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August 3, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Brunswick County Officials for Rescue of More Than 140 Dogs from North Carolina Puppy Mill

Eighth rescue in state involving HSUS assistance since June 2011

The Humane Society of the United States assisted North Carolina authorities with the rescue of more than 140 dogs of at least seven different breeds from deplorable conditions at a puppy mill, which is a large, inhumane breeding facility, in Brunswick County. Dogs were found with matted hair and living in filth in small wire cages. Dogs were found at two properties, in Leland and neighboring Wilmington, and a number of birds also were found and rescued at one of the properties.

Responding to a tip from the public on The HSUS’ Puppy Mill Tip Line, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with New Hanover Sheriff’s Office, served a seizure warrant at a Leland residence and the suspects, owners of both properties, were taken into custody. The HSUS, along with other groups, helped in the rescue and getting the dogs evaluated and transported to shelters where they can be treated for medical ailments.  

“Despite numerous, recent high-profile cases revealing unacceptable and completely avoidable animal suffering at inhumane puppy mills in North Carolina, the legislature has yet to pass regulations to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities,” said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The HSUS.  “The horrible conditions in which these dogs were found today are indicative of our dilemma across the state and we simply must have regulations in place to protect these helpless animals.”

“We will pursue anyone who mistreats animals and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram.

For the third consecutive year, The HSUS and animal advocates have urged the North Carolina legislature to pass reasonable laws to protect animals in large commercial pet breeding facilities. However, legislators have repeatedly failed to pass this kind of legislation. North Carolina continues to have a serious issue with unscrupulous commercial dog breeders, or puppy mills, and the lack of regulations make it a safe haven for those who want to deny animals humane care for profit.

Other groups involved in the rescue were Brunswick Rescue Community Effort, Charlotte Humane Society, Guilford County Animal Shelter and SPCA of Wake County. To help improve the lives of dogs and protect consumers, The HSUS has established a reward program to offer up to $5,000 to anyone who provides any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a puppy mill operator for illegal animal cruelty. Persons wishing to report a valid tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP and will remain anonymous.

Puppy Mill Facts:

• The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
• Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
• Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
• Pet stores and online sellers often use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, reputable breeder.
• Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu: 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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