More than two dozen dogs are recovering at the Nashville Humane Association after being rescued from a puppy mill in East Tennessee late Tuesday night. 

"They were in deplorable conditions, extremely matted. They need a lot medical help," said Laura Chavarria, executive director for the Nashville Humane Association. "The animals were having to lay in their own feces."

The puppy mill housed more than 100 Yorkies, Chihuahuas and designer-breed small dogs. Other agencies took several of the dogs, leaving 33 for Nashville officials to care for, including two pregnant dogs. 

Doctors provided medical care Wednesday. Groomers gave the dogs their first bath and haircut in likely a year or more. 

"These dogs are matted to the bone and so it's very. very painful. A lot of the behavior issues we're seeing is probably because they're in pain," said Chavarria. 

There is no law in Tennessee regulating puppy mills, meaning there is no way to know how many operate in the state.

"That's scary to know what kind of conditions those animals are kept it. They don't have to be fed, there's just no minimal requirements," said Chavarria.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, estimates there are 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. and because of a lack of state laws across the country, only 3,000 are regulated. 

"As a state, we're better than that. The animals deserve better than that. The citizens deserve better than that and I hope legislation soon changes to support not only our two-legged citizens of Tennessee, but also our four-legged," said Chavarria. 

If you can provide help to the animals by way of providing a temporary home, you are asked to email Erica at The Humane Association is also looking for puppy pads. 

Monetary donations are also appreciated, you can donate here. So far at the time of this writing, over $13,000 has been donated.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Producer

Joey is an award-winning Digital Content Producer on the WSMV Digital Team! A graduate of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, Joey joined WSMV in September 2018. He's happy to be Working 4 You!


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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