Neglected and starved puppies have inundated the Waikato SPCA, which says it is desperate to find them homes.
Animal inspectors from the region have saved more than 70 puppies and dogs in the last month from three different properties. And last Wednesday a litter of five pointer-cross puppies were found abandoned in a sack near a restaurant in Raglan.
Jess Woodcock of the Waikato SPCA said the influx of puppies and dogs had put huge pressure on the animal clinic and it was struggling to keep up. She said the association was using all its foster families to look after animals fixed-term and that they had run out of room for the dogs at the facility.
"We had staff taking dogs home at night and dogs in crates. It was hugely hard financially as well, because we had to vaccinate and de-sex the dogs. We also had to feed more than three times the amount of dogs as normal, so we went through our food supplies extremely quickly."
In the past month the SPCA had taken in 15 pekinese dogs from a property out of Hamilton. The dogs were in such bad condition that they had to have all their teeth removed. One had to be put down because it was blind and was covered in cancer growths.
Inspectors also rescued 25 skinny and sick maltese puppies from another property and 30 more dogs from another house in the Waikato region.
Miss Woodcock said most of the major uplifts of neglected dogs were from backyard breeders who let their animals breed with each other until it got out of control.
"Mostly we only discovered them because people were noticing the smell coming from the properties because they didn't clean up after them."
She said the SPCA urgently needed people to adopt or foster mature dogs because puppies were normally people's first choice. "It's also crucial that people de-sex their dogs so they don't have puppies ... it's the people who can't afford the puppies who neglect them and abandon them."
The puppies and dogs would not be put down if they could not find them a home, she said. "We keep them on site until we find someone to adopt them. Or sometimes we swap them around other SPCAs to try find them homes that way. But it's not uncommon for us to hold on to puppies for a while."