CHICAGO — The Chicago shelter One Tail at a Time helped rescue several golden retrievers and a few wheaten terriers from “living in their own filth” at an Iowa puppy mill.

On Friday, the organization received a tip from one of their partners in Wisconsin that an “infamous” puppy mill in Iowa recently was shut down and its dogs needed help.

Without hesitation, One Tail at a Time sprang into action by calling their network of fosters to meet the 17 golden retrievers and three wheaten terriers in Racine, Wisconsin.

“When people see a cute golden retriever puppy, they don’t always think about where that puppy came from,” said Executive Director Heather Owen. “But the reality for these breeding females is confinement, churning out litters, living in their own filth, and not knowing a life of love. They are treated as commodities instead of living beings.”

The dogs had their tails amputated at the puppy mill and face ear infections and pressure sores.

“The worst (ear infections) we have ever ever seen, most have amputated tails,” marketing manager Kim Thomas said. “The reasons are they are likely not being taken outside and going to the bathroom on themselves, leading to infection. (The mill) likely amputated it themselves to prevent the infections — there’s no reason why a golden shouldn’t have its tail.”

Going off of their teeth, Thomas said the dogs are likely between two and five with most around the age of three. All of the rescued dogs are female and some are believed to be pregnant.

In a quick turn of events, all of the dogs are currently with loving fosters and will be available for adoption soon.

“The ideal home is someone that is patient and understanding, having them coming out of their shells with another social resident dog would be nice,” Thomas said.

Thomas said as we move more into the 2020s, the ability to get dogs off the internet, much like groceries or Amazon orders, has a direct effect.

“If people are buying dogs off the internet, (puppy mills) are likely where they come from,” Thomas said. “Pulling the trigger so quickly off the internet, we are seeing it more and more often.”

So far Lizzy, Sundae and Sunshine have been chosen as names for three of the dogs by various fosters, Thomas said.

To apply to adopt click here. All other animals are available here. One Tail at a Time’s adoption center is located at 2144 N. Wood St