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July 2, 2009

New Puppy Mill Task Force Formed by The HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is expanding its long-standing campaign to combat abusive "puppy mills" — where suffering dogs are held captive in cages and bred virtually nonstop to supply unscrupulous merchants with a steady cash-crop of puppies.

Countless numbers of Americans are unwitting conspirators in this chain of misery when they buy puppies from pet stores and Internet sellers.

The goal of the new HSUS "Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force" will be to provide expert guidance to local law enforcement agencies and support other HSUS experts in the investigation and execution of raids on inhumane puppy mills wherever they exist. The task force represents a dramatic expansion of HSUS resources and is made possible by a generous donation from the Kenneth and Lillian Wilde Estate.

"This kind-hearted gift means a lasting legacy for Mrs. And Mr. Wilde — starting right now far fewer dogs will spend their lives in misery, without human kindness, without space to run, without decent care," said Stephanie Shain, The HSUS' senior director of the puppy mills campaign. "Dogs deserve better, far better. The Wilde Estate will help in this important campaign to see that they get it."

As a first-step, The Humane Society of the United States has hired Justin Scally to act as the deputy manager of the new task force. Scally has a background in investigating animal cruelty and animal sheltering, and was previously director of Wayne County Animal Control in North Carolina. He and other members of the task force, who have yet to be hired, will work with The HSUS' emergency services and investigations teams to expand the organization's capacity to rescue animals from these squalid puppy mills. The task force will soon institute a nationwide telephone "tip line" so the public can report inhumane puppy mill abuses. 

Lynn and John Hook, the co-trustees of the Wilde Estate, issued a joint statement saying, "Lillian and Kenny had a deep love for puppies and despised cruelty to pets. The Wildes would be so pleased to know that their legacy created this worthy group."

Puppy Mill Facts

  • 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 breed rescue group, or screen a breeder's facility in person.
  • 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 dogs' health or any genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • The HSUS supports compassionate breeders who provide for their dog's physical and mental well-being. Quality breeders don't sell puppies through pet stores or over the Internet. 

More about puppy mills: humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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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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