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May 20, 2013

104 Dogs Rescued from Mississippi Puppy Mill

Walthall County Sheriff’s Office, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Humane Society of South Mississippi respond to dire situation

Rescuers removed more than 100 dogs from horrible conditions on a Tylertown, Miss., property in a joint effort by the Walthall County Sheriff's Office, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society of South Mississippi. The sheriff's office served a search warrant on the property and found a variety of small-breed dogs suffering from a multitude of untreated medical conditions. The owner has surrendered the animals to law enforcement and charges are pending as the investigation continues.

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The animals, including nursing mothers, puppies and older dogs, were living in filthy, wire-bottomed cages—many in the dark in locations without proper ventilation. Some dogs were sharing cages with the decomposing bodies of dead dogs and puppies. Most of the animals appear to be severely lacking adequate care, veterinary attention and socialization. Some of the dogs are suffering from untreated wounds—including one with a severed limb—eye and ear infections, dental disease and skin conditions.

Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The HSUS, said: "I was sickened by what we found today. No animal should have to suffer in such atrocious conditions. We are thankful that the Walthall County Sheriff's Office and the Humane Society of South Mississippi acted so quickly to address the situation and that we were able to assist with rescuing these animals."

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Tara High, executive director of Humane Society of South Mississippi, said: "These are some of the worst conditions that I've ever seen. To think that these animals have lived like this, it's a testament to their fortitude that they could survive. We're glad that we were able to respond to help these dogs as soon as possible. We are also thankful to our community for helping us adopt out animals so we could make the space for these needy dogs."

The dogs, most of whom are Boston terriers, dachshunds, Yorkshire terriers and Chihuahuas, have been safely transported to the Humane Society of South Mississippi in Gulfport, Miss., where they will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment. They will then be screened for adoption and a second chance at a life of love and care that all dogs deserve.

Mississippi has no specific state laws that require puppy mills to be licensed or inspected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently inspects only dog breeders that sell to pet stores, but it is currently considering a rule that would require large-scale dog breeding facilities, like this one, that sell directly to the public, to be federally licensed and inspected. Last year, The HSUS and a coalition of nonprofit groups gathered more than 350,000 letters and signatures in support of the proposed rule. The rule is pending final approval.

Reward program for cruelty tips

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 animal cruelty. Persons wishing to report a valid tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP and will remain anonymous.

**Photos and b-roll available upon request.

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

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