Police rescue 103 puppies from overturned box van

Courtesy: Finger Lakes SPCA

AVOCA, N.Y. (AP/NBC News) — An animal welfare group is caring for the scores of puppies that were being transported in a box van when it crashed and overturned on an upstate New York highway.

State police say the vehicle crashed Tuesday on Interstate 86 in the Steuben County town of Avoca, 50 miles south of Rochester.

Troopers say a Missouri woman was driving the van carrying more than 100 puppies when she lost control of the vehicle, causing it to hit a ditch and overturn.

Troopers and employees of a towing company helped rescue the puppies, which were being delivered to pet stores. Five of the puppies sustained minor injuries.

The local SPCA’s website says it’s caring for “a large number of puppies” from the accident. The puppies are expected to be returned to their out-of-state owner.

“[The puppies] were then handed to the on-site L.V.T., Andrea Williams, for triage,” shelter officials stated. “There were no fatalities, but two puppies had serious injuries (one had a fractured jaw and one had a fractured leg).”

The SPCA said that they believe the puppies likely came from a “puppy mill”— an operation that breeds dogs for sale under inhumane conditions— but noted that veterinarians found no signs of animal cruelty during medical examinations.

“While we too abhor puppy mills, we know of no means to legally confiscate animals only because there is a strong likelihood that a puppy came from one,” the group said in a post. “A formal release of ownership for these animals is being pursued.”

Police did not immediately respond to questions regarding the driver of the truck.

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