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The HSUS Marks Anniversary of N.C. Puppy Mill Rescue

Group urges residents to support bill to address mass-breeding facilities

One year ago, The Humane Society of the United States partnered with the Wayne County Animal Control to rescue 283 dogs from inhumane conditions at Thornton's Kennels in Mount Olive, N.C. Since the rescue, legislation has been introduced that would require large commercial dog breeders to be licensed by the state and require the Department of Agriculture to establish basic humane care standards for those facilities.

"We call on North Carolina residents to contact their representatives and tell them to support S.B. 460 to crack down on puppy mills," said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The HSUS. "The Humane Society of the United States wants 2010 to be the year that puppy mills in North Carolina are put on notice that the inhumane treatment of dogs will not be tolerated. When the legislature reconvenes in May, S.B. 460 will continue where it left off in the House Finance Committee, so it is important to contact Finance Committee members and ask for their support of this common-sense legislation that will improve the lives of thousands of dogs in North Carolina."

North Carolina currently has no statewide laws to regulate puppy mills. S.B. 460 would help prevent irresponsible and inhumane mass production and require puppy millers to be treated like the businesses that they are, including paying sales tax and income tax to the government. The bill will not affect those who have hunting dogs or responsible breeders who already raise dogs humanely.

A mother and son duo rescued from Thornton's Kennels, Greta and Brutus, have become an inspiration to those who rally behind the fight to end these cruel mass-breeding facilities. Although they began their lives in misery and fear, these two Chihuahuas are marking their first year of freedom in happy homes. Brutus was adopted shortly after his rescue and Greta, who is still recovering from the psychological and physical trauma of being a breeding mother, is currently in foster care. See more about their amazing recovery here.

Puppy Mill Facts

  • Puppy mills are factory-style facilities that keep dogs in cages or kennels, often in squalid conditions, without exercise, socialization or meaningful human interaction. After the breeding dog's fertility wanes, she is destroyed or discarded. 
  • 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.
  • Ten states passed laws in 2009 to crack down on puppy mills.

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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