This weekend, nearly 300 dogs and puppies were seized from Mason Creek Kennels in Hudson, North Carolina after an investigation found the dogs with serious health issues living in small stacked feces encrusted cages.
The dogs were taken to a temporary shelter on Friday, which was set up with financial help from PetSmart Charities and a grant from Maddie’s Fund.
Rescuers reported that “some suffered from long-term neglect, including severe ear infections, uterine infections from being overbred, and nails grown into the pads of their feet,” according to the Associated Press.
Others were found with fur that was so badly matted it had torn their skin. Last week 37 of the dogs, mostly older females, were surrendered to animal control and were euthanized.
Repeated complaints had been made about Mason Creek Kennels, whose owner William “Bill” Thomas Allen had been warned to make changes.
“There are no laws on the books about puppy mills,” Greg Greene, Caldwell County’s animal control director told the Charlotte Observer. “We have to wait until they fit the criteria for neglect and cruelty.”
They reportedly didn’t believe that seizing the dogs was legally justifiable until now, despite previous complaints from people who received sick puppies and an “F” grade from the Better Business Bureau.
By selling directly to the public over the internet to whoever wants to hand over some cash, Allen made good use of a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that requires commercial breeders to meet minimum standards of care. Only those who sell to pet stores and research institutions are licensed and inspected by the USDA.
“Large-scale breeders in our state currently face no regulations or routine inspections. These lax laws have made North Carolina a safe-haven for inhumane puppy mills like this one,” said Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for The Humane Society of the United States.
Charges are pending against Allen, who claims he hasn’t broken any laws and that his dogs were healthy. He had reportedly hired help because he is disabled and couldn’t get to the area where the dogs were being kept.
“That doesn’t excuse them being in the shape they’re in,” said Greene.
The dogs will be going to the Virginia Beach SPCA, Humane Society of Charlotte, Wake County SPCA, Gilford County Animal Control, Saving Grace Rescue and the Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption of Sanford where they will receive much needed veterinary care and get some love and be socialized in foster homes before they can be adopted.
Greene also stated that the public’s response and desire to help has been overwhelming, but there are already many animals just like these ones in shelters who need homes.
“We’re asking that people remember those animals, too.”
Photo Credit: RowdyKittens