47 dogs rescued from backyard breeder, animal hoarding home in rural NC

Dozens of dogs need homes after 47 golden doodles and retrievers were rescued from a backyard breeder southwest of the Triangle.

Freedom Ride Rescue, a Raleigh-based nonprofit, is currently housing 10 of these dogs until they can be adopted into loving homes.

The 37 other rescued dogs have been transferred to shelters across North Carolina and Virginia.

Mollie Doll, co-founder of Freedom Ride Rescue, said many of the dogs were in crates with no human contact, leaving them traumatized, ill and “incredibly unsocialized.”

“The ones in tougher situations are going to take a long time to decompress,” she said, adding it will take months before any of these dogs can be adopted.

“These are not typical dogs,” Doll said.

She and her husband decided to foster the “most difficult case,” a golden doodle that hides in her crate and had to be sedated when being groomed after her rescue.

The dog’s fur was so matted that groomers shaved off five pounds of fur, Doll said.

“I don’t think she has ever been touched by a person,” Doll said.

Groomers shaved five pounds of matted fur off of a single dog rescued from a backyard breeder in rural North Carolina.
Groomers shaved five pounds of matted fur off of a single dog rescued from a backyard breeder in rural North Carolina.

Adoption struggles across the Triangle

Animal shelters have struggled to find homes for animals as people who adopted pets during the pandemic surrender them or can no longer afford to keep them.

In August The News & Observer reported data from shelters across the Triangle, showing that more than 7,000 animals were surrendered in 2021 in Wake County alone, with more than 500 euthanized.

“The numbers are just excruciating,” Doll said. “Shelters all over the state are just to full capacity.”

In December, Wake County Animal Center announced it faced the possibility, for the first time in six years, of having to euthanize animals for space reasons to keep up with the influx of incoming animals.

“We’re losing amazingly great dogs,” Doll said.

How you can help

There are several ways to help save an animal’s life and prevent euthanizations.

First and foremost, Doll said, that spaying and neutering animals is vital to decreasing the number of pets that end up in shelter.

Fostering animals is also a great way to help, Doll said.

Because of their complex medical and social situations, the 10 dogs rescued from the backyard breeder will not be available for fostering to the general public and are being housed with experienced pet caretakers.

However, Doll said, hundreds of foster homes are needed to help other dogs statewide.

Freedom Ride Rescue provides foster homes with crates, pet food, bowls and flea and heartworm preventatives as well as helps schedulea vet visit for spaying, neutering or vaccinations.

Organizers are looking for both long-term and immediate relief foster homes. The application is available through their website.

Doll also urges people to research breeders if they choose not to adopt from a shelter.

Ethical breeders should provide veterinary records and show prospective owners the puppy’s parents and living quarters, she said.