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August 27, 2009

Va. Puppy Mill Operator Barred from Owning Dogs

The Humane Society of the United States

Just days after The Humane Society of the United States and local authorities removed almost 100 dogs from deplorable conditions at "Oak Leaf Kennel" in Stuarts Draft, Va., an Augusta County General District Court judge barred the puppy mill owner, Kyle Brydge, from keeping or breeding companion animals for at least two years. Brydge had been selling the animals via classified ads.

Great Danes, mastiffs, pugs, Boston terriers, Yorkies, poodles and other dogs now have a chance for happiness after The HSUS, Augusta County Animal Control and the Virginia State Veterinarian's office removed them from overcrowded and neglectful conditions on Aug. 21.  Many of the dogs were suffering from malnourishment and severe eye, skin and oral infections.

"We are grateful for the quick resolution of this case," said Justin Scally, manager of The HSUS Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force. "These dogs suffered tremendously. Several of the mother dogs were round with pregnancy, but the rest of their bodies were just skin and bones and covered in their own wastes. No dog should be forced live this way."

Virginia was the first state to enact a law limiting commercial breeders to a manageable number of dogs after an HSUS investigation in 2007 uncovered a vast network of unlicensed puppy mills in the state, including one breeder with more than 1,000 dogs.

The HSUS' Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force, which participated in this action, investigates and assists law enforcement agencies across the country with case development and rescue of animals from puppy mills. It is named for a couple, Kenneth and Lillian Wilde, who left their estate to The HSUS with the goal of helping dogs.

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.
  • 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.
  • Virginia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania passed laws in 2008, and Arizona, Indiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington State have passed laws this year to crack down on abusive puppy mills.

Photos are available upon request.

To learn more about puppy mills, visit 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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