MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - "These animals are suffering, and you must not have a heart," said Robin Rook with Joseph's Legacy.
"We're seeing cancer. Their skin has not been taken care of. They have horrific ear infections. They've had no vetting whatsoever," said Rook.
Rescuers said they believe the neglected animals could all be connected to puppy mills that are functioning in the Tri-State area.
"We believe something is going on. We have the dog wardens involved," said Rook. "They're aware, and we're just trying to track it down."
Puppy mills are known as places where animals are crammed in cages with little food and water and are forced to reproduce repeatedly until they physically can't anymore. Their puppies are then sold for profit.
"They're just using these dogs as money-makers," said Rook.
It's possible, per rescuers, the dogs could be coming from one main location or from multiple locations.
"Your next door neighbor could be doing it," said Ruby. "They do it like in their garages or their basement, so a lot of people don't know."
The best way to stop this, according to rescuers, is to put potential puppy mills out of business. The next time you look for a pet, they encourage you to adopt from a rescue and not shop for your pet, but if you must go to a breeder, they suggest you do your research and investigate who you are buying from first.
Rescuers said there are things to look for when it comes to puppy mills: endless barking with no visible dogs, a strong smell of urine or feces, or people consistently coming in and out with animals.
Rescuers are asking anyone who notices anything suspicious to call officials so they can try to shut down any potential puppy mills.
Joseph's Legacy rescuers are accepting donations to help cover the costs of caring for the recently rescued neglected animals. If you would like to donate, volunteer, foster, or adopt, visit the rescue's website.