find a forever home.
Sheriff Scott Childers went to the home of an elderly couple after receiving a tip. The couple told him they had issues with their dogs.
"[I found] Twenty-five pit bulls and 25 chihuahuas, so I contacted a local shelter in our area and Ray County called Reno Ranch," Childers said.
Childers and the local rescuers say they discovered bad conditions and more dogs.
"It turned out to be more between 50 to 70 dogs we ended up finding," Childers said.
Reno Ranch and other rescuers went right to work.
"We immediately began removing dogs we knew we could find immediate placement for," Susanna, who represented the Pet Connection, said. "Small dogs, puppies, elderly dogs, injured dogs."
Reno Ranch Resuce is located off Highway T in Ray County, and there are still 20 little guys and girls that need to find a forever home.
The ranch says they're working with other rescue agencies to help find those permanent homes.
"We need other rescue groups that are willing to intake some of these larger dogs, because all of our rescues are at capacity," Susanna said. "They have never left this property. They’ve never been in a vehicle, they’ve never been to the vet, they’ve never been on a leash, they just don’t have experience with the outside world."
Childers told KSHB 41 his agency continues to investigate this property, and won't file charges as long as the homeowners cooperate with certain conditions.
This includes to not breed on the property and to keep one large and one small dog.
In the mean time, the rescue community says all these dogs need is a caring environment.
"It's amazing with just a little bit of love, good food, a clean bed and a quiet restful environment can do to these dogs," Susanna said. "Because they've known nothing but chaos."
Childers is one of those providing that little bit of love.
"I even took a puppy home myself and my son named it Presley after Elvis Presley," Childers said. "And I'd tell you what, he follows my son around. That's gonna be the best friend for the next you know 10-15 years."
That's one dog rescued, with many more waiting to be welcomed as members of local families.
Anyone interested in reaching out to the Reno Ranch Rescue in Ray County to assist the dogs in anyway do so on their Facebook page.