North Carolina puppy miller who headlined our Horrible Hundred report convicted of animal cruelty

By on August 21, 2020 with 16 Comments

In March, I shared with you this photo of a dog who was rescued from a puppy mill in Caldwell County, North Carolina, along with more than 30 others. This week, the breeder responsible for her condition pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 18 months probation. She is also prohibited from owning or possessing animals for sale during this period.

This is a positive outcome to a case that shocked so many Americans and threw into sharp focus the horror animals endure in puppy mills. When the dog was found by her rescuers, she was all skin and bones, riddled with parasites and lethargic. She was also pregnant with seven puppies, four of whom died at birth; the remaining three required hospitalization and round-the-clock care to survive.

The animals were taken in by the Caldwell County Animal Shelter and the staff there did a tremendous job caring for the dogs, which was not easy since many had serious health issues.

[Dogs shot, starved and neglected: HSUS’s eighth Horrible Hundred report delves into the cruel world of puppy mills]

Unfortunately, a major obstacle in getting justice for these animals was North Carolina’s lack of a puppy mill law. After her arrest the breeder was only charged for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and it was unclear if she would ever be brought to justice. For nine months our puppy mills and animal rescue teams kept up the pressure on local law enforcement authorities to ensure that the case was taken to court. We turned on the media spotlight and featured the breeder—who was linked to the American Kennel Club—on the cover of our latest annual Horrible Hundred puppy mills report highlighting some of the most problem mills in the United States.

We also assisted the local shelter, which is in a rural and underserved area, with food donations and grants to help care for the dogs.

With our local partners, we were able to secure the best justice possible for these animals under existing law. But we realize that North Carolina – like many other states — needs stronger laws so that no breeder who denies animals the most basic needs gets away with just a misdemeanor charge. Organizations like the AKC have consistently fought the creation of such laws, but with your support we will not rest until we have changed that.

With the conclusion of this case, the dogs, who had been in legal limbo since their rescue last year, can now be adopted out. Many of the dogs are now eight-month-old puppies who have lived in the shelter since birth, and they deserve a chance at a loving home.

[No good news for dogs as AKC announces its most popular breeds]

We are happy that these animals, who have endured so much suffering, will move on to a better future. The HSUS will help transport them to our trusted shelter and rescue partners next week, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on their journey to their forever families.

P.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just filed charges against Jeff Lowe who now owns Joe Exotic’s roadside zoo, GW Exotics, in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. The allegations include failure and/or refusal to provide access to USDA inspectors for the purpose of conducting inspections at his roadside zoo, repeated failures to maintain records that fully and correctly disclose the acquisition and disposition of animals, repeated failures to handle animals carefully, and repeated failures to provide adequate veterinary care to animals. We hope that the agency will next revoke his license permanently and confiscate the animals in his care. We’ll continue to bring you further updates on the blog.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Mona Hlasny says:

    I am so grateful – that the HSUS intervenes in such horrific, evil conditions certain animals must live in – because of their ignorant owners. Hopefully, these evil beings (they’re not human) will forever be banished from owning anymore animals to torture and or eventually murder. Animals have just as much a right to live out their own lives naturally, safely, and comfortably, in their natural surroundings, just as we do!

  2. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Ya no podemos permitir que mas animalitos sigan sufriendo, esto ya tiene que acabar no podemos permitir mas abusos y maltratos a los seres vivos

  3. peyton says:

    Poor dogs. I feel the convict should be punished much longer than 18 months. they should be punished for a lifetime. They should get the same punishment as you would if you did that to a human. animals NEED the same equality.

    • Nancy Gould says:

      Yes a lifetime prohibited from having animals. The starved dogs will have medical problems the rest of their lives. They killed he babies by not providing medical care.

    • Linda L Kreuzer says:

      I think you need the law we have in Pa, but also when dogs are this bad, they should absolutely never be allowed to breed dogs ever again on penalty of a prison sentence and never own a pet again except under some kind of supervision like we have children returned home from foster placement.

      • Sandra Haigler says:

        Why are puppy mills allowed when there are so many animals put down, (killed) in dog pounds? That doesn’t make any sense.

  4. annah says:

    The only way to stop these atrocities is if the government supported us by making a change in the laws against animal breeding, pet shops, backyard breeding and so forth, there is such desperation of change for the sentient beings the pain and neglect is clearly evident, we do not need any more animals, they mostly end up as strays, abandoned, killed or sold on social media sites these are living breathing beings not a commodity to be used and simply discarded, and yet our government is silent.

  5. Babette Messa says:

    Probation is a disgrace. Who is going to monitor her? Like all animal hating, cash loving puppy mill monsters, she is going to move to another state, align with like thinking haters and start all over again. These people need to be behind bars, someone controlling their lives – then they will understand what they did really is wrong.

  6. Dana Keefe says:

    Thank you HSUS for all that you do, and for the efforts to make the issues of animal neglect made known as much as possible. Let’s all take time to write the AKC!

  7. Vicki says:

    I agree the punishment should be much more severe..I don’t think they should ever be allowed to breed again if they treat an animal like this,

  8. Nancy Gould says:

    I agree that people who commit this torture should be banned for life from having dogs. The starved dogs will have health problems the rest of their shortened lives.

  9. Da Muller says:

    “…the breeder responsible for her condition pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and was sentenced to 18 months probation. She is also prohibited from owning or possessing animals for sale during this period.”

    The judge in this case is not fit to rule over this type of animal abuse: 18 months PROBATION (!) and “…prohibited from OWNING or POSSESSING animals FOR SALE” (!) DURING the probation. WHAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT IS THAT!? When laws fail the animals, the animals pay a high price.

    This breeder’s only goal was to PROFIT! Those who are involved with animals and who are profiting addicts, are a serious risk to all defenseless animals. The standard penalty for those who abuse any animal needs to be a BAN FROM ANIMAL OWNERSHIP!!!

  10. Linda mueller says:

    An 18 month probation is not nearly enough. I guarantee this is not the 1st dog to suffer such horrendous treatment under this woman’s care and won’t be the last! So, after 18 months she’s allowed to resume her puppy mill business?? C’mon NC!! You can do better than that. 18 mo. is a slap on the wrist. Thank you HSUS for all you do. I pray puppy mills everywhere will be shut down for good!!

  11. Christine says:

    They should be punished for much longer than 18 months. Lifelong would be the right punishment! 18 months is nothing and they will breed dogs again and they will suffer too. Very very sad!

  12. Lin Kreuzer says:

    Time to shut these puppy mills down for good! Any breeders must be registered in their state and be subject to rules and state inspections !

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