Editor's note: This release has been updated to reflect the final count of animals removed from the property.

The Humane Society of the United States is assisting the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office with the rescue of approximately 250 dogs and puppies as part of an alleged cruelty case at two large-scale puppy breeding operations in Milburn, Oklahoma. Oklahoma Humane Society is also assisting on-scene.

Local authorities served search and seizure warrants on two residential properties at approximately 8 a.m. Dogs and puppies were found living in poor and unsanitary conditions throughout the properties, many contained in outdoor pens with little protection from the elements. Veterinarians noted dogs with skin infections, eye issues and nasal discharge. One puppy was found to be in respiratory distress and was removed from the property immediately for emergency veterinary care.

“It’s a bleak existence for these dogs—no one would want to live like this,” said Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office for intervening on behalf of these animals and getting them the care they need.”

“The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is happy to partner with the Humane Society of the United States and appreciates their assistance in rescuing these animals in need,” said Sheriff Gary Dodd. “This is not in keeping with the Western way of life that we strive to protect every day. A culture in which both man and animal work together in a strong agricultural society where we protect and care for the animals that we also rely on. When presented with probable cause of alleged animal cruelty, we will not hesitate to act.”

One of the breeders has puppies listed for sale on the American Kennel Club’s website.

The breeders each advertise that they sell their dogs at the notorious Dog Alley flea market in Canton, Texas, which has been the subject of multiple animal welfare investigations and complaints over the years. This market allows unlicensed, uninspected breeders to sell animals directly to the public in dismal conditions. Investigations have revealed breeders selling puppies from filthy, overcrowded, tiny wire cages in close quarters with farmed and exotic animals.

“Puppy mills sell puppies to unsuspecting consumers who, misled by the AKC stamp of approval, assume the puppies are healthy and from a reputable, caring source. This situation underscores why families who choose to buy from a breeder cannot rely on AKC registrations or other endorsements—they must insist on visiting the facility in person to see the reality of the living conditions,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “Whether selling puppies through a pet store, online or at a notorious flea market, operations which place profits over the well-being of dogs will continue to perpetuate unthinkable suffering.”

The Humane Society of the United States is transporting the animals to a safe, undisclosed location where they will receive in-depth veterinary exams and much-needed care. RedRover responders are assisting with the daily care of the animals.

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