FORT PIERCE, Fla. - "Say, ‘Just give me some time. I'm getting there,'" Rosa Harding said, as she talked to the small poodle mix in her arms. His face was staunchly turned away from her.
If you asked Harding what she thinks about all day, it would be dogs like this one. The All Pet Animal Rescue director is working all hours of the day to make sure their tragic story becomes a fairy tale worth wagging about.
Harding says she knew of an Okeechobee breeder who allegedly abused her dogs. Harding says the animals never left their wire-bottom cages, never felt human touch and never received any medical care.
"Because of no medical care, his whole bottom jaw has deteriorated. The bone, everything is gone. And that was because of not even basic medical. I don't understand that," said Harding, describing one of the dogs.
She calls the establishment a puppy mill. Two and a half years ago, Harding tried to get the breeder to surrender the dogs, but it didn't work. So, after much negotiating, Harding recently threatened to get law enforcement involved.
"I called her up and I said, Okay, here's the deal. I'm tired of messing around with you. Either you want to release the dogs, or you don't. If you don't, then I'm going to do everything I can to get the law in here to close you down."
After that conversation, the breeder brought the dogs to Harding's Fort Pierce facility. There were more than 75 over two trips. Harding says they were emaciated and diseased.
In their eyes, she says she saw, "Pain. Suffering. But they're going to be OK now."
The dogs have been with Harding for at least two weeks. Several are almost ready for adoption .
The worst off will take a couple of months to heal before they can move to a forever home.
Harding says each dog will cost $200 to $250 to treat. That's money her non-profit doesn't have. She's asking for donations .