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News Specialist Sam Penrod reporting
Giving pets as gifts is popular during the holidays, but animal advocates say this is the time of year when puppy mills thrive.
"Puppy mill" is a label given to dog breeding operations where animals are raised in poor conditions.
This is a story about such a puppy mill. And we caution you that pictures in this story may be disturbing.
Authorities in Juab County are investigating allegations of animal cruelty at a residence that has sold dogs in the past.
And home video given to Eyewitness News shows disturbing evidence of what the Humane Society calls a "puppy mill."
This home video was provided to Eyewitness News by a woman who was concerned with the condition these dogs are being kept in.
She videotaped the area and also sent a copy to the Humane Society of Utah.
"We think the conditions are deplorable. There is no excuse for this. The animals obviously need veterinarian care, and we're kind of surprised the law enforcement down there hasn't moved faster to stop this," says Gene Baierschmidt with the Humane Society.
The video shows several dogs housed on the property. Some food dishes are empty. One dog is clearly injured and sick.
There are decaying carcasses of at least four dogs left in the same area with living dogs.
The body of one dog was found in a garbage can.
"These animals should be taken away from these people because it's definitely cruelty to animals under the Utah State Code," Baierschmidt says.
When contacted today by Eyewitness News, the owners of this property disputed accusations brought by the Humane Society of mistreating their animals.
The family claims it is only taking care of these animals and not trying to sell them.
But animal advocates say people can prevent situations like this by only doing business with reputable breeders, or better yet, adopting animals from shelters.
"We encourage people first to go to shelters along the Wasatch Front. There are literally hundreds of great purebred dogs up for adoption along with mixed breeds," Baierschmidt says.
The Juab County Sheriff's office says it is continuing its investigation of this family. So far, no charges have been filed.