Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ninety-Eight Dogs and One Cat Rescued from Tennessee Puppy Mill

Submitted by EARS volunteer Debbie Ferguson of Kildeer, Illinois

Greetings from Lewisburg, Tennessee where United Animal Nations (UAN) volunteers from four states have just assisted The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department in liberating and sheltering 98 dogs and one cat from a puppy mill.
EARS volunteer Tracy Clark
from Cookeville, TN

Five UAN volunteers, myself included, assisted in Wednesday’s seizure after the Marshall County Sheriff convinced the owner to voluntarily surrender the animals, while the remaining UAN volunteers set up the shelter in a small but adequate area of a municipal building.

EARS volunteer Angel Zebraski
from Hampton, GA
The dogs are primarily small breeds: poodles, Chihuahuas, maltese, shih tzus, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, and various mixes, as well as two golden retrievers and a Great Pyrenees mountain dog. They were housed in assorted buildings on a rural property with the breeding dogs in a large barn-like facility with no heat and little natural sunlight. As is typical in puppy mill situations, the animals are in horrific condition, many so filthy and matted you can’t see their eyes, ears, mouth or feet. The mats are so thick and out of control they appeared to be limbs. Many have severe eye ailments, some have missing eyes, and a great number have little or no teeth. The dogs will soon be thoroughly checked by a veterinarian to determine any other injuries and ailments.

The process of getting the dogs to the HSUS vehicle was quite convoluted, as the buildings they were housed in sat a good distance from the road, up a very steep, narrow and winding dirt road, which had turned quite muddy from the previous days’ torrential downpour. Needless to say, it was impossible to get the HSUS transport vehicle up this road, so as each dog was removed from its cage, it was passed to a UAN handler, who took it to the intake station for numbering and a quick health check, then placed it in a cage on a small local Animal Control truck, driven down the hill to be removed by another handler and placed into a cage on the transport vehicle. Once the transport vehicle got to the temporary shelter, each dog was moved once more into its temporary home where it will remain until it is sent to an adoption shelter.

Most of the dogs were surprisingly comfortable being handled; in fact, it almost seemed like they knew what was happening and were patiently waiting their turn. Two dogs who were loose on the property even tried to climb into the back of the Animal Control vehicle on their own.

We are all already finding our favorites. One dog touched us all deeply, a poodle mix that was so matted you weren’t sure which end you were looking at. He was so scared, yet he kept coming to the edge of the cage just to get touched; we really couldn’t tell whether we were touching him or the matted twines of his hair. The Cavalier King Charles spaniels are already stealing everyone’s hearts with their sweet temperaments, and the tiny Chihuahuas are quickly showing some huge personalities. And of course, our three large dogs have got us all doing their bidding.

We are looking forward to getting to know all of our little charges over the next few days.

7 comments:

  1. This story is pulling on my heart strings. It illustrates that however badly these animals have been treated, they still welcome lots of love! Most assuredly a feeling they've never experienced. Congratulations to your whole entire team! AJ

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  2. When and how can you adopt one?

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  3. Emilie M Bottiggi in TN2/3/11, 11:33 PM

    Thanks for being there for us in TN! Wish I could have been there too, but the volunteer slots filled up fast! I actually live not far from Lewisburg. I have rescued two Poodles that were left in the outside "drop box" in the neighboring county. Made me think there had to be a Poodle PM nearby! Thought it was probably Poodle Palace PM as those Poodles looked like the ones I rescued. But it could have been this place. Sorry for the cold weather but at least no blizzards here like elsewhere in country!!!

    Emilie M Bottiggi
    UAN Volunteer in TN

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  4. I'm so proud to be a part of UAN - E.A.R.S. The things that this organization does for animals melts my heart. To see the picture of the 2 dogs at the back of the animal control truck brings tears to my eyes. You are doing such a wonderful thing to give these animals a truly better life. Thank you to everyone, great job!!!

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  5. First off, thank you to the amazing efforts of your volunteers and all the good work that is done. You all are our heroes. :)
    Second, please let us know how these wonderful dogs can be adopted when they are available for adoption. I am sure many people would like to know.
    Again, you all ROCK! :)

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  6. Hurray, Red Shirts! Another puppy mill hits the dirt, and 100 living beings have been rescued from their lives of abuse. Many thanks to Debbie Ferguson for this informative and well-written blog and the super photos!

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  7. I HOPE YOU TOOK THE 2 LOOSE DOGS ALSO.....A BIG BIG THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR RESCUE WORK...WHEN WILL THE LAWS BE IN FAVOR OF ANIMALS...IS THE OWNER IN JAIL???? .I WOULD TAKE HIM/HER BEHIND A SHED AND BEAT THE WHOLLY CRAP OUT OF HIM/HER.......

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