FORT WORTH -- Forty-one little furry heads peered inquisitively through the bars of cages filling two rooms at the Humane Society shelter Friday afternoon.The big saucerlike eyes, typical of the Cavalier King Charles spaniels, could be deceptive. Some have eye infections, a common problem with the breed, said Shelly Meeks of the Humane Society of North Texas.Some of the dogs are blind in one eye.And none is a puppy. They range in age from about 2 to 8 years old. There are four males. The rest are unspayed females.The dogs were all found on or near a rural road north of Sanger in Denton County this week, their coats matted and coated with urine and feces, which indicates they were cooped up in close quarters.Because of the dogs' ages, the preponderance of females and the similarity of their conditions, Humane Society workers suspect the dogs were discarded from a "puppy mill," Meeks said."Can I say that 100 percent? No," she said. "But all the indications are there."Two days earlier, 51 Maltese dogs in similar condition were found on a roadside outside of Flower Mound. Those dogs were taken to the Flower Mound Animal Adoption Center, 3950 Justin Road.Beginning Monday, some of them will be placed with rescue groups. The rest of the Maltese that are healthy enough to be adopted will available after Wednesday, said Molly Fox, spokeswoman for the city of Flower Mound.Both groups have raised $500 each for rewards leading to the arrest of whoever discarded the dogs.A new state law that cracks down on breeders went into effect Sept. 1. Meeks and Stacy Smith of the Flower Mound Humane Society speculated that the dogs were dumped because breeders determined they might get in trouble if they got closer scrutiny from state regulators in accordance with the new law."The condition of these dogs and the callous manner in which they were dumped shows the inherent cruelty in this industry," Smith said. "Dumping those dogs on the side of the road was the kindest thing that [the] breeder ever did for them. How sad is that?"Meeks said she hopes other breeders "don't follow suit.""We hope they'll realize there are other options," she added. "If they ask for help, we'll help them."Meeks said she has no doubt that every one of the spaniels will be adopted.She has gotten calls from across the country from people who want to adopt a spaniel with big sweet eyes.Bill Miller, 817-390-7684
The Humane Society of North Texas, 1840 E. Lancaster Ave., will be open for an adoption event at noon Sunday for the rescued Cavalier King Charles spaniels. Information: 817-332-4768.
For information about the Maltese dogs in Flower Mound, call 972-874-6390.