The Humane Society of the US recently took part in yet another puppy mill raid, this time under a joint effort with the Walthall County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
More than 100 dogs were found living in horrible conditions. The HSUS reports decomposing bodies of adult dogs and puppies were found. Charges are pending in the case.
Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The HSUS was quoted as saying:
“I was sickened by what we found today. No animal should have to suffer in such atrocious conditions. We are thankful that the Walthall County Sheriff’s Office and the Humane Society of South Mississippi acted so quickly to address the situation and that we were able to assist with rescuing these animals.”
Tara High, the executive director of Humane Society of South Mississippi:
“These are some of the worst conditions that I’ve ever seen. To think that these animals have lived like this, it’s a testament to their fortitude that they could survive. We’re glad that we were able to respond to help these dogs as soon as possible. We are also thankful to our community for helping us adopt out animals so we could make the space for these needy dogs.”
From the HSUS news release:
The dogs, most of whom are Boston terriers, dachshunds, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas, have been safely transported to the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, Miss., where they will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment. They will then be screened for adoption and a second chance at a life of love and care that all dogs deserve.
Mississippi has no specific state laws that require puppy mills to be licensed or inspected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently inspects only dog breeders that sell to pet stores, but it is currently considering a rule that would require large-scale dog breeding facilities, like this one, that sell directly to the public, to be federally licensed and inspected. Last year, The HSUS and a coalition of nonprofit groups gathered more than 350,000 letters and signatures in support of the proposed rule. The rule is pending final approval.
Reward program for cruelty tips
The HSUS has established a reward program to offer up to $5,000 to anyone who provides any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a puppy mill operator for animal cruelty. Persons wishing to report a valid tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP and will remain anonymous.
I often read quotes or comments under news stories or comments on blogs like Pack Mentality, where defenders of mass-breeding operations like this one drag out the tired, old suggestion that there is no real definition of the phrase, “puppy mill.”
Of course there’s a clear definition. Puppy mill operations house their dogs 24/7 in small cages, lined with filth. Puppy mill dogs rarely to never are allowed time for play or exercise and rarely to never are given veterinary care. Logic gives us a definition of a puppy mill.
And the same defenders of puppy mills claim current laws are enough. In the face of the facts, they still make this claim with regularity. In just one respect, this kennel most likely would have been shut down long ago – if the state and federal governments required regular, unannounced inspections by government officials, based on reasonable regulations and standards of care.
The other side might claim the operation might never had been uncovered. But if it is selling dogs, investigators can find out about it and can find that the mill was selling dogs without a license.
Sure, some mills could somehow hide in the shadows for awhile. But with an inspection system in place, the odds of finding puppy mills go up. And many will shut down because they know they can’t pass an inspection.
But I mentioned logic above. The regulations and laws and punishments have to be based on logic and compassion for animals. We must have better laws in place now. For every day that passes, the suffering goes on – day after day after day.
How can a civilized society allow this?
On his A Humane Nation blog, Wayne Pacelle pleads for a proposed rule change “that would require large-scale breeding facilities that sell puppies online to be federally licensed and inspected as well.” As of now, the US Department of Agriculture only inspects breeders that supply puppies to stores.
And Pacelle rightfully supports the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (S. 395/ H.R. 847) or PUPS Act. It would force large-scale breeders to be federally licensed and inspected and would require that the breeding dogs be allowed at least one hour each day out of their cages for exercise.
Yet, the opposition opposes allowing dogs just one hour a day for play.