SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Just a few days ago, we told you about an illegal, backyard breeder issue in western Mass.

Well, it appears to be happening again.

A Springfield animal shelter is looking for the public's help tonight to find a litter of puppies, they say was clearly taken from their mom too soon.

Animal control officers found a stray, female dog engorged with milk.

We're told it looks to be another case of backyard breeders. Officials say it could not only be a death sentence for the pups, but it's illegal.

Springfield Animal Control officers say they found Jambalaya. Thursday night roaming around Maple and Union Streets.

"We think that she gave birth to other pups recently," Hannah Orenstein of the TJ O'Connor Animal Control Hospital and Adoption Center tells us. "She's very, very engorged right now, and we'd really like to reunite her with her puppies."

Hannah Orenstein at the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center in Springfield says unfortunately, they're seeing cases like this far too often, dogs kept for breeding purposes only, and then abandoned, their puppies sold too soon.

"It's a quick buck," continued Orenstein. "People can breed their dogs and sell them very quickly. It's illegal to sell puppies under eight weeks of age in Massachusetts, but, unfortunately, it happens frequently. It's harmful for the puppies. They're exposed to all sorts of diseases without their mother's milk. As they get older, they can have behavioral issues, because they aren't appropriately socialized with other dogs. That's if they make it to adulthood. A lot of times, underage puppies that aren't weaned from the mom, they just don't survive."

Orenstein tells Western Mass News all signs indicate she is not a street dog.

"We don't think that," stated Orenstein. "There's a litter of puppies out in the woods somewhere. She has all the tell tale signs of a dog that's been created or kept in a basement. She's smelly, she's dirty, her nails are overgrown and really filthy, [and] she's wearing a collar."

The blue collar is the only thing on her when she was found, no chip, and no one calling looking for a lost dog, but she is looking for her pups.

"As you can see," said Orenstein. "She's searching for her puppies. It's a constant struggle for her trying to find them."

Despite what she's likely gone through, Orenstein says she's sweet and social.

Anyone who recognizes the pictured dog or who has any information is asked to call the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control Hospital and Adoption Center immediately.

The Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control Hospital and Adoption Center is hoping to create an awareness for those looking to purchase a puppy.

If anyone sees puppies for sale that look too young or a neighbor that just got a puppy that seems too tiny, you are asked to please give the shelter or police a call.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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