St. Bernard puppies rescued from river now ready for adoption

UXBRIDGE, MA (KXAN) - Rambunctious St. Bernard puppies play with each other in a warm home in Uxbridge, Mass. Soon they'll find new, permanent places to play, after a story that could have ended very differently.

A kayaker passing by in the Blackstone River came at the right time to see a bag in the water. Inside were a dozen St. Bernard puppies and their mother. They were all rescued and turned over to animal control earlier this month. The puppies' father, Buddy, was found wandering in the forest, according to Animal Control Officer Kevin Sullivan.

"Someone driving past stopped and said 'hey, this looks like so-and-so's dog,' so they pulled out their cell phone and they called him," Sullivan said. The owners allegedly initially said Buddy was one of eight dogs they rehomed after being evicted - later admitting they dumped him in the woods. One of the owners, Steven Banville, was charged with animal cruelty and misleading a police investigation.

"This family was in over their head, they made a stupid decision with the male - the dad dog, Buddy - but since then they've worked with us, with the pups," Sullivan said. Now 6-week-old, those puppies are ready for adoption, thanks to help from Pawfect Life Rescue of Uxbridge. Julie Uthoff, who works with the group, says it received hundreds of adoption applications and offers to sponsor each puppy to help take care of vet bills.

"It's been wonderful, people are very supportive, and they want to help with them so that's all we can ask for," Uthoff said. "We can't do anything without the support of the community."

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