A Winnipeg animal charity has brought 22 dogs rescued from a U.S. puppy mill into the province and is now trying to raise thousands for their veterinary bills.

Three Winnipeggers who work for Free and Alive Dog Rescue drove to Arkansas last weekend after hearing a puppy mill had been raided and the dogs seized were to be auctioned off.

Seized dogs

Free and Alive Dog Rescue workers hold up two animals adopted from a U.S. auction. The dogs were seized from an Arkansas puppy mill. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

Shannon Brown said any animals that weren’t purchased would be euthanized, so the group tried to bid on as many of the 200 dogs as possible.

After successfully bidding on 22, the trio packed them into an RV for medical treatment in Manitoba.

Many of the dogs had significant health issues.

One of the dogs, which FAAR named Maggie, may lose both her eyes. Another named Shaggy has sores all over his body, and another, named Arkansas, needed to have all his teeth pulled.

“He has very, very advanced dental disease,” said veterinarian Val Dirdala. Dirdala said the animals were not being well cared for, as their conditions were preventable.

Rescue dog

Free and Alive Dog Rescue purchased this dog and 21 others from a U.S. auction after about 200 were seized from an Arkansas puppy mill. The dogs will be given vet treatment and eventually adopted out in Manitoba. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

Brown believes the animals were only being used to breed and many had never had any human contact.

“[One of the dogs] was just held up, and he was fighting the person holding him at the auction,” she said.

The group believes the vet bills will be between $10,000 and $20,000.

The group is now trying to raise money to cover the costs. They’re also looking for foster homes until the dogs are ready for adoption.

“They just need to learn not every hand from a person will hurt them,” said Brown.