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The HSUS Assists in Tenn. Puppy Mill Raid

The Humane Society of the United States

CUMBERLAND FURNACE, Tenn. — The Humane Society of the United States, in conjunction with the Dickson County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office, rescued more than 50 dogs and at least a dozen other animals, including cats from an alleged puppy mill in Dickson County. The owner has agreed to surrender the animals.

"These animals have been held in constant confinement their entire lives and suffered physically and emotionally for the sole purpose of creating a profit for the puppy mill owner," said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. "We commend the Dickson County Sheriff's Department for ending this abusive cycle and permitting The HSUS to assist in rescuing these animals."

The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a local resident who purchased a puppy through a classified advertisement.

When rescuers arrived at the property, they encountered a facility with small to medium dog breeds such as Pomeranians, pugs and cocker spaniels housed in typical filthy and isolated conditions. Many of the dogs and cats suffered from eye and skin conditions, malnourishment and internal and external parasites. The outdoor enclosures housing the animals lacked clean water, or adequate shelter from the elements. The animals will be evaluated and treated on-site by HSUS veterinary staff with the help of Jeremiah Wojnarowski of the Animal Medical Hospital.

The Nashville Humane Association staff will be caring for the animals at a temporary shelter. Much-needed dog food supplies are being donated by Pedigree. 

In July, Gov. Phil Bredesen signed The Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act into law, which requires basic humane care standards for dogs kept at puppy mills, and requires that these mass producing facilities operate as legitimate businesses, subject to licensure and inspection.

This rescue operation is made possible in part from funding provided to The HSUS by the Kenneth and Lillian Wilde Foundation, which created the Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force to rescue animals from abusive puppy mills.

Tips on Avoiding Getting a Puppy Mill Dog

  • Consider adoption first when getting a pet. Animal shelters are filled with dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes who need and deserve loving homes. Nationwide, approximately 25 percent of the dogs in shelters are purebreds.
  • Find a responsible breeder and visit their premises in person to see how the parent dogs are living and the conditions in which the puppy was raised. Responsible breeders house their dogs as members of the family and do not keep them confined to cages.
  • Don't be fooled by common claims made by pet stores when pushing their puppies. Good breeders do not sell to pet stores because they want to meet the families who are taking home their puppies.
  • Don't be swayed by a great website or ad; many of the puppy mills The HSUS has raided in recent years hid behind beautiful and deceiving websites promising "family raised" puppies.
  • Avoid the temptation to "rescue" a puppy mill puppy by buying him; your purchase will only help perpetuate a cruel industry and another dog will quickly fill his cage.
  • For more information on how to get a puppy from a shelter or a responsible breeder, go to humanesociety.org/puppy.


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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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