Authorities say the woman was driving with her two children near Hooper Avenue in Toms River when she saw two puppies and what appeared to be their mother walking close to the road. She stopped her car and grabbed the two puppies but the mother ran off into some nearby woods.
Animal control officers took the two puppies while police went to look for the mother. As they were searching the woods, they found a makeshift den dug into the dirt under some pine tree branches about 50 feet from the sidewalk. Inside the den were seven puppies, but their mother was gone.
Officers rescued the pups and continued searching for their mother. When they couldn't find her, they set up a trapping device near the den. Five hours later the mother entered the trap and she too was rescued.
Police say the canine family was reunited and the pups and mother are in generally good health. They're being held at an animal shelter while authorities search for the owner.
Jim Bowen, facility director of the Oak Avenue shelter and the person who coordinated the pups' rescue, said the dogs will be up for adoption if no one claims them within about three weeks. He said the puppies are of mixed breed and about 5 weeks old. Their mother appears to be a Jack Russell Terrier.