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June 24, 2009

Dogs Rescued from Lehigh County Puppy Mill on Way to New Lives

The Humane Society of the United States

HARRISBURG, Pa. — More than 200 dogs rescued Tuesday from a Lehigh County, Pa. puppy mill are on the way to recovery. Teams from The Humane Society of the United States and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture moved the dogs to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Some have been transported to area animal shelters and rescue groups, while others will be moved in the days ahead.

"The future looked pretty bleak just 24 hours ago for these dogs, but now thanks to The Humane Society of the United States and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, they have been given a chance to live out safe, healthy lives," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of the Puppy Mill Campaign at The HSUS. "We hope this rescue opens the eyes of consumers about the importance of checking out the facility of any breeder before you buy a puppy."

"We are grateful for the outpouring of compassion and the level of charity that we have seen in this rescue mission," said Jessie Smith, Pennsylvania's special deputy secretary for Dog Law Enforcement. "Without the unwavering efforts of The HSUS, the Pennsylvania State Police and volunteers from across the state, the dogs we are sending off now for adoption might still be living in conditions no dog lover would consider acceptable. Because of all the groups involved, these dogs and the families that adopt them will now have happier lives."

This rescue mission ran smoothly due in part to the outpouring of support from the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team and several central Pennsylvania County Animal Response Teams. These response groups are an integral part of the commonwealth's capacity to respond to both man-made and natural disasters that affect animals.

The dogs are being checked thoroughly by a team of veterinarians before being transported to shelters and rescue groups in the region.

Below is a list of rescue groups where these dogs will be available for adoption:

  • Washington Animal Rescue League
  • Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter
  • Maryland SPCA
  • Humane Society of Berks County
  • Humane Society of Harrisburg
  • Animal Welfare League of Alexandria
  • Fairfax County Animal Shelter
  • Animal Allies of New Jersey

Puppy Mill Facts

  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family.
  • There is little regard for the breeding dog's health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.
  • In 2008, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Virginia passed laws to regulate puppy mills. Indiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state have passed laws this year to crack down on abusive puppy mills.

For more information on yesterday's rescue, please see HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle's blog here.

High-quality video B-roll from the rescue will be available upon request.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.

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