Puppy Mill Seizure
Category : Uncategorized
Last week I was deployed to Washington state on a puppy mill seizure assignment with United Animal Nations (UAN). The seizure was lead by Humane Society of United States (HSUS).
It was the first time I’d ever done anything like this.
I arrived the Fairgrounds in Kennewick Washington on Wednesday afternoon where a temporary shelter was being set up to receive the dogs as soon as they were seized. Within a couple of hours, the HSUS semi-trailer (packed with dogs) pulled into the parking lot . The puppy mill raid had been successful and the owner had signed over all 372 dogs.
Inside the trailer, every single dog looked exactly the same: white, small and furry. Apparently, the breeder, Ella Stewart, had been trying to breed miniature American Eskimo dogs in her back yard for 40 miserable years!
None of the dogs had ever been walked, bathed, touched or taken to the vet. They acted like wild animals and cowered at the sight of humans. They desperately needed baths and vet care.
Every one of the dogs was covered with fleas & feces. Some had severe flea allergies. Others had diarrhea, infections, hypothermia and overgrown toe nails. Many of the females were at various stages of pregnancy. Some actually gave birth at the temporary shelter. It was easy to see the suffering these animals had endured.
During the 5 days of the rescue mission, the volunteers spent 10-12 hours every day just tending to the basic needs of the animals. It was clear that Ella Stewart could not have taken adequate care of all the dogs by herself.
It was heart breaking to learn how this woman had kept her dogs. Some had been confined to shopping carts or rusty cages for their entire lives. One of the dogs had wounds all over his snout from being forced to eat out of a rusty can with a jagged rim. Many of the dogs circled their cages manically and endlessly – a stereotypical behavior resulting from prolonged confinement.
As hard as it was to see the condition of the animals, it is a relief to know that they are now on the road to a better life. Word of the raid traveled like wildfire. Within 24 hours of the seizure, Humane Societies from nearby states came to take in the animals. Because most of the animals were not socialized, arrangements will be made to put them into foster care and house trained before they are put up for adoption.
If puppy mills anger you, please adopt your companion animals instead of buying them. Buying animals from pet shops and breeders contributes to the pet overpopulation problem and keeps puppy mills in business. Even by going to a “responsible” breeder, you are still not helping any of the millions of animals waiting to be adopted or euthanized at shelters. Be a part of the solution: adopt an animal and spay & neuter.
For more information about this and other puppy mill seizures, please visit www.hsus.org