SALEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Dogs surrendered from a home in Salem are now recovering at an Argyle adoption center. They’ve been nicknamed “The Salem 16,” including a nursing mom and her seven small puppies, a pregnant female and six other older puppies.

Volunteers are calling it the biggest local hoarding case they’ve ever seen.

“This would probably be in the top 10,” said Shannon Celeste, a dog control officer for the nearby town of Fort Ann. 

Three other dogs were found dead inside the Salem home. Rescuers say an estranged family member called for help after witnessing years of neglect. 

“He really thought he was going to just make money selling dogs, and it didn’t go the way it was supposed to go and the cycle just went on and on, and it got out of hand,” said Celeste.

The rescue pups are being quarantined while they’re treated for giardia. 

“We were the only ones able to offer a facility that we could safely quarantine these dogs,” said Emily DiSienna, a volunteer for Lucky Puppy Rescue, who helped organize the rescue.

DiSienna says there are between five and seven more dogs still inside the Salem home that they would like to remove, but at this point, the town needs to get involved.

“Under Ag and Market law, any unlicensed dog can be seized,” said Celeste. 

The dogs could be legally taken by a police officer or dog control for the town of Salem, so why hasn’t that happened? Celeste says she doesn’t know because it’s not her jurisdiction.

NEWS10 reached out to Salem Town Supervisor Sue Clary to find out. She said the conversation has been started and will continue. In a statement to NEWS10, she said: “The bigger picture is the dogs are being taken care of. Animal Control came to us with the problem but things in government can sometimes take time. Lucky Puppy acted swiftly, and we are very grateful to them for that.”

The best way to help the Salem 16 is through fostering, adoption and donations. Lucky Puppy will be funding all the dogs’ vet care, which adds up quickly. If you’d like to help, visit the Lucky Puppy Rescue website.