ASPCA Leads Fight to Close TN Puppy MillPublished February 17, 2009
By: Jo Singer
As many animals lovers may already be aware, in a raid that started on Wednesday, February 11, in Sparta, TN, the ASPCA's "best and brightest" team members raided a huge puppy mill operation.
Led by Dr. Melinda Merck, ASPCA Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics, the ASPCA forensic cruelty investigation team began evaluating dogs and collecting evidence in order to proceed with criminal prosecution of the puppy mill's owners. Assisting in this action at the site, are members of the ASPCA Disaster Response team in concert with their legislative professionals.
According to the ASPCA website, last September a potential dog buyer, who upon observing the miserable conditions at the site, reported the findings to local officials. They immediately contacted the White County Humane Society about those conditions for which they had become concerned.
A formal investigation was initiated, and the ASPCA's support was requested for the raid. Other agencies which became involved in the rescue were the American Humane Association, Nashville Humane Association, several local veterinarians and PetSmart Charities, which stepped in to provide shelter supplies and an emergency relief vehicle.
Discovered were more than 265 small-breed dogs, which included Pomeranians, shih tzus, Poodles, Chihuahuas, Boston and Jack Russell terriers, miniature pinschers and schnauzers, who were kept in deplorable conditions on the property.
Dr. Merck reported that they were devoid of basic care, with little food or water, and were living in waste filled cages with little ventilation. Their coats matted from feces and mange infected, their little bodies were covered with sores. Dental disease and abscesses were found in the dogs on the property. Dogs in critical condition, in need of emergency care, were immediately transferred to veterinarians who volunteered their services to provide care for them.
Last June, the ASPCA also took swift action to rescue puppies in Lyles, TN. This was the biggest raid to date in the state. Tennessee's General Assembly is now taking action to address the state's puppy mill problems and last week a consumer protection bill which addresses large-scale commercial breeders was introduced in the Senate. A companion bill in the House is anticipated shortly.
I am heartened by the recent growing attention paid by legislators throughout the country, who have been made aware of these conditions. They are to be commended as they take action to ensure the passage of bills aimed to end the needless suffering of dogs and cats languishing in puppy and kitten mills under squalid conditions. These profit-driven breeders care little for the condition of their animals, and are only in "business" to make money. I am hopeful that in the near future these commercial breeding establishments will once and for all be closed down permanently.
Take a moment to watch the video uploaded to YouTube by the ASPCA, which vividly shows the conditions under which these dogs were living. It also highlights some of the touching moments of rescue.
What can we do, as animal lovers to support the tireless work of the ASPCA to help protect dogs and cats? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
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