Dogs Rescued from Arkansas Mill, Where Cold Compounds Misery

By on February 20, 2015 with 19 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

The bracing freeze that has enveloped so much of the country reminds us of the power of nature and our vulnerability to the extremes of climate. During a time like this, those of us in cold-weather climates bundle up head to toe to go outside, steel ourselves, and rush to get back inside a protected space – a home, a car, or an office building. But also at a time like this, we think about the animals who have only one coat and very limited access, or no access at all, to shelter and heat.

Yesterday, with the cold front gripping the South, including Arkansas, a band of rescuers entered a suspected puppy mill in Warm Springs to remove 46 dogs – most of them Great Pyrenees – and 11 other animals from appalling conditions. Even veteran HSUS staff and volunteers, law enforcement officials, and local rescue groups  who participated in the rescue, including the Randolph County Humane Society, Humane Society of Saline County, and CARE for Animals, were startled by what they saw: dogs tied up outside, with no protection from the bitter temperature and piercing winds. Some animals had icicles hanging off their bodies. Those who were indoors were living on piles of feces and urine.

Some of the animals were suffering so severely that they needed urgent medical care. In this video, you can see the hope in the face of this dog – so emaciated that he could not move – as Ashley Mauceri, our cruelty response manager, stroked his head and then carried him out to safety.

Like Randolph County Sheriff Gary Tribble, said: “It’s frustrating to see these animals living without basic care – especially during these freezing temperatures.”

These dogs, as sad as their story so far has been, started their new lives yesterday.  But so many thousands of others won’t see our teams rush toward them. Arkansas, which ranked among the five worst puppy mill states in our 2014 puppy mills report, has no law protecting dogs in commercial breeding facilities. Law enforcement cannot call us in to help the animals until the situation has already deteriorated to the level of animal cruelty. It should not be this way. The HSUS is working with lawmakers in Arkansas right now to get a bill on track to remedy this gap in the law, requiring any breeder with 10 or more dogs to be licensed and inspected by their county.

We have made strides in the fight against puppy mills, especially with the passage of a federal rule cracking down on puppy mills that sell pets online (like the Arkansas facility). But there is a challenging path forward, with thousands of puppy mills still operating in the United States today and an industry highly resistant to change.

Until the pet industry commits to supporting more humane standards of care, the only way we can succeed in helping every animal and eradicating puppy mills is when masses of people stop buying dogs from pet stores or over the Internet, and instead deal only with animal shelters, breed rescues or small, responsible breeders. Your support for our work enables these life-saving interventions.


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  1. ChrIstina Marti says:

    horrendous stop puppy mills Kennel Club is just as guilty

  2. kim says:

    i appreciate all you people do, and i don’t know how you manage it because i would kill the person responsible and go to prison, so……i keep coming back to the same idea, why can’t we have HARSH penalties for this? if they only get a slap on the wrist they go right back to it, wouldn’t it be smarter to stop it before it starts?

  3. Eileen goodman says:

    Who in authority can do something? Puppy mills should be banned, shut down, made illegal! The USDA doesn’t seem to do anything.
    What about congress? What about the president?
    They should all see the pictures and be told how inhumane it is!

  4. Laura says:

    Why don’t you publish the name of the individual or entity against whom the search warrant was executed and location of the property? That is public record. The responsible persons will be named and shamed and the Arkansas legislators who get political contributions from the commercial breeders will be put in the public spotlight when confronted with why they think this situation is OK, although they all no doubt lack the capacity for shame.

    • David Bernazani says:

      Laura: this is an excellent suggestion, and one I’ve asked many times myself. I wish they would post the name, address and photo of the person(s) responsible for such.cruelty.

  5. Lisa Kuehl says:

    Was this breeder licensed by the USDA, or selling any type of “registered” puppies, or connected in any way to any type of inspection entity? And can you please tell us what prompted the Sheriff to get a search warrent? Was the breeder suspected of violating Arkansas or county animal welfare codes and did the Sheriff have any “real time” evidence of this, or was this breeder breeding without some sort of required license? Please share this so we can all learn how this transpired. There are not nearly enough searches and seizures of dog breeding facilities around the country, resulting in far too many animals allowed to suffer needlessly when help could and should be readily available.

  6. Frannie says:

    I agree with wondering why the penalties of these mill operators are not stiffer.. There should be no secrecy on who is doing what….find them, rescue them and the owners need stiff punishment…Seems this issue is getting worse, for what, a few bucks, and a lot of misery for the animals…..what about property seizure? Something has to change in this mess……There has to be a way to make sure they don’t move to a new area, and start all over again…Thanks to the Humane Society for helping these dogs…..yes, I am a member…..

  7. Liz says:

    Education is the key….tell everyone you know to look to the shelters for a pet instead of breeders! If they must go to breeder – don’t adopt unless you have seen with your own eyes how the mother of the puppy is kept, what conditions she lives in- AND if everyone STOPPED buying animals from the dispicable disgusting people that treat animals poorly they would have no motivation to continue breeding…. I support several animal organizations but I wish I could see significant money spent on educating the public – so this type of breeder is out of business- I know a 30 second spot on the Super Bowl would be very costly – but imagine the impact!

  8. Rosemary Packard says:

    These horrible people need to be severely punished

  9. Terrie says:

    I agree that puppy mills need to be banned and the owners should be put in prison for more than 1 to 3 years, this includes the Amish who can breed them as live stock. But they get out of jail and reopen again and sell these puppies again it is the same with the dog fighters, Michael Vick stopped fighting dogs and is now a big football hero everyone forgave him, what about the dogs he killed and the people in the organization that were with him they still are at it a never ending story.

  10. BunRabit says:

    Puppy mills are so bad. I wish is people would stand up to this stuff. These things are a great big factor to what adds up… Many many dogs die and suffer in these harsh living conditions. I hope and pray that we will sand up to this in the near future.

  11. Dava. White says:

    I have rescued 2 dogs from Kentucky they are Great Pyrenees that have been abused. I live in the state of New York and I contacted the National Great Pyrenees Rescue to have Marvel Max brought up here so I could adopt him he is 6 years old and loving life now.Can I find out what is happening to these dogs now and especially the one that was in the house that couldn’t walk???

  12. Larry Haney says:

    Does anyone know if the Pekinese breeders at Prim, Arkansas are legal? Lots of dogs in cages on end of building. 589 Hanover Road.

    • eilish palmer says:

      I’ve been wondering the same thing? It used to be certified under Mountain Top Kennel owned by Huey Knapp. Now it is no longer listed as certified yet the dogs were there as of yesterday.

      • Gigi says:

        hey guys I go to the University of Arkansas and I’m interested in maybe investigating this location for a story I’m writing. Does anyone have any further information? Like whether it’s still operating or if it’s still there?

  13. Donna Lysinger says:

    I’m glad to hear of the people that rescure these dog’s that awesome. Thank you I think your pay is the look on these animal’s face’s & the happiness they show you all for giving them a chance & a chance for a loving home from filth & abuse.

  14. Sabine Schreindorfer-Gruber says:

    Please help!!

  15. Lily R. says:

    We all know that the pet industry is not going to commit to support “more” humane standards. They are in it for the money, just greed. The public needs to be educated about the consequences of buying live animals at pet shop or breeders. They are accomplices in crime.
    Laws that apply severe consequences will be the only deterrent for people to stop exploiting animals. It is time to stop begging them to be humane and start getting united to stop the abuse, there is strength in numbers.

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