If you haven’t lived by the motto “adopt don’t shop,” then you should be after reading this…Recently, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in collaboration with the Livingston County Animal Control, rescued over 90 dogs from the deplorable conditions of a local puppy mill.

Livingston County Animal Control had been closely monitoring the facility for some time, concerned about overcrowding and the health of the dogs on the grounds, but they were not able to obtain enough evidence to go in and seize the dogs held in captivity.

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Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 

Jill Fritz, the Michigan senior state director for the HSUS, tells OGP that “a series of recent eyewitness accounts and reports from people who had visited the kennel” was what finally enabled Livingston County Animal Control to get a warrant to rescue the dogs.  She also adds on behalf of the HSUS: “We’re tremendously grateful to Livingston County Animal Control for their hard work in this case.”

And so are the 90-plus dogs and puppies who were saved from a life of fear, pain, and neglect!

Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 
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The lack of laws and regulations on “large-scale breeding facilities” in Michigan, and the greater midwest (known as the “Puppy Mill Belt”) is a serious issue that has failed to be addressed.

As Fritz explains to OGP, “We know there are some problem facilities [in Michigan], and the lack of laws or regulations for large-scale breeding operations means that problems may deteriorate to the point where law enforcement must intervene to enforce the state’s animal cruelty statute.”

Michigan authorities have intervened in at least two such facilities in the past two years, obtaining more than 350 dogs from a single breeding kennel that had “spiraled out of control” and 120 dogs from another commercial breeder.

The dogs housed in the puppy mill discovered in Livingston County were being bred continuously to meet the demands of an online puppy market. Driven by profit, the owners of the facility cared little for the health or well-being of the dogs, many of whom were found with severely matted hair, dental, and eye problems.

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Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 

The dogs on the property ranged from large-breed German Shepherds to poodle-mix puppies, all living in substandard conditions. To accommodate so many dogs in a single facility, dogs are crammed together in small cages and are often found emaciated and dehydrated. This sort of environment is extremely stressful for dogs that can go temporarily insane when locked in cages for extended periods of time.

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Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 

Once Livingston Animal Control officials were able to enter the facility to seize the suffering dogs, the animals were immediately transported to a temporary shelter where they will be given the medical attention they need to start the long process of recovery ahead.

Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 

According to Fritz, there is “a bill pending in the Michigan legislature, SB 560, would require no-fee registration and standards for large-scale dog breeding facilities (those with 15 or more breeding female dogs), and would enact standards of care for its animals.”

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This legislation could help moderate standards on breeding facilities, like the one in Livingston County, to help protect the health and well-being of dogs. When dogs are continually forced to breed, the sheer number of dogs living in a facility can grow at an exponential rate, a fact that contributes to neglect.

Pan Sordyl / HSUS
 

Fritz says the bill would address this problem by putting a limit of “no more than 50 intact breeding dogs.” Not only would this help to keep the number of dogs manageable, but “it would also help to prevent larger, inhumane puppy mills from moving into our state.”

If you are a Michigan resident, you can help pass this legislation by getting in contact with your local legislator and asking them to vote “yes” on SB 560. You can find your state legislators here.

The best way to take action against puppy mills is to report abuse as soon as you see it. Two eyewitness accounts helped to save over 90 dogs from this puppy mill, giving a voice to voiceless animals is the only way we can give them better lives. Click here to find the HSUS Puppy Mill Tip Line to report abuse.

While it might be heartbreaking to look at the sweet faces of all the animals held in this puppy mill facility, now that they have been saved, thanks to the hard work of Livingston County Animal Control and the HSUS, more than 90 dogs can finally be given the happy and healthy life they deserve.

Pam Sordyl / HSUS
Pam Sordyl / HSUS
Pam Sordyl / HSUS
Pam Sordyl / HSUS
Pam Sordyl / HSUS
Pam Sordyl / HSUS
 

To learn more about what the HSUS is doing to stop puppy mills, check out the campaign’s Facebook page.

Lead image source: Pam Sordyl/HSUS