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September 11, 2012

The HSUS Helps Rescue More Than 200 Dogs, Other Animals from S.C. Puppy Mill

The HSUS, Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, and Humane Society of Charlotte work together to save animals

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society of Charlotte were called in by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office to assist in the rescue of approximately 250 animals from a Johnston, S.C., property. The sheriff’s office served a search and seizure warrant on the property and found more than 200 dogs of various breeds and ages living in deplorable conditions. The responders also found nine horses and nearly 40 fowl on the property.

The dogs ranged in breeds from chihuahuas and maltese to boxers and golden retrievers, and were suffering from eye infections, skin irritations, dental problems and lack of socialization. The nursing mothers and their puppies were being kept in filthy rabbit hutches, while some of the larger breeders were in pens or running loose on the property.

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Local law enforcement became concerned about this facility after receiving complaints from concerned citizens. The owner of the property was selling puppies on the Internet to unsuspecting customers.

“It’s simply unacceptable for dogs to be housed in such cruel conditions,” said Kim Kelly, South Carolina state director for The HSUS. “The situation we found today demonstrates the need for stronger laws in South Carolina. We’re thankful that the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office acted on this case and called us for help.”

“The laws in South Carolina need to change in order to stop this kind of cruelty,” said State Senator Jake Knotts from Lexington County, who visited the scene. “We need to attack this problem by requiring that anyone selling animals be licensed and inspected by the state. If elected officials could witness what I did today, there would be no problem passing a state law addressing this.”

“We are grateful for the assistance of The Humane Society of the United States in this case,” said Sheriff Adell Dobey. “We would not have been able to handle this volume of animals without them.”

The HSUS and Humane Society of Charlotte have safely transported the animals to a temporary emergency animal shelter, where they will remain pending the final disposition of this case. PetSmart Charities provided the necessary food and supplies for the animals. Once at the shelter the animals will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any needed immediate medical treatment.

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.

If you would like to volunteer to help animals like these, please visit us at www.humanesociety.org/volunteer.

*Stills and b-roll are available by request.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 240-751-3943, stwining@humanesociety.org

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