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July 21, 2010

More Than 100 Dogs Rescued from Mississippi Puppy Mill

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CARRIERE, Miss. — The Humane Society of the United States, at the request of  the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department, led a rescue on July 13 of more than 100 dogs from a puppy mill operation in Carriere, Miss. This Tuesday, the operator agreed to surrender custody of these dogs. Local residents had reported concerns about conditions at Sea Breeze Kennels, which had been advertising puppies for sale through classifieds and the Internet.

The rescued dogs included mostly small breeds, with many suffering from severely matted fur, dental disease and skin problems. The animals were being housed in unsanitary conditions without proper medical care. Two dead animals were also removed from the property.

The Humane Society of South Mississippi, Friends of the Animal Shelter of Hancock County, Okaloosa County Animal Services, Southern Pines Animal Shelter and Waveland Animal Shelter also assisted with the rescue. The rescued animals are being cared for at an emergency shelter set up and staffed by The HSUS and volunteers from several groups.

The dogs have been examined by local veterinarians and received any necessary immediate medical care. The HSUS and HSSM will care for the animals until they are transported to partner shelters for evaluation and adoption. PetSmart Charities® donated much-needed pet food, and HSSM provided additional supplies.

See photos, and read a firsthand account of the rescue »

The Pearl River County Sheriff's Department charged 68-year-old Betty Burns of Carriere, Miss., with animal neglect. The Sheriff's Department received complaints regarding neglected animals that were under the care of Burns. The HSUS agreed to document, remove and provide care for any animals seized as a result of abuse and/or neglect.

"The Humane Society of the United States provided a professional and well-organized service to Pearl River County and absorbed the cost of this operation," said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.

A local business was able to contribute to this worthy cause. Cuevas Auction donated space for staging and treatment of the animals.

"Many people don't realize that puppy mills are found in every state, where dozens or even hundreds of dogs can be found living in cruel conditions such as cramped wire cages without adequate sanitation or veterinary care," said Lydia Sattler, The HSUS' Mississippi state director. "This case also demonstrates the urgent need to strengthen Mississippi's laws to give officials the tools to monitor and address abusive situations before they deteriorate into this type of deplorable animal cruelty and neglect."

The dogs will be transferred to local animal shelters throughout the region that are working with The HSUS to oversee the recuperation and placement of animals in need. The shelters will evaluate the dogs, address their medical and behavioral needs and place them for adoption. The shelters will spay or neuter all animals before placement in new homes.

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 have passed laws over the past two years to crack down on abusive puppy mills.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

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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