February 27, 2014
More than 180 Animals Rescued from Suspected Arkansas Puppy Mill
Law enforcement, animal welfare groups respond to dire situation
Update March 20, 2014: The Humane Society of Saline County and Central Arkansas Rescue Efforts for Animals have generously taken in 67 of the dogs from the case to find them loving homes. The 8 exotic birds will be transferred to The Gabriel Foundation. The remaining dogs, 9 bunnies and 3 cockatiels will be transported to various EPP's in the Washington, D.C. area, including Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, the Humane Society of Calvert County, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, Washington Animal Rescue League and Washington Humane Society, where they will be available for adoption.
One hundred twenty one dogs and more than 60 other animals were rescued from a suspected Jefferson County, Ark., puppy mill after authorities discovered them living in filth and suffering from a lack of basic care.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office called in The Humane Society of the United States and other area organizations, including Central Arkansas Rescue Efforts for Animals, The Humane Society of Saline County, Out of the Woods, RedRover and Sallis Ranch Large Animal Rescue, Inc., to assist in the rescue and removal the animals.
The sheriff’s office served a search warrant on the property and found that the animals were being housed in deplorable living conditions. Numerous dogs were living in an outdoor facility, while others were confined inside trailers on the property. Many of the animals were living in feces and filth and did not have access to clean water or food.
Tia Pope, manager of puppy mill response for The HSUS, said, "No animal should ever be forced to live in conditions like this. We're thankful to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for taking action and letting us help rescue these animals. Now, they'll get the opportunity to live happy, healthy lives."
In addition, rescuers found more than 60 other animals, including 11 exotic birds, 19 chickens, 20 horses, and multiple cats, bunnies, and turtles on the property. Some of the animals were in need of immediate medical care; others were underweight or suffering from eye conditions and dental problems.
Sheriff Gerald Robinson said, "Irresponsible breeders fuel the animal overpopulation crisis, but through the concerted efforts of our office along with The HSUS, we are relieved that all animals rescued today can now receive the care that they've so desperately needed. These animals will no longer be subjected or forced to live in such deplorable conditions that we consider a 'sanitary nuisance.' Considering the cost associated with the shelter and veterinarian expenses of the rescued animals, our agency would not have been able to sustain the financial burden without the direct involvement of The HSUS."
The HSUS's Animal Rescue Team has removed all of the animals from the property pending the final disposition of this case. At the temporary emergency shelter, the animals will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians, and will receive any necessary immediate medical treatment.
PetSmart Charities is providing the necessary food, supplies, and enrichment items for the dogs. This rescue was made possible in part because of the generosity of Louis Dorfman, a dedicated constituent, advocate and supporter of The HSUS.
Arkansas is one of the most problematic puppy mill states in the country and currently there is no law to protect these dogs. As a result, Arkansas has become a haven for some of the worst operators in the country. The HSUS will be working with lawmakers to pursue legislation to change this in 2015.
**Photos and video of this rescue will be available to media by request. B-roll video is available, too.