Our work to tackle the puppy mill scourge is multifaceted and includes a range of tactics. We appeal to consumers to adopt animals from rescue groups and animal shelters, or to adopt from responsible breeders. We persuade pet stores to discontinue their reliance on puppy mills as a source of animals, and enlist them in the important work that humane societies and rescue organizations are doing in promoting adoption at these stores. We advance legislation to curb puppy mill abuse and restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs. We uncover and expose harsh realities in the commercial pet breeding industry, through investigations and through the publication of our annual Horrible Hundred reports. And we work with law enforcement to shut down some of the worst mills in the country.

We are also involved in direct response to puppy mill situations in which our expertise and resources are of value. The members of our puppy mills campaign and our Animal Rescue Team keep close watch on the industry and have honed their skills over decades of responding to situations of puppy mill abuse and neglect. We have the ability to provide financial assistance to shelters struggling to care for an unexpected influx of animals from a puppy mill rescue. And we have a wide nationwide network of shelter and rescue partners with the ability to ensure that the animals, who are coming out of difficult situations, get the care and attention they need and the opportunity to move on to happier lives.

A recent case in Louisiana demonstrates how we deploy our resources and activate our partnerships when animals are in need of help.

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One dacshund appeared to have lost all of her fur.

One dacshund appeared to have lost all of her fur.[/caption]

Last month, we received a tip via our online puppy mill complaint form about a possible puppy mill in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. The HSUS responded by contacting St. Landry Parish Animal Control & Rescue and St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department, and that tip led to the rescue of more than 60 dogs.

The dogs were suffering from severe neglect. One dachshund appeared to have lost all of her fur, while others were living in filthy kennels with feces littering the ground and standing puddles of water covering the limited floor space. These conditions are all too common in puppy mills, where dogs are treated not as beloved family members but as agricultural and/or commercial commodities.

The shelter in St. Landry couldn’t handle all the dogs so some of the dogs were taken in by the Louisiana SPCA. One of our partners, the Humane Society of Tulsa, stepped up by taking the remaining dogs back to their facility to prepare them for transport and adoption. The staff members at the humane society in Tulsa are experts in handling dogs who are victims of cruelty and neglect. They performed medical evaluations to ensure that the dogs were healthy for transfer to other HSUS Shelter and Rescue Partners, but our plans received a temporary setback when one dog tested positive for distemper: not surprising because many puppy mills do not vaccinate or provide proper medical care for the dogs, leaving them exposed to diseases. It did mean, however, that all of the rescued dogs had to be segregated, delaying their chances of going to shelters for adoption and into forever homes.

The HSUS came forward to help with financial assistance for the treatment of the dogs, and we will provide additional funding for specialized testing and treatment if necessary. Meanwhile, the dogs are getting all the love and kindness they were deprived of for so long, even as their extensive medical needs are met, and they will remain in the expert care of the Humane Society of Tulsa team until each dog is cleared through additional testing.

Once the dogs are healthy enough for transport and adoption, we will work to place them with our shelter and rescue partners, including the Louisiana SPCA, the Humane Society of Tulsa, and others standing at the ready to ensure the happiest of outcomes for these animals.

The dogs are now in good hands, and we are glad we could help remove them from the misery of a puppy mill and improve their lives. But none of this important work we do can happen without you. Your donation to the HSUS puppy mills campaign will ensure that we can continue helping animals in abusive situations from which they otherwise have no escape. Please consider making a contribution, and know that it will make possible a brighter future for animals like these when the next deployment occurs.
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