LECANTO, Fla. (AP) — Florida rescue groups are helping to recover golden retrievers from Turkey and bring them back to the United States.

Experts say golden retrievers used to be a status symbol in Turkey, but only puppies are considered valuable, meaning many dogs are put in the streets or left in the woods. Rescuers say government officials would bury stray dogs alive in mass graves, poison them or leave them to fend for themselves.

It costs about $2,000 to rescue each dog, including airfare, overnight boarding and vet fees. Groups across the state, including Everglades Golden Retriever Rescue, and another in Atlanta, are getting on board.