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CHANTILLY, Va. (WUSA) --Twenty-two small poodles and poodle-mixes, including puppies, were left at an animal shelter in Cumberland, Md. on Wednesday morning. The dogs, dirty with matted coats, were left at the shelter's doorstep with a note saying that their owner has dementia and can no longer care for them.

PHOTOS: Poodles Dumped At Animal Shelter

The small shelter has minimal space and cannot adequately accommodate that many animals at once. The dogs and puppies, some as young as 2 1/2 weeks old, would have to be placed together in a single pen. The animal shelter kept two of the dogs and the rest have gone to foster homes in Chantilly and Fairfax.

Debbie Marson, a volunteer with Virginia rescue group A Forever Home, said the young pups wouldn't survive in that situation. Her group was contacted about the poodles' plight, and picked up the dogs on Wednesday night. They were driven to Chantilly where they are being taken in by volunteers, who will foster them until they are adopted.

Marson said that her group has committed to taking all of the dogs, getting them groomed and handling any medical problems or issues the poodles may have. Once the dogs have been evaluated and are ready for new homes, they'll be adopted through the A Forever Home's website AForeverHome.org,

One of the dogs is being treated at Chantilly Animal Hospital for the deadly and contagious Parvovirus. The three-year-old Malti-poo is on I-V.

Dr. Martin Tohill has been looking after the dog. "He wason his sidebarely breathing," he said. "Hiskidneys weren't working. He was in very grave dying condition. He was trying to die on us."

Volunteer Debbie Marsonsays, "This is a classic case of abackyard breeder. Theyhave no vaccines which means they are highly susceptible."

Photos of the dogs, adoption applications and other information will be available on the site. The dogs include two adult males, nursing mothers and pups ranging in age from 2 1/2 weeks to 6-8 weeks.

A middle-aged Lhasa Apso named Abner, who wobbles when he walks, was dumped along with the poodles, and a vet indicates that he likely has an old back injury that causes his slightly offbeat gait.

TheAllegany County Animal Shelter would like to get in contact with the person who dropped off the animals. They want to knowmore background on the dogs and find out if the letteris legitimate.

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