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More than 200 Animals Rescued from Tenn. Puppy Mill

The Humane Society of the United States


The Humane Society of the United States was called in by the White County Sheriff's Department to lead the rescue of 221 dogs and two cats from Gayla's Poodle Palace of Sparta, Tenn.

These dogs were being housed in unsanitary conditions and lacked proper socialization and medical care. All of the animals have been surrendered by the owner to the custody of the White County Sheriff's Department.

"These dogs were being sold to unsuspecting consumers over the Internet and through newspaper advertisements. This should be a reminder to anyone looking for a new pet to first consider adoption, and only purchase a dog if you have personally visited the breeder," said Leighann McCollum, The HSUS Tennessee state director. "The Humane Society of the United States is thankful to White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe for standing up for these animals, and calling in The HSUS to give them a second chance at life."

The White County Sheriff's Department was recently contacted by neighbors concerned for the welfare of the dogs. When responders from The HSUS, White County Sheriff's Department, United Animal Nations and the White County Humane Society arrived on scene they found more than 200 dogs, mostly toy poodles, living crowded amongst their own feces in a small home.

The HSUS is safely removing all of the animals and transporting them to an emergency shelter set up and staffed by The HSUS and UAN. Once at the emergency shelter, the dogs will be examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care. UAN and The HSUS will provide the animals with daily care until they are transported to partner shelters for evaluation and adoption.

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 in honor of a couple 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.
  • Thirteen states, including Tennessee, have passed laws over the past two years to crack down on abusive puppy mills.

High-quality video and photos from the rescue will be available upon request.

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