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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue


350 dogs rescued from 'horrific' conditions

About 350 dogs living in "horrific" conditions - most suffering from lacerations, skin and eye infections, and severely matted fur - have been rescued from a breeder in Arkansas who tried to make his operation seem legitimate by providing purebred registration papers to unsuspecting buyers.

The dogs - mostly Shih Tzus, Poodles, Akitas, Shelties - were found living in dilapidated structures on an 82-acre property near Paris, Arkansas, according to the Humane Society of the United States.


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HSUS, United Animals Nations, Humane Society of Missouri and local law enforcement authorities seized 17 miniature ponies, six cats and several exotic birds and turtles in addition to the dogs.

"People were buying the puppies without knowing the cruelty they were supporting," HSUS Arkansas state director Desiree Bender states in a media release. "It is vital that anyone buying a puppy go and see where they were born, meet the parent dogs and ensure they are being well cared for."

Purebred registration papers from several kennel clubs to help make the operation appear legitimate were recovered, Bender said. The puppies were being sold over the Internet and by other methods.

According to the HSUS, many disreputable breeders sell their dogs over the Internet and through newspaper ads. They often sell several breeds, but may advertise each breed in a separate places or web sites. These breeders are not required to be inspected by any federal agency and, in many states, are not inspected at all.

"Most people don't realize that this is the cruel reality behind those cute puppies for sale in pet stores and online," Bender said. "These dogs were kept in tiny cages and forced to breed continuously for the profit of the mill owners."

Many of the animals obviously had never known life outside their wire cages and some of the first dogs freed were day-old puppies, rescue officials said.

The animals were taken to a temporary emergency shelter where they were checked by veterinarians and given immediate medical care. Supplies - such as wire crates, dog food and bedding - were provided by PetSmart Charities.

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"United Animal Nations volunteers are working hard to get the dogs settled and cared for," said Janell Matthies, UAN emergency services manager. "They seem to be acclimating nicely and are beginning to interact with their caretakers. We are even seeing an occasional tail wag."