A total of 69 dogs have been rescued by the Australian RSPCA from a puppy mill in rural Victoria thanks to an anonymous tip-off.

“We believe that there is a number of underground breeding establishments and they’re moving between properties,” said inspectorate manager at RSPCA Victoria Allie Jalbert.

Inspectors found Spaniels, Poodles, Pugs, Beagles, Kelpies, Chow and some mixes; 21 of the rescued animals were week-old puppies.

The animals, as in all puppy mills, were found confined in cages where they are forced to live in 24 hours a day every day, alone and scared, with matted dirty hair and often infections and diseases due to filthiness and neglect.

“They will breed whatever there is demand for,” Jalbert said. “For a while it was smaller mixed breeds, but now we’re seeing larger dogs too.”

The dogs will remain under the RSPCA’s care until surrendered by the owner or can be legally seized after the case closes.

The puppy mill operators could be banned from owning pets again and are also facing jail time and a fine of up to $75,000.

Image by Sergei Norin

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