ST. LOUIS – Ten critically ill Basset Hound puppies were rescued Friday by the Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Cruelty Task Force.

The rescue of the puppies was requested by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Inspectors and veterinarians observed the conditions of the puppies at the licensed breeding facility in Douglas County, and asked they be removed.

A spokesperson for the Humane Society of Missouri says three of the puppies' littermates died before the rescue.

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The 10-week-old pups are emaciated, have pneumonia, internal and external parasites, and infections in their ears and eyes. Three of the puppies are undergoing intensive treatment and fighting for their lives.

"This situation clearly shows why Missouri's animal cruelty and dog breeding regulations are so important. An inspection of a licensed dog breeding facility found diseased and emaciated puppies," said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. "Thankfully, the Humane Society of Missouri is able to provide the professional rescue and veterinary services to give these poor puppies the best possible chance for the great lives they deserve."

Each animal's medical report will be used to determine if charges are filed.

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