Rita Cavenaugh has been working at Maumelle’s Animal Services for 20 years and has seen some things she’d like to unsee but she’s rarely surprised.

Last week, she was surprised when the call came in that a group of puppies had been found at Lake Willastein.

Officer Chris Davis responded that Tuesday, June 25 night and at the first, the call was for 15 puppies. Then the number climbed to 16, then 17 by the time he made it to the dog pen at the Maumelle Police Department, he said.

Seventeen puppies are what Davis found and Cavenaugh estimated the ages ran from eight to 10 weeks.

Most, 12, looked to be from the same litter, she said.

"They look like a mixed breed, working dog, she said. "Like a blue heeler, none of them have any pit [bull] in them."

One of the puppies, the possible blue heeler mix, didn’t survive the night, and as of last Friday, 16 were had been split up between four pens at the Animal Services building on Hyman Drive.

"What’s unusual is that, besides the large number, is the ages," she said. "These aren’t little puppies, but they were starving. The one good thing [the dumper] did was put them by a body of water, so at least they could get something to drink."

Davis said the call went out about 10:30 p.m. on June 25. Dispatch told him that two teen-aged girls had found the puppies at Lake Willastein.

Davis wasn’t sure exactly where at the lake but thought it was near the bunkers and not exactly a high-traffic area.

Cavenaugh suspected the people who dumped the dogs are most likely familiar with the area and the care that Animal Services provide.

"We have an 85 percent adoption rate here," she said. "Other shelters, they have an 80 percent euthanasia rate."

Cavenaugh said the puppies have gotten their first round of shots and were wormed on Friday, much to their displeasure.

She said another round of shots, and assuming they stay healthy, they’d be pediatric spayed and neutered before being available for adoption in two weeks.

The puppies, when available, would be available at 425 Hyman Drive in Maumelle and the shelter can be reached at 851-6219.

Cavenaugh also said that Maumelle Friends of the Animals also takes pets available for adoption to the Pet Smart in North Little Rock every Saturday.

She said it was most likely the puppies would also make the short trip to North Little Rock.