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Dogs Rescued from NC Puppy Mill on Road to New Lives

HSUS Takes Custody of Suffering Dogs

The Humane Society of the United States

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. — After intense planning and days of around-the-clock work, all 283 dogs rescued from Thornton's Kennels in Mount Olive, N.C. are resting comfortably and ready to begin their lives anew in loving homes. The property owner has surrendered custody of all 283 dogs to Wayne County, which then transferred ownership of the dogs to The Humane Society of the United States.

"Today's surrender is a victory for these 283 dogs, who will soon be on their way to becoming the treasured pets they were always meant to be," said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. "But The Humane Society of the United States strongly urges local law enforcement to pursue criminal charges against the mill owner and bar her from breeding dogs in the future."

Wayne County Animal Control called in The Humane Society of the United States, United Animal Nations and PetSmart Charities® to help rescue and care for these dogs — many of whom suffered for years in tiny cages without proper medical care or the touch of human kindness. Some of these animals had overgrown their collars, others endured miserable infections and all were dirty. The rescue organizations are now working with local and national volunteers to care for these dogs at a nearby emergency shelter.

The dogs will be transported over the next few days to humane groups across the region where they will begin the social and physical rehabilitation necessary to ready them for their new lives as family pets.

"I am amazed at the unprecedented outpouring of compassion and dedication that we have seen in this rescue mission," said Justin Scally, director of the Department of Animal Control for Wayne County. "It would have been impossible for us to save these animals without the support of all of the organizations and volunteers involved."

U.S. animal shelters euthanize 3 million to 4 million cats and dogs every year, and yet pet industry statistics show that about one-third of the nation's 11,000 pet stores continue to sell puppies. Many of these dogs come from puppy mills — mass commercial breeding operations that put profit above the health and welfare of the puppies and their parents.

A full list of humane organizations and rescue groups where these dogs will be available for adoption will be available at humanesociety.org later in the week.

The Humane Society of the United States is now accepting donations to fund this rescue mission and others like it. Please support our work here.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.