US News: Horrendous cruelty – 1,000 dogs and pups rescued in puppy mill expose

Yesterday’s Washington Post covered the rescue of hundreds of ill-treated dogs and puppies – victims of greedy breeders in the puppy mill trade. It is estimated that this case is probably the largest of its kind to come ot light, both at the state and country level in the US.

(photo source: HSUS)

The doggies’ plight came to light because of the HSUS‘s five-month, undercover investigation into Virginia puppy mills. (Video report accessible here)

(photo source: HSUS)

The Washington Humane Society is one of the many local animal-rescue groups helping to care for the rescued dogs.

Why do puppy mills exist? It is because of human greed and vanity, fuelled by consumers’ ignorance and condoning. And yes, the puppy mills have equally exploitative sisters in kitten mills.

Purebred kitties seized from a breeder in the States. 

Don’t think it’s something that doesn’t happen in Singapore. It does. On this blog entry is a sample list of breeder/pet trade news in Singapore, and none of it is positive.

While we’ve not read about undercover investigations by local animal welfare groups, one thing is for sure: puppy mills DO exist in Singapore, as surely as greedy pet sellers exist, and pet-buyers support the business.

How can you BUY a friend? Have you ever wondered if your pet supplier is an ethical businessperson? How do you reconcile yourself with the possibility of your best friend’s mum and dad being exploited to make puppies – doesn’t their well-being mean anything to you?

Please, adopt, don’t buy. Do not breed or buy while shelter animals die.

The Washington Post article:

Dogs’ Best Friends to the Rescue
Volunteers Rush to the Aid of Animals Seized at Suspected Va. Puppy Mill

By Annie Gowen and Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 10, 2007; A01

Some of the adult dogs arriving at the Montgomery County animal shelter Thursday acted like newborn pups with splayed legs, wobbly as they tried to walk. They had never been on solid ground.

At first, they didn’t know how to eat from a bowl, so accustomed were they to the troughs at the puppy mill in southwestern Virginia from which they had just been rescued. Several had matted hair around their eyes and couldn’t see. The pads of their feet were sore or cut from being confined to wire cages.

Suzanne D'Alonzo from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria helps unload seized puppies and dogs at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Suzanne D’Alonzo from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria helps unload seized puppies and dogs at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
(By Carol Guzy — The Washington Post)

When word of the dogs’ plight surfaced this week on the Web site of the Humane Society of the United States — that officials in Carroll County, Va., had seized nearly 1,000 dogs from a suspected puppy mill — reaction from animal lovers was immediate and intense.

Volunteers from the Washington region joined others from Florida and New York who streamed to the rural town of Hillsville near the North Carolina border. Families began calling to ask when they could adopt the dogs. Donations rolled in; PetSmart sent a trailer full of kibble and other supplies.

“It’s been incredible,” County Administrator Gary Larrowe said of the outpouring. Larrowe had declared a state of emergency after hundreds of dogs were found living in filthy cages late last week. Officials said they think it is the largest suspected puppy mill ever found in the state.

Volunteers from a local animal rights group said that when they visited dog breeder Junior Horton’s property in undercover fashion, they were overwhelmed by the numbers of dogs crammed into wire cages in several outbuildings. In one, whelping mothers lay with their distended bellies under heat lamps, waiting to give birth. The dogs appeared to have food and water, but feces under their cages had not been cleaned.

Larrowe said Horton had a local license to run a kennel for 500 animals and had exceeded that twofold. He also did not have the required U.S. Department of Agriculture license that would allow him to sell dogs to commercial operations such as pet stores.

Carroll Sheriff H. Warren Manning said that the matter has been referred to the commonwealth’s attorney. A decision on whether to file criminal charges against Horton is expected within a few weeks.

A man who answered the phone yesterday at Horton’s Pups identified himself as Tim Bullion, Junior Horton’s employee. “We just ain’t talking to any press right now or no newspapers,” Bullion said.

Representatives from animal welfare groups from the Washington area began making their way back home Thursday and yesterday with dozens of puppies and dogs awaiting homes.

In Montgomery, animal welfare advocates drove the puppies five hours from a staging area in Virginia to a shelter in Rockville. Fifteen workers helped to get the dogs situated in large dog runs with heated floors partly lined with blankets and towels for sleeping.

Some of the animals were reluctant to come out of their carriers at first, cowering when the doors opened. One young female poodle would not budge.

A 4-year-old Pekingese “spent her whole life in that crate, delivering litter after litter after litter,” said J.C. Crist, president of the Montgomery Humane Society.

The animals were groomed and vaccinated. They also got names — Pearl the poodle, Snook the Puggle and Red Sox, a Boston terrier.

“They have toys now, but a lot of them don’t know what to do with them,” said Ashley Owen, a Montgomery shelter official. “They were deprived of playtime, affection, love, attention, toys, bones.”

In Fairfax County, animal control officers returned late yesterday with 32 dogs of all ages, including some that were pregnant. They said the dogs needed to be examined and given a rabies vaccination, if appropriate, before they can be adopted. The dogs — which were distributed among shelters in Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington County and the District — won’t be available for adoption until at least next week, officials said. Loudoun County officials also brought back some of the dogs.

“We’ve gotten calls all day from people who are very interested in coming in to help,” said Karen Diviney, director of the Fairfax animal shelter. “The phone has been ringing really all day.”

It was dark outside the Fairfax shelter yesterday and dripping chilly rain when the dogs arrived, and the police trailer they arrived in was emblazoned with an ominous label: MAJOR INCIDENT SUPPORT UNIT.

But inside the trailer, the poufy white Lhasa apsos and curly-coated poodles looked joyous, leaping up and down on the pastel-colored towels that lined their cages and yelping to the shelter staffers and police officers who cooed over them.

“That is the cutest little haircut,” said Diviney, pointing to a bichon fris¿ with a mass of fur covering its eyes. “That one looks like a little Jack Russell. And this one is going to end up in my right pocket!”

Animal welfare advocates say that puppy mills — unlicensed, illegal facilities that breed large numbers of purebred puppies — have proliferated as demand has increased and dogs have become easier to buy, over the Internet or through newspaper ads. Such animals are often kept in small wire cages, receive inadequate veterinary care and are not domesticated, advocates say.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Tara deNicolas, a spokeswoman for the Washington Humane Society. Although large puppy mills are often found in Midwestern farm states, her group recently rescued three beagles from an illegal operation in Southeast Washington.

Stephanie Shain, director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign for the Humane Society, said her group started an investigation of puppy mills in Virginia last year after receiving calls from people who adopted animals from pet store that were unhealthy and died.

Undercover investigators from animal rights groups visited Horton’s property several times between April and August and made hidden-camera video recordings of hundreds of dogs kept outside in wire containers. The dogs were all manner of breeds, including Yorkshire and Boston terriers, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, poodles and Jack Russell terriers. The activists showed their video to Carroll officials, who began their investigation.

(Videos can be seen on the Humane Society’s Web site at

Juan Lopez, director of rescue operations for the Montgomery Humane Society, said he was stunned to see where the hundreds of dogs were penned up, in rabbit hutches on stilts lined along a sloping valley.

“That’s when it hit me — the sheer number and the sheer lack of compassion,” he said. “All of these animals were used for production, and that’s it.”

Staff writer Karin Brulliard and staff researcher Karl Evanzz contributed to this report.


10 responses to “US News: Horrendous cruelty – 1,000 dogs and pups rescued in puppy mill expose

  1. this is unnacceptable we need to make this illeagal this is not how we should treat animals that have saved lives and done services to our country puppy mills are unnacceptable STOP THEM NOW what are we primates or something cause if we are lets take tv or a micro wave huh would we treat our soldiers like this would we then why do we treat them like this they serve our country just as well as help the poor or make families happy they do A LOT so whats is this some kind of breeding facility this is crap we need to stop this NOW!!!!!!!! i am a young adult i care help make this illeagal the people who do this are idiot and deserve to have the things they dot o these dogs done to them and then put them in jail for the rest of there life instead of letting them get away with everything!

  2. Fred Snuffbucket

    Puppy mills exist BECAUSE OF THE GREED OF THE “REGULAR BREEDERS.” I have been trying to find a Maltese pup for three years now that doesn’t cost as much as a Buick. I don’t need any kind of AKA registration or any of the other things that the “Regular Breeders” claim. All I want is a Maltese pup under $200.00. My first dog was free. She was a loveable dog who lived better than I did. My second dog cost me $10.00 at the aspca and $80.00 to get spay. But now some of the GREEDY REGULAR BREEDERS(THE ALLEDGED GOOD GUYS) WANT $850.00 TO $2700.00 FOR A PUPPY. Is it any wonder puppy mills exist? The Regular Breeders and their prices are the DIRECT CAUSE OF PUPPY MILLS.

  3. alexandra pahlke

    i got a puppy 4 my ninth birthday,BUT LITTLE DID I KNOW HE WAS FROM A PUPPY MILL . he he had anxciiety issues and attacked everyone who tried to approuch me! we had to put him down. Still almost two years later and its still a heart brake, he never ment any harm he was just confuised and scared. ) : I MISS YOU POKO!!!!!! xo

    • your stupid

      your a idiot. you had it put down cause it had anxiety? what a reason! maybe your parents should have done that to you then the world would be a better place.

  4. This is soo sad! I don’t know how people could be so mean and do stuff like this to these poor animals. i think all the people that own puppy mills should be locked up for life and even maybe killed its a sin what these animals go threw.

  5. this is so sad especyly for somen peopel tat loves puppys tay shod put a law stoping this stuff wat if tat person was a dog and tat hapend to teme tey wodnot liket so tey shode stop



  8. OMG! This should totally be illegal. it’s so disgusting on how these animals are treated. i can’t believe a human can be so cruel. it’s like a holocaust for animals!

  9. i had a pitbull breed from a puppy mill she was so scared of every thing, and to top it off my abusive father nearly killed her with bullets, beatings, and a car! i would absolutely love to kill anyone who participates in making a puppy mill!