TROY (WWJ/AP) – Officials say they’re trying to figure out who is abandoning small dogs in poor condition outside a metro Detroit pet store.

It started in April and since then, at least a dozen dogs have been left next to a trash bin outside the PetSmart store on Big Beaver near Rochester Road in Troy. The store doesn’t sell dogs.

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Officials say that on Monday, one dog was found at 6 a.m., two at 9 a.m., two more at 9:30 p.m., and another at midnight by a store employee who returned from home to check the area. Two others were dumped in April and one in May.

PetSmart manager Nikki Taylor says the canines, ranging in age from about 2- to 6-years-old, are underweight and in terrible condition.

“They’re matted, like, their hair is so matted it looks like its corded like dreadlocks,” Taylor told WWJ’s Zahra Huber. “They’re very foul-smelling; they’re soaked in urine; they’re dirty; they’re shy; they’re not socialized. It’s very said.”

Theresa Cetnarowski, a volunteer with the Madison Heights-based Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan, picked up the dogs.

Each weighing about 10 to 15 pounds, the dogs are likely all from the same Maltese-poodle breeding line, according to Cetnarowski.

She said they show  no evidence of having had veterinary care.

This little guy's fur was covered with feces. After a bath, his fur had to be shaved off. (Credit: Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan/Facebook)

This little guy’s fur was covered with feces. After a bath, his fur had to be shaved off. (Credit: Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan/Facebook)

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“The person abandoning these dogs needs to get caught. We have no idea how many more there are out there that have run off, or worse,” she said.

Taylor said they can help arrange for rescue organizations take unwanted pets, but she wants the public to know PetSmart is not a dumping ground.

“We just want them to call us; we’ll help find homes for them — that’s what the groups are for,” Taylor said.  “Please don’t dump them, because they could get hit by a car. We’re right on the corner of 16 and Rochester. It’s scary out here; it’s loud. Just call us.”

Troy police have been contacted about the matter, but reportedly said they need eyewitness who can report seeing the dogs being dumped. If the culprit is caught, they could face several years in jail if convicted on animal cruelty charges.

In the meantime, workers at the Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan will be trying to rehabilitate the dogs and get them healthy enough for adoption.

“Right now, they’re very scared. They’re all huddled together. They don’t know they’ve been saved,” Ashley LaPorte, an animal care specialist at the rescue group, told the Detroit Free Press.

For ways on how you can help the animal society and the dogs, visit

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Store manager  Nikki Taylor said she a