SAN DIEGO (KGTV): The San Diego Humane Society has 181 new, cute, fluffy, energetic mascots - the Yorkies they rescued from hoarders in Poway in 2017.
The dogs were found living in filthy conditions in three separate locations. It still stands as the largest single rescue in SDHS history.
Over the past year and a half, the Humane Society has worked to rehabilitate and house every dog. The effort has been wildly successful.
"More than anything, I think what they needed was love and the chance to move forward," says Holly Goulart, who adopted two of the Yorkies, Lacey and Lucy.
Most of the dogs had severe health problems. Almost all needed to have teeth removed. Some were pregnant. Others had surgeries to remove infected ear canals and tumors.
The Humane Society says they wound up needing homes for 181 dogs. They got thousands of applications.
Only one of the dogs rescued died in the last 18 months. The rest have all been adopted. Their owners say the experience has been challenging, but rewarding.
"Just a sneeze would send them shaking," says Linda Hayes, who adopted two of the dogs. "Any noise would frighten them."
"It took me months to be able to touch DD," says Kitty Kizzair of one of the dogs she adopted. "She still has moments when she runs from me. We just knew we had to be patient."
"I look at them, and I hope they don't remember any of it," says Debbie Parker. "It makes me really sad that they went through it. But if that hadn't happened, we wouldn't have them."
They also wouldn't have each other. The owners have formed a support group through Facebook. They get together once a month for "Yappie Hours" to let the dogs play. They also attend Humane Society events and fundraisers and go on walks together.
"We've become a family," says Goulart. "These dogs are so loving and resilient, it's unbelievable."
The dogs' original owners pleaded guilty to several charges last year. They were sentenced to 18 months probation and are no longer allowed to own pets.