September 1, 2009
The HSUS Assists Miss. Law Enforcement with Seizure of More Than 80 Dogs
NEW ALBANY, Miss. — The Humane Society of the United States, in conjunction with the Union County Sheriff's Department, rescued more than 80 dogs and more than a dozen other animals from shockingly poor conditions at a Union County puppy mill. The puppy mill operators sold animals online, through newspaper ads and at local flea markets.
Complaints from local residents who purchased puppies directly from the facility prompted an investigation. Conditions were found to be so deplorable that law enforcement obtained an emergency search and seizure warrant. The puppy mill owners agreed to surrender the animals and are appearing in court today. According to the Union County Sheriff's Department, the primary owner, Mike Killough, faces 60 counts of animal cruelty and 60 counts of neglect. The other owner, Ricky Binet, faces 21 counts of animal cruelty and 21 counts of neglect.
Rescuers found small- to medium-size dog breeds such as dachshunds, Boston terriers, Chihuahuas and beagles housed in appalling conditions, including chicken coop-style cages infested with maggots and cockroaches with no available food or water. Many of the dogs suffered from eye and skin conditions, malnourishment and parasites.
"These animals have suffered tremendously just for the sake of profit," said Scotlund Haisley, senior director of Emergency Services at The HSUS. "We commend the Union County Sheriff's Department for their swift and effective efforts to give these animals an opportunity to have a better life. We are pleased that we could help on just hours notice."
HSUS animal rescue teams were on the ground in Tennessee responding to another puppy mill Monday evening when they received the call for assistance and immediately drove to Mississippi. Working with the sheriff's office, The HSUS confiscated the animals and transported them to the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society where they will be evaluated and eventually put up for adoption.
This rescue operation is made possible in part from funding provided to The HSUS by the Kenneth and Lillian Wilde Trust, 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 Web site 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.