55 Chihuahuas are now at rescues across the state of New Mexico after a van carrying the animals collided head on with a tractor trailer. 

The incident happened on Tuesday morning, January 3rd near Santa Rosa, New Mexico. 

According to KRQE News, a van, driven by 40-year-old Missael Rodelo was traveling on Highway 54 when it suddenly veered into oncoming traffic. The van then collided with an oncoming tractor trailer. When police responded to the scene, they found 65 chihuahuas inside of the vehicle, some of them dead as a result of the wreck. 

“[The police] said…so far, we’ve pulled out 35 dogs and there are still a bunch of them in there and some of them were killed during the accident,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Nelson Kotiar. “I believe there were nine dead inside the van. One of the dogs, we had to put him to sleep because he had a broken back, he was suffering really bad,” added Kotiar.

“Some of the dogs had limbs hanging; there was pretty much blood everywhere, but that could have been from one or two dogs,” said Cross My Paws Animal Rescue President Lanie Nash.

“Cases of neglect, the super long nails, them having eye infections or them having dehydration which was huge…all of them were underweight,” said Chelsea Worley, director of the East Mountain Companion Animal project, which rescued 32 of the dogs. Around 12 of the dogs were found to be pregnant. 

Rodelo survived the crash and has since been cited for failing to stay in a traffic lane. It is unclear if he will face any animal cruelty charges, and no one is sure where he was taking the dogs or what he was planning to do with them.

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