It’s happened in North Carolina again – not a civil rights controversy or a boycott, but yet another case of animal cruelty exposed. The Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the HSUS Animal Rescue Team to deliver 105 dogs from the bowels of yet another filthy, overcrowded puppy mill. There were cats and even goats living in unsafe conditions, with so many animals with untreated medical issues and in need of urgent veterinary care.
The animals, many of them older dogs, were living in dark, damp conditions inside wire cages surrounded by cobwebs. They were starving for human attention and many had rotting gums and teeth and other serious ailments. But despite their troubles and mistreatment at the hands of the people they’d known, many of the dogs greeted their rescuers with kisses and tail wags as they were removed from the cages that had imprisoned them for all of their days.
Altogether, we rescued nearly 150 animals in Cabarrus County yesterday. The HSUS has safely transported the dogs and cats to a temporary emergency animal shelter where they are now being examined by a team of veterinarians from Cabarrus Animal Hospital, who are also providing extensive and urgent medical care. The goats have been transported to a facility for large animals. Animal rescue volunteers and responders from Red Rover are assisting with the temporary caretaking of the dogs and cats, and Banfield has donated some medical supplies and provided volunteers.
North Carolina, through the years, has been a hotspot for this kind of cruelty. In recent years, always with the cooperation of local law enforcement, we’ve assisted with more than two dozen puppy mill rescue operations. Lawmakers have seen this misery documented time and again, but they’ve chosen not to pass any legislation to establish humane breeding standards. The only interventions that are allowed occur when the situation gets so dire for the animals that the puppy mill operators are in violation of state anti-cruelty laws.
The great cost is borne by the animals. And The HSUS bears the costs of care – with millions spent to look after the animals who have survived in the worst possible conditions. Why is it okay for lawmakers to allow these mills to flourish and to pass on the cost of care to non-profit organizations that repeatedly alert them to crisis situations for animals? This is an unfunded mandate, and an unfair burden, including for the law enforcement teams that deploy with us.
If we are to stop this cruelty from recurring, we need states with weak or no laws on puppy mills to enact meaningful reform. We’ve done more raids of mills in North Carolina than any other state, and it’s disgraceful that a majority of lawmakers stand idly by and let these dogs and other creatures endure this misery.