By Rachel Leigh| February 7, 2012 at 7:03 PM EST - Updated June 26 at 11:15 AM
WELLINGTON, FL (WFLX) - Nearly two dozen dogs are now safe after being rescued from a shelter in South Carolina.
The dogs were facing death after the shelter was being forced to shut down.
Thanks to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, they are now being treated medically and prepared for adoption.
Meg Weinberger, the vice-president of the ranch, says more dogs need to be saved these days because owners can no longer afford to keep them. "With the economy, it's very sad how many people lose their homes and need to re-home their animals," said Weinberger.
The president of the ranch, Lauree Simmons, says pet owners are also failing to get their animals spayed and neutered.
"Many owners don't want to deal with puppies, so they dump them at shelters," said Simmons. "We don't want to see them euthanized so we rescue them before it's too late."
The dogs that made it to the Big Dog Ranch Rescue on Monday were lucky. All 23 would have been euthanized if it had not been for Simmons, her team and pilot Art Dreyer, who made the long trip from the Carolinas to South Florida under tough conditions.
"The weather was really bad almost all the way here," recalled Dreyer.
Dreyer not only braved the weather, but also the odor. "Let me tell you what, you can't open a window, so when nature calls, it calls," said Dreyer.
The dogs were loaded into a van and taken to the ranch to be checked out by a vet and bathed. "They were filthy, dirty, covered in fleas, so we have to bathe them and get them these shots," said Simmons.
Many of them have kennel cough so they will be quarantined for 21 days, then prepared for adoption.
The dogs will be ready for adoption in the next two months.
The president of the Big Dog Ranch Rescue says it costs $90,000 a month to run the ranch, so donations are a must (Click to Donate).