Fur matted with feces. Severe corneal ulcers, dental disease. Infection, nails grown into the back of paw pads, flea and mite infestation. The tell-tale, mind-boggling, results of the squalor and horror of their lives in a North Carolina puppy mill.
In March 2012, over eighty puppy mill dogs were rescued in collaboration by the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, the Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team, and HSUS Emergency Placement Partners from Guilford County Animal Shelter, Moore Humane Society, Saving Grace, and Wake County SPCA.
“The Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team provided emergency shelter and triage to the rescued puppy mill animals,” states Tia Pope, Humane Society of the United States Puppy Mill Response Manager.
“Our Emergency Placement Partners gave ongoing care for the animals and found lifelong loving homes for them,” says Tia, a former kennel technician, veterinary technician, and Superintendent of the Newport News Animal Services Division.
Darci VanderSlik, Wake County SPCA Media Coordinator, describes the abominable condition of the puppy mill property and dogs witnessed by the Wake County SPCA emergency response team as, “These puppy mill dogs were in the worst condition we’ve ever seen.”
Of the ten puppy mill dogs Wake County SPCA took in, two puppy mill dogs did not make it. “One suffered from congestive heart failure,” Darci says; she could not bring herself to describe the heart-wrenching condition of the second dog who was humanely euthanized.
“They all needed dental care. Some required teeth extractions,” Darci details. “Others had broken jaws past proper healing and sinus infections.”
“The puppy mill dogs had special medical and psychological needs,” Darci explains of their lifestyle change after adoption, including continued veterinary requirements. “Living in cramped cages where they must relieve themselves on the spot where they reside, they were not house-trained and not accustomed to the living environment of a comfortable home.”
North Carolina is notorious for its hundreds of commercial dog breeding facilities and poor puppy mill legislation. “We need more legislation in place to regulate mass commercial breeders in North Carolina,” remarks Darci about combating the cruelty, “including requiring facility inspections.”
Until North Carolina and many other states step-up to the plate to toughen puppy mill laws, both continued political engagement and humane education is top priority.
As part of the Humane Society of the United States Annual Puppy Mill Action Week, May 6 to 12, 2013, a free Humane Society University Puppy Mill webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 from 1pm to 2pm EDT.
For families, Wake County SPCA Humane Educator, Vanessa Marchetti Budnick, who had the unique yet frightening opportunity to participate as a first-responder in a puppy mill rescue operation has shared her inspiring story on CritterKin, “Happy Freedom Day” Ernest: The story of a puppy mill survivor.
Based on Vanessa’s Wake County SPCA humane education program, Vanessa also composed the CritterKin Tips by Vanessa: Poop on Puppy Mills.
The CritterKin humane education mobile application project is the collaborative brainchild of Writer/Illustrator Jena Ball and children’s immerse literature genius Martin J. Keltz, and Vanessa’s one-of-a-kind humane education program for children.
Currently, the CritterKin mobile application is in a critical stage of development. Although all of the creative materials are prepared, the CritterKin humane education mobile application project will only be produced if CritterKin receives $40,000 in Kickstarter.com pledges by Friday May 24, 2013.
As the saying goes, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Through rescue, political reform, and humane education, creating a better future is possible.
Anonymously report illegal puppy mills to the Humane Society of the United States toll-free tip-line: 1-877-MILL-TIP
For more information, visit the CritterKin website and follow CritterKin on Facebook.
Kickstart the future of humane education. Click here to support the CritterKin fundraising drive on Kickstarter.com.