I’ve written before about many websites that sell puppies over the Internet with cute photos and resolute assurances about healthy, happy dogs. But all too often, these claims hide the back story: the dogs are sourced from cruel puppy mills where breeding dogs live out their entire lives without basic care or attention. That’s why we’re urging the Obama administration to finalize a rule to regulate these online puppy sellers.
Photo: Allen E. Sullivan
Matted dogs await rescue in South Carolina.
Today in South Carolina, The HSUS’s Animal Rescue Team came to the aid of more than 200 dogs and puppies, along with dozens of birds and nine horses, living in awful conditions at a facility that sold puppies online using the name Calabel’s Designer Dogs.
The dogs range from tiny breeds such as Chihuahuas and Yorkies to larger golden retrievers and Doberman pinschers. The mill “has almost every breed under the sun,” says HSUS responder Ashley Mauceri. Nearly all the dogs, including pregnant females and mothers with nursing puppies, were living outdoors in overgrown pens and rabbit hutches encrusted with feces. Many had only filthy water to drink, little or no food, and inadequate living spaces.
Some dogs had open wounds covered in flies, and one poodle was especially emaciated and matted from head to toe—but Ashley says that like many of the animals, he seemed happy to get out of his pen and be carried to safety.
This rescue was set into motion when residents concerned about the animals’ welfare contacted The HSUS. Our anti-cruelty team coordinated with law enforcement, and today the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant to seize the animals. Weak laws against puppy mills make it possible for cruel conditions like these to go on for far too long .
Local agencies in Edgefield County simply don’t have the resources to care for hundreds of additional animals, so our Animal Rescue Team deployed to help. Our Shelter Services program also recently visited shelters in South Carolina to help support their work with additional resources and training. We’re grateful to the sheriff’s office for taking action, as well as to the Humane Society of Charlotte for assisting in the rescue and sending veterinarians to the scene. The HSUS is funding care for the horses, and we’ve set up an emergency shelter where we’ll care for the dogs and birds. There, they’ll receive clean food and water, veterinary checkups, and affection from our staff and volunteers to help put them on the path to better lives.