EDWARDS — Four dogs found a new home in Foster Pet Outreach last week when a Macomb area breeder died, leaving many former breeding dogs homeless, according to a press release.

"When West Hancock Canine Rescue announced the release, we signed up to take animals that were being redistributed from the breeder,” said Laurie Bushell, executive director of Foster Pet Outreach, a nonprofit animal shelter and foster facility in Edwards.

Westie Rescue of Missouri and Cairn Rescue USA also took animals and according to the Westie Rescue Facebook page, 54 dogs were recovered from the breeder and have been placed.

“Sadly, this situation is typical of a ‘puppy mill’ situation," Bushell said. "It appears that these dogs were kept in outdoor crates their whole lives – ungroomed, matted, dirty – and made to repeatedly breed. It does not appear that they were given adequate food or veterinary care.”

Foster Pet Outreach took in four Norwich terriers: 5-year-old Boomer, 1-year-old Conrad, 4-year-old Jake and 10-year-old Norrie.

"They're really sweet dogs, but they were in terrible condition," said Lisa Baize, intake coordinator for Foster Pet Outreach.

In addition to being found un-groomed, the dogs need dental cleanings, tooth extractions and spay and neuter surgeries, Baize said. But all four will eventually be available for adoption once they are settled, vetted and healthy.

“We urge our community not to buy dogs from stores or farms without viewing the parent animals’ living conditions,” Bushell said. “When people stop buying dogs, puppy mills will close down and these tragic rescues will no longer be needed.”