It began on Wednesday evening with an anonymous call from an area resident in the north Georgia county of Habersham complaining about excessive dog barking. What officers discovered, when they arrived at the property was both shocking and deplorable. They encountered a puppy mill; hundreds of animals had been lined up in rows – barely existing in plastic tubs filled with their own feces and urine. Some were so matted, they could barely walk, eat or relieve themselves. Many of the puppies suffered from eye, ear and skin conditions. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the Habersham County Department of Animal Care and Control immediately secured a warrant for the property and called the Animal Crimes unit with the HSUS for assistance.
By early Thursday morning, HSUS staff members, law enforcement officials, and local humane groups raided the property. They seized more than 350 dogs, cats, and other animals from squalid, deficient conditions. Donkeys, a horse, bunnies, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, sheep, and an alpaca were found on the property searching for food and clean water.
Working side by side with Habersham County and with support from Cashier’s Highland Humane Society, RescueBank, Greater Good, Save the Horses, Cornerstone Animal Hospital, Humane Society of North East Georgia, Northeast Veterinary hospital, PAWS Bryson City, Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement and other neighboring welfare organizations, the dogs have been removed as well as the other animals.
In the Humane Society of the United States press release,
“We never expected to discover something of this magnitude in our own backyard,” said Madi Hawkins, director of HCACC. “I’m grateful to our dedicated and compassionate staff who have been on scene over 24 hours and will continue to be here until the last animal is rescued. This is a heartbreaking situation, and it’s not an easy task to be present to witness this kind of cruelty.”
The HSUS and Cashiers Highland Humane are safely transporting the dogs, cats, bunnies and birds to a temporary emergency animal shelter, where they will be thoroughly examined by teams of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care. Rescue Bank is providing the necessary food for the dogs. The horse and farm animals are being transported to Horse Inc.
The case remains under investigation. There are still estimated to be more than 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States. The challenge is to close them all down – how these animals are forced to live is beyond reprehensible.
(Photos and video of puppy mill in North Georgia courtesy of HSUS, Frank Loftus) To donate to this organization, please click here.
Check out the video. No animal should have to live like this: