CLAIR MEL — More than 60 toy dogs were taken from a Clair Mel breeding operation Monday night, according to Hillsborough County Animal Services.
At about 8 p.m., Hillsborough Sheriff's deputies went to 1219 S 66th St in response to a report of possible stolen property there, said animal services spokeswoman Marti Ryan.
Residents allowed deputies to search the area, where they found the small breeds, including Yorkshire terriers, poodles and Chihuahuas, living in poor conditions and called animal services.
Ryan said the dogs' owner Timothy Otto, 40, faces multiple animal cruelty charges.
The dogs, many which were pregnant and nursing, were taken to Hillsborough County Animal Services, The Humane Society of Tampa Bay, Poodle and Pooch Rescue, and CARES Animal Rescue.
Some dogs already have given birth to more puppies, Ryan said.
About a dozen dogs will be available for adoption beginning Tuesday, when the county animal shelter reopens after Christmas, Ryan said. All will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and cleared by veterinary staff.
Dogs will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis to those who bring a valid photo ID, proof of address and approved application.
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