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ASPCA Applauds Indictment in Tennessee's Largest-Ever Puppy Mill Raid

August 20, 2008

NEW YORK, August 20, 2008 - The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the indictment in the case of Tennessee’s largest-ever puppy mill raid of more than 700 dogs earlier this summer. A grand jury formally indicted Patricia Adkisson yesterday on 24 felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty and more than a dozen misdemeanors. Arraignment has been scheduled for September.

“We are honored to have assisted in the investigation of this case and are extremely satisfied with the indictment,” said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. “While it does not erase the horrible neglect and inhumane treatment these animals suffered through, we know our work continues to shine the spotlight on animal cruelty in this country as well as the importance of fighting against it.”

The ASPCA assisted in the June raid by lending a special forensic cruelty investigation team that includes two forensic veterinarians, as well as the ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit. The ASPCA team was deployed at the request of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which led the raid, to assist in the collection of evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case. The team included the ASPCA’s Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian and “animal CSI,” and the ASPCA’s Disaster Response Team.

The 747 animals discovered in the raid were housed in various enclosures among the property’s 92 acres of hilly and rocky terrain known as Pine Bluff Kennels in Lyles, Tennessee. More than a dozen animals were found dead. According to Dr. Merck, the majority of the animals were dogs, including more than 200 puppies, suffering from a general lack of husbandry, such as little to no food or water, lack of proper ventilation in enclosed areas, and feces encrusted pens. Conditions such as matting, sores, broken limbs, hernias, abscesses, and a host of other medical conditions were also prevalent. Other animals discovered on the property included horses, burros, miniature horses, chickens, goats, parrots and purebred cats.

Animals in critical condition were examined immediately on the ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI Unit, which operates under the leadership of Dr. Merck and brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and unmatched expertise to crime scenes. The specially-designed vehicle is also outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients.

At the time of the raid, animals seized from the facility were placed into the official custody of the HSUS and transported to a nearby emergency shelter, eventually in the hopes of being placed in shelters and adopted into loving homes. Many of the other animals, including livestock, were in temporary foster care.

For more information about puppy mills and the ASPCA’s fight against animal cruelty, visit www.aspca.org.