Breaking: Our team saves 114 dogs and puppies from North Carolina breeder

By Kitty Block

By on May 17, 2023 with 28 Comments

On Tuesday morning, our team arrived at a dog breeder’s property in North Carolina. Behind a chain link fence, dozens of Australian shepherds mixes paced back and forth, barking and peering out.

We were on site at the request of the local sheriff’s office to assist in the alleged cruelty case. The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office issued a search and seizure warrant for the property. Our rescue team has been hard at work preparing for this rescue operation—coordinating with veterinarians, planning how to safely and efficiently remove the animals from the property, arranging emergency sheltering and transportation for the animals, and deploying staff—in the weeks since law enforcement requested our assistance.

Leading up to this request for assistance, community members and individuals who reported buying sick puppies from the breeder raised concerns about the conditions on the property and welfare of the dogs and puppies living there.

Protect dogs from cruel puppy mills!

Our team went farther into the property and discovered multiple litters of puppies in outdoor kennels and pens where dogs were housed in groups. There were more than 30 dogs in a single yard, many barking, and some approaching our team cautiously, seemingly eager for affection. Many were pregnant or nursing. Standing pools of water across the yard, which the dogs were seen drinking from, had turned green.

A veterinarian accompanying our team noted some dogs were very thin, even emaciated, and some suffered from apparent skin issues, matting and eye issues. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

In the mobile home’s kitchen, rescuers discovered a mother dog in a wire crate with five tiny puppies, so young their eyes were still closed. When members of our team reached out to her, she wagged her tail and gave them little licks on their hands. Her food bowl was empty, and the water in her dish was dirty. In the freezer, our team discovered the bodies of dead puppies.

In the dark and dank living room, there were more mother dogs, and young puppies of varying ages wandering among clutter. One brown puppy sat nestled in computer cords and had hair missing on his face. A veterinarian accompanying our team noted some dogs were very thin, even emaciated with hip bones protruding and ribs clearly visible, and some suffered from apparent skin issues, matting and eye issues. Our team set up four veterinary stations to begin evaluating and treating them as soon as possible.

This rescue was possible because people spoke out. People who have bought puppies from this breeder issued complaints that document a history of alleged abuse and neglect: Puppies found suffering from severe lice and flea infestations, severe anemia, demodectic mange, hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and poor body condition.

We are honored to be able to rescue these dogs and transport them to get the care they need.

Our team set up four veterinary stations to evaluate and treat the dogs found at a breeder’s property in North Carolina. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

No dog should be born into such suffering, which is why we not only assist in the rescue of dogs from horrific situations like this one, but we also raise awareness about problematic breeders and puppy mills. Examples of that are our annual Horrible Hundred report exposing puppy mills across the U.S. and our recently issued report summarizing 15 years’ worth of buyer complaints about pet store puppies and puppy mill puppies; many of these complaints come from people who purchased puppies only to discover heartbreaking signs that the dog had come from an unscrupulous breeder who prioritized profit over the animal welfare. We also advocate for systemic change at the policy and enforcement levels to create a future where no companion animals must endure such treatment.

There’s a chance to help prevent dogs from living in such terrible conditions: Tell your lawmaker to support the Puppy Protection Act of 2023, which would strengthen the standards of care at commercial dog breeding facilities.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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  1. Maureen says:

    How can I adopt one of these dogs – in the NYC area?

  2. Diana Lewis says:

    Unbelievable rescue…yet again❣️Heartfelt gratitude!

  3. Lee Schelin says:

    How can anyone treat animals this way? They are the ones who should be locked up. We have a Rescue Aussie Shepard who is now 9 years old, a definite member of our family

  4. Karin Erker says:

    Schrecklich … danke für ihre Hilfe … was für brutale, herzlose Menschen …

  5. David Stansfield says:

    We live in Greensboro NC. We have fostered hundreds of dogs over the years. We can help with a short term foster if you need us

  6. David Stansfield says:

    I am also state representative for HSVMA

  7. Stacie Allen says:

    Why did it take 15 years for something to be done!

  8. Tania Tamie says:

    What happened to the monster breeder? They should be treated in a manner that would make an example for other breeders.

  9. VLB says:

    Will be the owners be charged with anything?

  10. Mary Broadway says:

    Thank you for your tireless effort to look after all animals.

  11. Kmn says:

    This guy will never quit this horror until you take ALL of his dogs and restrict him from owning dogs again. I can’t imagine why you let him keep some of his dogs (5) before when he was busted. We knew back then we’d be here again having to have more of these poor inbred dogs rescued. And here we are with the dogs paying the price.

    • Brenda L Pletcher says:

      Perfectly Said!! And the Guy \ owners need to get in trouble for what they put these poor babies through for years instead of just a slap on the hand! Punish him like he has punished these poor babies all these years!!

    • Cheral Rallock says:

      Because animal welfare is under the auspices of the USDA and has so many other priorities, like ensuring food animals are sufficient fly safe enough for human consumption, that conventional pet-class animals take a distant thousandth place.
      Our local animal services groups across the nation need to have improved communications with each other so that they can speak with a unified voice to state and federal legislatures and truly reform and fund animal rights and enforcement.

  12. Renee Landry says:

    Thank you. I’d like to adopt. I am in NC.

  13. Linda says:

    How do we adopt them? We are in Michigan

  14. Jeff Dickson says:

    You are advised about this 10 years prior to the incident. Why did it take you so long to do anything?

  15. Gabriela says:

    Hey! I would love to adopt one of them! What’s the process that we need to follow? I live in Kansas City and happy to go to South Carolina.

  16. Sandra says:

    Just donated, as I have been doing for years. Thank you for all you do! ❤️

  17. Amanda says:

    We are a non profit rescue in NY. We can assist with the pregnant dogs, bottle babies or nursing moms. Thank you for getting them to saftey.

  18. Dixie Roden says:

    I live in NC and work remote I can foster and or adopt if needed and if space in rescue shelters are scarce. God bless you and the pups for giving them a chance at a real loving life.

  19. Christine Taylor says:

    Is there an update on how the dogs are pulling thru?

  20. Nancy Vysocka says:

    I am interested in adopting or fostering. I would like some information. I live in NC.

  21. Gael Ross says:

    I live in North Carolina and this was the first of two cases of a puppy mill disaster. Until the laws are changed, nothing else will change! We have more rules and regulations and penalties for wildlife than we do for our domestic animals.

    The ALDF needs to get involved, but where are they? I believe there was another horrific situation with Yorkies this week as well.
    Anyway, NOTHING will be done until there are serious consequences.

  22. Phyllis says:

    i had a maltese for 14 yrs she passed away in feb and i miss her . i can’t seem to find a small dog to give a good home to i checked the shelters with no luck findind a small dog. i would like to get a yorkie .any help would be apprciated.

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