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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

100 dogs rescued from crude, dilapidated puppy mill

One hundred dogs - including a mother and her puppies living in a filthy, dirt-floor pen with an algae-lined bucket of mosquito-infested water and the others crammed into crude, wire-bottom cages stacked on each other in a dilapidated barn-like structure - have been rescued from breeder in Missouri.

Many of the dogs - mainly Jack Russell Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas,
Pomeranians and Poodle-mix breeds - are suffering from painful paw and knee injuries from lack of foot support from the wire-bottom cages, according to an animal welfare official. They also have skin, eye and ear infections; overgrown nails; parasites; fleas and dental disease.

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The Humane Society of Missouri says the animals, including the mother and pups - seen at left and below in photos from the HSMO - were crammed into too few cages for their number. The dogs were forced to live in "trash-strewn, filthy, dilapidated facilities ...with no access to exercise or interaction with humans," Humane Society of Missouri spokeswoman Tiffany Collins told Love of Dogs.

The 100 dogs as well as two cats were rescued by officials from the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force from an unlicensed dog breeder outside Rolla, Missouri.

Despite the condition of the dogs, Ms. Collins is optimistic about their chances of being rehabilitated and eventually placed into homes. "All will begin learning how to play with toys and interacting with humans on a daily basis," she said.

Some dogs will be temporarily placed in foster homes while others will work with staff at the humane society, Ms. Collins said. "We are hopeful that these dogs can be socialized and become part of loving homes."

The breeder had no license, which is a warning sign to anyone buying a pet, according to the Missouri Humane Society. "If you must, buy pets only from reputable, licensed breeders where you are permitted to see the parents and the living conditions of the puppy," Ms. Collins advises.

Some of the rescued dogs are shown in these photos provided by the Humane Society of Missouri. Above, a Cocker Spaniel is covered with feces from living in a cramped cage. Below are a frighten Chihuahua, left, a Jack Russell Terrier infant being syringe fed, right, and puppies in a wire pen.

Ms. Collins urges anyone who wants
to adopt a pet to first consider going to a humane society or animal shelter. "The best way to eliminate puppy mills is to never buy from a puppy store, the Internet or newspaper ads. Adopt from your local animal shelter, which has lots animals that will be wonderful pets."

The care and rehabilitation of the rescued dogs will be expensive, because they have had inadequate care for most of their lives, Ms. Collins said. "The public can make a donation to our Animal Cruelty Fund to help rescue and rehabilitate abused animals and provide humane education programs to prevent animal abuse."

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Those who are interested in adopting the animals or who would like to make a donation for their care should visit the Humane Society of Missouri.

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