Considering the fact that more than one-third of homeowners (37.2%) own dogs, it’s fair to say that they’re one of the most beloved pets in the nation. However, some unscrupulous types out there try to cash in on the love people have for these animals, and unfortunately do so at the dogs’ expense.
Puppy mills are an urgent, widespread problem in the United States, and one horrific mill was recently discovered and shut down in southwest Alabama.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals announced on April 17 that more than 130 dogs — mainly Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers and Pomeranians — seized from a puppy mill breeding operation in Needham are being sent out to agencies across the nation for adoption.
The Animal Rescue Corps estimates that there are about 15,000 different puppy mills in the United States. These mass-production breeders force dogs to produce litter after litter after litter, and supply nearly all of the dogs sold in pet stores. Oftentimes, hundreds or even thousands of dogs will live in squalor on a mill’s premises, enduring heartbreakingly unsanitary conditions without enough food, water, grooming, socialization, or veterinary care.
During the recent raid in Alabama, investigators discovered the bodies of a dozen deceased dogs, 10 of whom were found in garbage cans, and two others in the nearby woods. The two owners of the puppy mill were arrested, and charged with animal cruelty.
The rescued dogs range in age between two months and five years. The dogs suffered malnourishment as well as other medical problems and conditions, which the ASPCA is treating.
“These dogs have come a long way in a short time,” said Jessica Rushin, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response senior partnerships manager, in a statement. “They’ve been treated as products their whole lives and are ready to become pets. “