If ever there was a heartbreaking and heartwarming story, this is it.
According to published reports, police rescued more than 100 puppies — described as “varying breed types (including many toy and smaller breeds)” — after the truck carrying them crashed in upstate New York.
“The driver, Emily Woodrum of Missouri, was delivering 103 puppies of varying breeds to local pet stores on Tuesday when she lost control of the truck and crashed in the town of Avoca, New York,” NBC News reports.
The speeding vehicle — reportedly bound for “local pet stores” — ended up in a ditch, where it overturned. Luckily, only five puppies were hurt. Of those, only two were hurt badly enough to require extensive treatment.
That’s the good news. Now here’s the sad part.
The Finger Lakes SPCA, which responded to the scene and cared for more than 80 puppies after the Jan. 24 wreck, suspects that they came from a puppy mill. With no proof, however, the animals’ fate is uncertain.
“No health issues that would indicate an animal cruelty concern could be ascertained by veterinary medical professionals who examined the puppies. We are not aware of any other specific laws that would have allowed the transfer of ownership of these puppies to our agency nor were we directed by law enforcement to retain the animals,” the organization said in an update posted on its website.
“While we too abhor puppy mills, we know of no means to legally confiscate animals only because there is a strong likelihood that a puppy came from one.”
With no other recourse, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it returned all but four of the puppies to the transportation company the next day. The company did cover costs stemming from the puppies’ medical care and shelter, the organization said.
As of last Wednesday, the Finger Lakes SPCA said it was pursuing a “formal release of ownership for these animals.”