01/24/2012 08:57 EST | Updated 03/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Scores of dogs rescued near Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Humane Society has rescued 71 dogs from a garage outside Winnipeg on Tuesday evening, in what officials say was the largest dog seizure in four years.

Humane society staff and RCMP spent several hours rescuing the bulldogs and Lhasa Apso dogs from a garage in St. Andrews, located north of the city, and transporting them to the society's headquarters.

"They've got stains on their feet, their fur is matted, et cetera, which is an indication of unsanitary conditions," Bill McDonald, the humane society's chief executive officer, told CBC News.

Once the dogs arrived, more than 30 society volunteers tagged and identified the animals before veterinarians began examining each of them for disease, malnutrition, and other signs of poor health.

McDonald did not have further information on Tuesday about how the dogs came to be in the garage.

The largest dog seizure in Manitoba's history was in 2000, when 120 puppies and adult dogs were rescued from a puppy mill in Steinbach.

Nevertheless, McDonald said, Tuesday's seizure is the largest he has seen in recent years.

"These kinds of operations [produce] good for the animals. I have to think like that; otherwise, I'd cry everyday when I got up and came to work," he said.