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The HSUS Helps Rescue 161 Dogs and Puppies from Montana Puppy Mill

We join Lewis and Clark Humane Society, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Jefferson County Attorney to save lives

The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team was called in by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and County Attorney to assist in rescuing 161 malamutes from a puppy mill in Jefferson City, Mont. The dogs were housed in unsanitary conditions and needed socialization and medical care. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office seized the animals.

“This facility sold puppies, some of whom were reportedly extremely sick, over the Internet and through newspaper ads claiming to offer ‘show-quality’ dogs. This illustrates the importance of visiting a breeder to see where your puppy was born,” said Wendy Hergenraeder, Montana state director for The HSUS. “This is also a prime example of why Montana needs a state law to regulate large-scale breeding facilities.”

The sheriff’s office called in The HSUS after receiving reports from people who claimed to have purchased sick puppies from the puppy mill. The HSUS helped remove and document the dogs and is contributing financially for their care. PetSmart Charities® donated much-needed supplies to the rescue efforts. The Lewis and Clark Humane Society is sheltering the dogs until their custody is determined by a judge.

When responders arrived they found approximately 130 adult dogs and two dozen puppies living in feces-encrusted pens with little or no food or water present. Many of the dogs were underweight and suffering from parasite infestation and untreated wounds. Responders have safely removed all of the animals and transported them to the Lewis and Clark Humane Society where they will be medically treated and evaluated for adoption.

“We are thankful to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for stepping up for these animals and overseeing their rescue,” said Gina Wiest, executive director of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society. “This case should open people’s eyes to the fact that even people who advertise alleged ‘show quality’ dogs may actually be operating puppy mills. It’s easy to hide the truth behind a professional-looking website that seems to say all the right things.”

The HSUS encourages people to consider adopting from a shelter or rescue group first, or buying from a responsible breeder, instead of purchasing a puppy from a pet store or online seller, where the dogs may come from puppy mills. For more information visit humanesociety.org/puppy.

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


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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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