HSUS Rescues Over 300 Dogs From Puppy Mills

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  1. Pippin

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    2 September 2009 - Over 300 dogs have been rescued from puppy mills in Tennessee, Mississippi and South Dakota in recent days by the Humane Society of the United States.

    In Cumberland Furnace, Tenn., HSUS, in conjunction with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, rescued more than 50 dogs and at least a dozen other animals, including cats from an alleged puppy mill in Dickson County. The owner has agreed to surrender the animals.

    “These animals have been held in constant confinement their entire lives and suffered physically and emotionally for the sole purpose of creating a profit for the puppy mill owner,” said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. “We commend the Dickson County Sheriff’s Department for ending this abusive cycle and permitting The HSUS to assist in rescuing these animals.”

    The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a local resident who purchased a puppy through a classified advertisement.

    When rescuers arrived at the property, they encountered a facility with small to medium dog breeds such as Pomeranians, pugs and cocker spaniels housed in typical filthy and isolated conditions. Many of the dogs and cats suffered from eye and skin conditions, malnourishment and internal and external parasites. The outdoor enclosures housing the animals lacked clean water, or adequate shelter from the elements. The animals will be evaluated and treated on-site by HSUS veterinary staff with the help of Jeremiah Wojnarowski of the Animal Medical Hospital.

    The Nashville Humane Association staff will be caring for the animals at a temporary shelter. Much-needed dog food supplies are being donated by Pedigree.

    In July, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed The Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act into law, which requires basic humane care standards for dogs kept at puppy mills, and requires that these mass producing facilities operate as legitimate businesses, subject to licensure and inspection.

    This rescue operation is made possible in part from funding provided to The HSUS by the Kenneth and Lillian Wilde Foundation, which created the Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force to rescue animals from abusive puppy mills.

    In Parker, South Dakota, HSUS, in conjunction with Second Chance Rescue and the Turner County Sheriff’s Department, rescued 172 dogs from unsanitary conditions at an alleged puppy mill in Turner County.

    “These animals were clearly lacking proper medical care and socialization, and were kept in constant confinement their entire lives,” said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. “This rescue proves once again why people must know where their puppies come from in order to avoid supporting the cruel puppy mill industry.”

    The property owner bred and sold dogs online to unsuspecting consumers. Unfortunately, these mass-breeding facilities exist all over the country. This is the fourth deployment The HSUS has conducted in less than a week, rescuing nearly 600 animals.

    This investigation began after a consumer who bought a sick puppy from the operator’s Web site lodged a complaint. Second Chance Rescue then called in The HSUS and the Turner County Sheriff’s Department to rescue these neglected animals. Responders found 172 dogs, including German shorthair pointers and Weimaraners. The dogs were housed in unclean dog runs with little protection from the elements. Many appear to have skin and eye infections, untreated medical conditions and parasite infestation.

    The rescue team removed all of the dogs from the property and transported them to a temporary shelter set up by United Animal Nations, The HSUS and Second Chance Rescue. Once at the shelter the dogs began receiving immediate medical care. Volunteers from United Animal Nations are on hand to assist with the temporary shelter for the rescued animals. Much-needed supplies were provided by PetSmart Charities®.

    In New Albany, Miss., HSUS, in conjunction with the Union County Sheriff’s Department, rescued more than 80 dogs and more than a dozen other animals from shockingly poor conditions at a Union County puppy mill. The puppy mill operators sold animals online, through newspaper ads and at local flea markets.

    Complaints from local residents who purchased puppies directly from the facility prompted an investigation. Conditions were found to be so deplorable that law enforcement obtained an emergency search and seizure warrant. The puppy mill owners agreed to surrender the animals and are appearing in court today. According to the Union County Sheriff’s Department, the primary owner, Mike Killough, faces 60 counts of animal cruelty and 60 counts of neglect. The other owner, Ricky Binet, faces 21 counts of animal cruelty and 21 counts of neglect.

    Rescuers found small- to medium-size dog breeds such as dachshunds, Boston terriers, Chihuahuas and beagles housed in appalling conditions, including chicken coop-style cages infested with maggots and cockroaches with no available food or water. Many of the dogs suffered from eye and skin conditions, malnourishment and parasites.

    “These animals have suffered tremendously just for the sake of profit,” said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. “We commend the Union County Sheriff’s Department for their swift and effective efforts to give these animals an opportunity to have a better life. We are pleased that we could help on just hours notice.”

    HSUS animal rescue teams were on the ground in Tennessee responding to another puppy mill Monday evening when they received the call for assistance and immediately drove to Mississippi. Working with the sheriff’s office, The HSUS confiscated the animals and transported them to the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society where they will be evaluated and eventually put up for adoption.


    This rescue operation is made possible in part from funding provided to The HSUS by the Kenneth and Lillian Wilde Trust, which created the Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force to rescue animals from abusive puppy mills.

    Tips on Avoiding Getting a Puppy Mill Dog

    * Consider adoption first when getting a pet. Animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes who need and deserve loving homes. Nationwide, approximately 25 percent of the dogs in shelters are purebreds.
    * Find a responsible breeder and visit their premises in person to see how the parent dogs are living and the conditions in which the puppy was raised. Responsible breeders house their dogs as members of the family and do not keep them confined to cages.
    * Don’t be fooled by common claims made by pet stores when pushing their puppies. Good breeders do not sell to pet stores because they want to meet the families who are taking home their puppies.
    * Don’t be swayed by a great website or ad; many of the puppy mills The HSUS has raided in recent years hid behind beautiful and deceiving websites promising “family raised” puppies.
    * Avoid the temptation to ”rescue” a puppy mill puppy by buying him; your purchase will only help perpetuate a cruel industry and another dog will quickly fill his cage.



    For more information on how to get a puppy from a shelter or a responsible breeder, go to Puppy Buyers Guide | The Humane Society of the United States

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