Somehow, a coating of grime makes puppies even more adorable than they would be otherwise. It's like they're fresh off a delightful romp in a mud puddle, or maybe through the White Rock dog park on a particularly dusty day.
But the puppies in the picture above have probably never seen a mud puddle, much less a dog park -- just a filthy cage in a cluttered Royse City home.
The SPCA of Texas rescued the dogs, along with 57 of their brethren and 27 cats (89 animals in all) on Wednesday morning.
The animal welfare group found most of the dogs living in "feces- and urine-filled crates" inside the "feces-filled, urine-soaked residence." Several others roamed the house freely. Outside, one was kept in a pen, another was found shut in a parked car.
The cats were kept in a separate room, which looked like this:
This wasn't the first time the SPCA had been to the home. In 2010, they rescued 45 animals from the property, and they've spent the past year working with the homeowner -- whom the organization does not identify -- to improve conditions inside the home. In December, they convinced the individual to surrender a dozen dogs, but that did nothing to remedy the situation.
When SPCA showed up on Wednesday, the dogs and cats were suffering from "varying health issues, including hair loss, flea infestation, and nose and eye discharge." They were also breathing air that SPCA found to have an ammonia level of 62 parts per million. For reference, the threshold at which prolonged exposure can be harmful to humans is 12 ppm.
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The animals were taken to Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney for treatment. A custody hearing will take place on Monday morning in Greenville, after which the SPCA will make them available for adoption, provided the group wins.
Not that that will necessarily be the end of it. As the SPCA points out in a press release, there's nothing stopping the homeowner from starting an entirely new animal collection.
Here are a few more photos:
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.