California is first state to ban sale of puppy mill animals

In what will become a significant blow to commercial pet breeders, generally referred to as the puppy mill industry, California pet stores will be required to get their puppies, kittens and rabbits from rescue organizations and shelters. Beginning in January 2019, only individuals will be able to purchase pets from private breeders. For pet stores, violators could face fines of $500 per offense.

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the law covering the entire state; 36 cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco, already have similar bans against large commercial breeding operations. The bill, A.B.485 has had strong support from animal welfare organizations and was written by Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Dababneh, two Democratic California Assembly members.

Arguments for the ban included how pet stores rarely know nor do they reveal the circumstances relative to the breeding of the dogs, cats and rabbits brought into their stores for retail sale. Puppy and kitten mills have long lists of inhumane conditions as to overcrowding, lack of care, lack of socialization and the very basics of humane care.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has opposed the legislation, claiming the new law would jeopardize hundreds of jobs. Pet stores, however have been dwindling in numbers for the past few years as public awareness of puppy mills draws the ire of animal advocates across the country. Still some pet store owners argue the ban prevents consumers from having their choice of purchasing a specific breed or simply not purchasing “someone else’s unwanted pet.”

“By cutting off the puppy mill pipeline that moves cruelly bred animals from across the country into California pet stores, A.B.485 will also help prevent California consumers from being duped into purchases that contribute to unconscionable animal ‘production’ and suffering,” the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a statement.

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(Photo of puppy mill operation via HSUS)

Check out how dogs live in puppy mills:


Crackdown on sales from puppy mills in California pet stores if governor signs

It could be a “win, win” for dogs, cats and rabbits in California Governor Jerry Brown signs a measure sent to his office on Thursday requiring pet stores to sell animals from shelters or rescue organizations.  California would become the first state to finally ban the sale of animals from “puppy mills” or large breeding operations.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the bill  by Democratic Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell would require pet stores to work with shelters if they want to sell pets. Thirty-six cities in California have already enacted similar bans, however a statewide ban does not exist. Spokesperson Brian Ferguson, for the governor, has declined to comment on whether the bill will be signed.

“Californians spend more than $250 million a year to house and euthanize animals in our shelters,” O’Donnell said. “Protecting the pets that make our house a home is an effort that makes us all proud.”

Although breeders would still be allowed to sell dogs, cats and rabbits directly to individuals wanting to purchase pets, the legislation is hoped to encourage families to adopt pets from shelters, work directly with breeders and to help ensure the pets are healthy and humanely bred – as opposed to the reckless breeding operations of mass puppy mills where dogs are treated as commodities and too often kept in atrocious conditions.

Specifically the bill would require pet stores to keep records showing where each pet originated and to display that information publicly. A violation of the law would carry a $500 civil fine.

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Shelter hopes to increase adoptions by removing controversial label – read more here.

Good Samaritan helps free this poor animal from wire fencing – watch the video here.


84 Great Danes rescued from New Hampshire puppy mill

On Friday morning, the Humane Society of the United States assisted the Wolfeboro Police Department with the rescue of 84 Great Danes caged inside of a New Hampshire mansion which appeared “stately and opulent from the outside,” however the inside of the home would tell a horrible story of neglect and abuse.

According to the organization’s press release, a search warrant was obtained by the Wolfeboro Police Department following an investigation beginning on May 8 concerning animal neglect allegations and barking dog complaints. When authorities arrived, they found the dogs living in horrendous conditions with limited food and water. Dogs lived amid piles of feces and urine, several had red, swollen eyelids and the smell of ammonia and raw chicken permeated the premises. Chief Dean Rondeau of the Wolfeboro Police Department had never seen such pitiful conditions:

 “I’ve never seen conditions this bad in more than 21 years of law enforcement. Words cannot describe the absolute abhorrent conditions these animals were living in. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to The Humane Society of the United States, Conway Area Humane Society and Pope Memorial SPCA, whose expert opinion and counsel was well-received, as well as the other local organizations who assisted at the scene.”

In Wayne Pacelle’s blog, he described in detail what responders first encountered when they walked into the home; that from the outside just looked so elegant:

“They told me that the first thing that hit them was an overpowering rancid and putrid smell, with ammonia levels so high in some rooms that the rescuers’ eyes teared up. There were feces and debris smeared across all the walls to the point where the windows were opaque. There were big dogs who had spent countless hours in cages…”

Some of the dogs were underweight and looked sad or broken. Their large paws were badly infected; some of the dogs were as large as ponies. All of the dogs have since been transferred to temporary shelters where they will all be vetted and then the mending of their souls and bodies will begin.

The Wolfeboro Police Department served search and seizure and arrest warrants on the property. The names of the owners have not been released at this time. To help with the dogs, please click here.

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(Video and photos by Meredith Lee via the HSUS)

Video of 84 Great Danes rescued:



Wisconsin woman allowed her dogs to eat puppies

In a disturbing case of animal cruelty in Crandon, Wisconsin, a woman has been arrested for allegedly allowing her dogs to eat puppies and the dead body of a horse. According to authorities, Patty Kirker, 52, was charged on Wednesday with 156 counts of animal mistreatment for failing to provide the animals with food and water; six of the counts are felonies.

An investigation of Kirker’s “puppy mill situation” had been launched earlier in the year after more than 80 complaints were filed. In a report from WsauNews, Kirker’s home had two feet of dog feces on the floor. On March 17, authorities seized 40 wolf-hybrid dogs and horses from the woman’s property. In the criminal complaint, the Forest County District Attorney Chuck Simono cited two unnamed witnesses who told police they had seen adult dogs eating young puppies on the properties as the animals had to resort to any means to stave off their starvation while Kirker did not feed them.

Also, in the complaint were details of the “deplorable conditions” with a description of three puppies being killed by other dogs, and of one puppy having been eaten. Then there were two horses kept in a trailer for more than three weeks with no food while dogs ate a horse’s carcass. Another dog terrorized an older neighbor and attacked the woman’s cat. Four horses and one pony died on the property.

And then there were more horrific details of two dogs walking around with embedded collars, Kirker kicking dogs and some of the animals biting her back, chained dogs that were never fed and a blind horse running into “trees and things.”


Kirker also faces charges in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the county jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 3. Kirker’s attorney denies the allegations are not true and will fight the charges. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are caring for the rescued animals.

(Photo of suspect alleged to have allowed her dogs to eat puppies via Forest County Sheriff’s Office booking photo)

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Terrified 4-month-old puppy tries to sleep his fears of the shelter away

For anyone who claims they can’t find a puppy to adopt from a shelter and purchases their new best friend from a pet store, a breeder or a puppy mill supplier, check this little guy out. This terrified 4-month-old puppy desperately tries to sleep his fears away. Why would such a cute puppy wind up at Carson Animal Care? Was he an Easter present to a child? Did the family figure out puppies need attention and care? Did the family get bored and impatient with having to train and care for this little one?

Click here for this pup’s Pet Harbor listing. “I am described as a male, white Poodle – Miniature. The shelter thinks I am about 4 months old. I have been at the shelter since Apr 20, 2017.” For more information about this animal, call Los Angeles County Animal Control – Carson at (310) 523-9566. Ask for information about animal ID number A505214. A Facebook page for this dog can be followed here.

Share this puppy’s plight with approved rescue organizations, friends, family and social media contacts. Sharing saves lives. Before deciding to bring a dog into your home, look at this photo carefully – an adorable puppy who was tossed aside after just a month or so in his first home. Either make the commitment to them or buy a stuffed animal. Their lives matter.

Carson Shelter, Gardena, California
216 Victoria Street, Gardena, California

Photos and video of 4-month-old puppy courtesy of Saving Carson Shelter Dogs.

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Video here:

Hundreds of animals found in deplorable conditions at North Georgia puppy mill

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:


Puppy mill tragedy: Polo unrecognizable as a dog dumped to die

When Polo was brought into a North Carolina veterinarian’s office on Thursday by his owners to be euthanized, a rescue partner called Jackie O’Sullivan, co-founder of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC and asked if they would help. Barely recognizable as a  dog, the purebred, five-year-old Shih Tzu weighs barely 10-pounds and had to have lived his short life in one of misery and neglect.Polo RDR

“Still think it’s okay to buy a dog from a puppy mill breeder?” asked Jackie on the organization’s Facebook page as veterinarians assessed the young dog’s horrible physical condition.

Although the details of Polo’s past life are vague and may never be known, it is disturbing to think the dog’s owner watched this pup’s health deteriorate and never sought help. His condition didn’t just happen after days, weeks, or even months. According to his treating veterinarian, these conditions occurred over years. What small amount of fur Polo even had left on his body was completely matted. He suffers from severe bacterial and yeast skin infections. His ears are infected, he has acute dental disease, and his nails are grotesquely overgrown.Polo RDR2

And when his family looked at him in disgust – only because they neglected him, Polo was thrown away as if he was yesterday’s trash. Now the little dog will truly get a second chance at life. He will be treated, both physically and emotionally, and when he is well enough, will be transferred to a foster home. To help with Polo’s new life, please click here to donate, or or RDR NYC PO BOX 101 NY NY 10028.

Photos courtesy of Rescue Dogs Rock NYC.

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Political pressure? USDA reposting animal welfare data

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today has been reposting some of the tens of thousands of animal welfare documents previously removed from its website.  In an official announcement from APHIS they were,

“posting the first batch of annual reports of research institutions and inspection reports for certain Federal research facilities that the Agency regulates under the Animal Welfare Act.  The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the Agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before.”

The agency claimed the entire search tool database had been removed on February 3, 2017 as part of a review to decide which information would be appropriate for reposting. At that time, thousands of publicly searchable records for zoos, research laboratories, commercial breeders including puppy mill facilities and circuses with the agency were deleted citing “privacy concerns.”

In the past, the data base had been a resource for journalists and animal advocates groups including animal rescue organizations in uncovering animal cruelty. Animal advocacy groups including the Humane Society of the United States accompanied by 101 United States representatives, 18 senators and animal advocates across the nation have publicly condemned the agency’s decision.

As to the “first batch” of records restored on Friday, annual reports and inspection records have been restored. Wayne Pacelle, the CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States calls the reposting of the records a “step in the right direction,” but has no intention of backing down until all the data is restored. Records still missing include information about research laboratories that use animals, puppy mills, zoos, horse soring and those activities relevant to the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sued the agency and states it will not drop the suit until the USDA complies. In a statement Brittany Peet, director of captive animal law enforcement at the PETA Foundation in Washington, D.C. released the following statement:

“Under duress, the USDA is now attempting to get away with reposting only a tiny fraction of the animal welfare records it suddenly and indefensibly deleted … and that does not satisfy PETA [People for the Ethical Treatmeant of Animals] or the other plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit against it.

And then there are bipartisan politicians speaking out in defense of the animals:

“While I’m glad the USDA is starting the process of restoring some information online, there is no excuse for the agency’s abrupt actions to reduce transparency and prevent Americans from knowing about animal abuse,” stated Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

In addition, Representative Vern Buchanan (R. Fla) states this still isn’t enough and posted in a statement:

“…This website protects animals and the database should be fully restored. At the end of the day, putting a few document back online is not good enough.”

It would appear this barrage of criticism isn’t going to stop until all records are restored. What do you think? Please weigh in. The previous articles are this very important issue can be found below.

Read prior stories here:

USDA removes inspection reports and information from website

Trump USDA pick has animal-rights activists worried

Humane Society challenges USDA for hiding animal welfare data

Heartless puppy mill owners dumped dead dogs in wheelbarrow

The heartless owners of a puppy mill operation dumped dead dogs in a wheelbarrow after advertising their puppies as having been raised in a family home  on Tyersal Lane in Bradford, United Kingdom. According to The Sun, Bernadethette Nunney, 25, and John Wilcock, 36, left the dogs to starve and never treated them for illnesses.bradford-puppy-mill

On Friday, Nunney and Wilcock appeared at Leeds Magistrates’ Court and were given a 20-week suspended prison sentence for 18 months and banned from keeping dogs for the rest of their lives. Nunney was also handed a 12-week curfew order, a 15-day rehabilitation activity and £500 in costs. Wilcock was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity. He was also ordered to pay £100 in costs. Both were found guilty of multiple animal cruelty charges in a court trial that lasted four days.

bradford-puppy-mill2And when the six neglected collie puppies died, after having suffered in their own filth last September, the couple left their ravaged bodies in a wheelbarrow. One of the dogs in the pile was still alive, but died shortly from complications of Parvovirus.

RSPCA Inspector Emma Ellis said she would never be able to forget the horrible sight.

 “The sight of the live puppy buried within the pile of dead puppies was heartbreaking. There was nothing we could do to save her. The way those puppies were left to die highlights how these people simply see them as commodities which I find totally unacceptable.”

Dogs from the puppy mill were found living in concrete block kennels and stables; many with no food, water or bedding. All had to lie in their own feces and urine. All together, inspectors found 43 dogs – including collies, spaniels, Bichon Frises, Labradors, Beagles, Chihuahuas, and some terrier-cross types – in the raid. All are being cared for the RSPCA – some have already found loving homes.

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(Photos of puppy mill via the RSPCA)

Florida rescue saves 73 Great Danes abandoned by owner

In Freeport, Florida, the Alaqua Animal Refuge took custody of 73 Great Danes from an alleged puppy mill operation after the owners could no longer care for the dogs.alaqua-animal-refuge-2

According to the organization’s Facebook page, during the week of October 10th, the owner had fallen ill and abandoned the dogs. Family members reached out to the private sanctuary in northwest Florida for help. Naming the rescue operation ‘Hurricane Dane,’ Alaqua founder, Laurie Hood stated:

“This has been a whirlwind experience, so we had to name it! ‘Hurricane Dane’ made landfall and we are dealing with aftermath! Stay tuned to this link for up to date information and some of our experiences so far.”

For the most part, the pure bred Great Danes were all reported to have arrived healthy and had been cared for and loved. According to WzepNews, Alaqua initially removed a litter of 13 puppies, dogs who needed specialized care and those that were pregnant. Within two days of the news  of the dogs arriving at the rescue, there were more than 500 adoption applications. At this time, no more applications for the Great Danes are being accepted, although there are many other dogs at the rescue who are just as deserving of a new home.

The refuge continues to need help with veterinary costs and day to day expenses. The Great Danes are eating over 150 pounds of food a day and will all need to be spayed, neutered, microchipped and vetted for heartworms, rabies, and other necessary vaccinations. Donations can be made by clicking here.

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Photos via Alaqua Animal Refuge Facebook)