LAKE CITY (WWJ/AP) – Officials say they’ve removed more than 150 dogs from two locations owned by an unlicensed breeding facility in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

The animals were removed Thursday from JRT John’s Jack Russell and Shiba Inu Kennel in Missaukee County’s Lake City, about 170 miles northwest of Detroit.

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Officials say many of the dogs, primarily Jack Russell terriers and Shiba Inus, were discovered living in outdoor enclosures with little protection from the elements. In addition, many dogs had no access to clean drinking water. Authorities say such conditions are common at puppy mills — large-scale breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals.

“There were all ages, including puppies. They think there were at least four to five generations of dogs there,” said Michigan Humane Society spokeswoman Nancy Gunnigle.

This photo shows the "deplorable conditions" over 150 dogs were found living in at JRT John’s Jack Russell and Shiba Inu Kennel in Lake City. (Credit: Michigan Humane Society)

This photo shows the “deplorable conditions” over 150 dogs were found living in at JRT John’s Jack Russell and Shiba Inu Kennel in Lake City. (Credit: Michigan Humane Society)

Dogs requiring medical examinations were transported to a nearby temporary shelter, where they are receiving veterinary care. Gunnigle said about 20 of the dogs will be cared for at the humane society’s Rochester Hills Center for Animal Care facility.

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John Jones told the Detroit Free Press he started the breeding business years ago and took good care of the dogs. He described the dogs as his “kids” and called the seizure illegal.

“It’s all bull. I fed my dogs every day,” Jones said of the allegations. “All my dogs went to individual families. I never sold to no pet stores or animal brokers. I was just a large breeder.”

The Michigan Humane Society said the animals’ removal was the result of a civil action prompted by violations of state dog laws.

The Missaukee County Sheriff’s Department, Roscommon County Animal Shelter the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are among those working on the case.

“We felt strongly that something had to be done to protect these animals,” Sherriff Jim Bosscher said in a statement.

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