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More Than 50 Dogs, 6 Cats Rescued from Suspected Henrietta Puppy Mill

Woman found selling dogs online through multiple websites

Rescuers are removing dogs and cats from a suspected Rutherford County, North Carolina, puppy mill. Authorities became concerned about the welfare of the animals after they responded to a complaint and found the animals living in filth and suffering from a lack of basic care.

Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office found the woman, who was previously charged with animal cruelty in 2002, was selling the dogs online through various websites. The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society of Charlotte, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, Cashiers Highlands Humane Society and Iredell County Animal Shelter assisted with the rescue and removal of the dogs.

Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The HSUS, said: “These dogs were forced to live in an egregious environment where profit was put above the welfare of animals. We’re thankful to Rutherford County Animal Control for catching up to this repeat offender and that we were able to help these animals.”

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Upon arriving at the scene, rescuers found a variety of small breed dogs and puppies, living in deplorable conditions and suffering from a multitude of untreated medical conditions. Many of the animals were suffering with matted fur, skin, eye and ear infections and were living in feces and filth.

Lieutenant Leon Godlock said: “It’s frustrating to see these animals living in such horrific conditions. We’re grateful to the team here today and for the care these animals will receive moving forward.”

There are no specific North Carolina laws to protect dogs sold directly to the public or online by commercial breeding facilities. Law enforcement officers, therefore, are unable to prevent neglect until it reaches crisis proportions. As a result, North Carolina has become a haven for some of the worst puppy mill operators in the country. This is the 21st rescue The HSUS has assisted with in North Carolina since June 2011.

The groups will safely transport the dogs to local placement partners where they will be thoroughly examined by teams of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment.

The HSUS has established a reward program to offer up to $5,000 to anyone who provides 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.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson, 240-672-8397, ksanderson@humanesociety.org 

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