Several dogs rescued from suspected puppy mill in Belton, police say

Several dogs rescued from suspected puppy mill in Belton, police say
Several dogs rescued from suspected puppy mill in Belton, police say (Source: WYFF/ Grant Garland)

BELTON, S.C. (WIS) - Several dogs were rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Belton on Friday, police said.

Police Chief Robert W. Young said police served a search warrant on the suspected dog breeding operation following a city code violation investigation.

Young said the first complaint was for dogs running at large in the neighborhood.

Officers determined the dogs belong to a home on Sunset Drive, according to Young.

Gary Gunnels told officials he was the resident of the home, Young said. Officers were first going to cite Gunnels for the city code violation but Gunnels did not return to the home to meet with them.

When officers approached the home, they smelled a strong odor of feces and urine. According to Young, police found several dogs left unattended in the backyard for an extended period of time and that a person had locked a group of puppies into a small porch on the back of the house without enough food or water.

Officers were able to get a search warrant and went to the house Friday afternoon. They found two dogs chained to trees in the backyard, six 5-month-old puppies locked in the back porch and four 2-month-old puppies locked in a bathroom inside the house, Young said.

Police said there was no freshwater or food for any of the dogs and all the dogs were dirty.

Several of the puppies had visible signs of an eye infection, Young said.

According to Young, officers found the house completely unfit for people or dogs to live in. The floors were covered in dog feces, urine, food, clothes, and household items.

Young said the dogs were taken and transported to a shelter where they are receiving the proper care they need.

Officers are seeking warrants to arrest Gunnels on suspicion of animal cruelty.

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