NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  Almost three months after they were rescued from a van crash in early January near Vaughn, The East Mountain Companion Animal Project, who rescued around 100 chihuahuas, says it’s been quite the battle getting dozens of the puppies rehabilitated. Now over 50 of the pups have found their forever homes.

“There was no grooming, there was a lot of dental work that needed to be done, there were a couple of animals that had broken bones from the accident, there were nutritional issues,” said East Mountain Companion Animal Project, CFO Keenan Foster. Foster says one of the biggest challenges was getting the chihuahuas comfortable around people. “A lot of these animals, you could tell because of the situation they were in, they were never socialized, they hadn’t been around people, they were food aggressive.”

The exact number of how many chihuahuas were inside the van is still uncertain, but Foster says that number could be close to 100, including the dogs that died. “We originally took in a little over 40 and then, with the birth of the babies, afterward we ended up with just right around 60,” Foster added.

The CFO for the animal rescue says they began adopting the pups out in January, but after an adoption event, on Sunday, Mar. 19, over 50 of the chihuahuas that were rescued had found a match. “We had a good turnout and the community did really well with adopting the older puppies as well as adopting the newborns. At the event yesterday we adopted out 33 of the 35 that were remaining,” said Foster.

Foster says the few chihuahuas remaining still need more time to recover. “They seem like they’ve been really traumatized from the accident so we still have our fosters and our behaviorist working with them,” said Foster. Despite the hurdles, Foster says the experience has been well worth it. “If this guy hadn’t gotten into this car accident, then we probably never would have known about it and we probably wouldn’t have been able to help these animals.”

KRQE News 13 reached out to state police for further details about the Texas driver, Missael Rodelo, who was transporting the dogs. The station asked what he was doing with the dogs, but did not hear back. Rodelo was cited for failing to have insurance and failing to maintain a traffic lane.