GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Open sores, bad teeth and flea-bitten skin.

That's what Central Nebraska Humane Society employees found on 10 dalmatians rescued from former breeders in northeast Nebraska on Thursday.

The breeders had closed their business, and ill health had left them unable to care for the animals, said Laurie Dethloff, executive director of the Humane Society.

The dog owners' daughter contacted Nebraska No Kill, a nonprofit agency in Lincoln, about taking the dogs. Because the agency doesn't have a facility, the Humane Society was contacted about taking the animals to get them the medical attention they need, she said.

However, before the Humane Society was called, four dogs died. Of the remaining 10 adults, eight are female and two are male. One is 4 years old while the others are between 8 and 10 years old, she said.

When they got to the shelter on Thursday afternoon, the dogs were examined by veterinarian Mark Hughes and his vet technician. The dogs were treated for severe flea infestations and, as of Friday, were eating well and relaxing. The flea bites had caused the animals to scratch and bite their skin raw, causing open sores on some of the animals, Dethloff said.

They will need to have their teeth cleaned or extracted in the coming days, she said.

“Their teeth are horrible, and some need to be pulled so it's comfortable for them to eat,” she said.

Their medical issues will be monitored, and the animals need to be kept in a quiet place for the next week so they can get accustomed to their new surroundings, she said. When they were picked up Thursday, at least one of the animals was so weak it had to be carried to the truck. The dogs had been in pens outside in the heat. By Friday morning, the dogs were all able to walk on their own and be taken outside for bathroom breaks, she said.

“They are resting and acclimating,” Dethloff said. “They are eating better.”

Taking in a large number of dogs that are in distress due to a breeding operation is particularly difficult, she said.

“It's frustrating to see this because these breeders made money off these animals and then failed to take care of them,” Dethloff said.

She encouraged people who are looking to purchase a pet to look at shelters or at registered breeders. Commercial breeders are often just in the business to make money, she said.

Getting the dogs well enough to be adopted is a long process, Dethloff said.

“This is what we do,” she said. “It is a financial burden, and it's hard to ask for money, but it's our mission to help these animals. We're confident the community will support this facility as we serve our purpose.”

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