According to the Associated Press, approximately 1,200 dogs at a Kansas puppy mill were euthanized because of a distemper outbreak that was discovered when sick puppies from the mill reached pet stores in Wyoming. The ASPCA wasn’t involved in this tragic case, but we think it serves as a powerful reminder that it’s never a good idea to purchase animals from pet stores, which are often supplied by substandard commercial breeders.
Distemper is a complicated disease to manage in any population of animals because it has a long incubation period and long shedding period, and diagnosis can be tricky. It can take months to contain an outbreak, and affected animals may have complications later in life or not survive the disease. Proper vaccination can greatly reduce the risk of distemper.
Wyoming pet stores reported 24 cases of the highly contagious and lethal disease, all in dogs from one puppy mill in Oberlin, Kansas. The mill, Beaver Creek Kennels, was subsequently quarantined twice. Because he couldn’t sell any puppies during the quarantines, Beaver Creek Kennels owner Jeff Fortin ran out of money to care for the dogs. Authorities were unable to find shelters to take the dogs due to the distemper, so the Kansas Animal Health Department made the decision to euthanize all of them. The dogs were buried on farmland in Decatur County, Kansas.
Kansas law requires commercial breeders to provide their dogs with adequate veterinary care, but Fortin has a recorded history of failing to adequately treat animals with health problems—USDA inspectors have cited him for this as well as for failure to keep adequate records and for allowing trash, junk and discarded kennel materials near large dog enclosures. In spite of a host of violations stretching back three years, Fortin was allowed to remain in business and continue supplying puppies to pet stores.
The story doesn’t end here: if Fortin meets certain requirements, Kansas authorities will allow Beaver Creek Kennels to be back in business in six months.
To learn more about how you can help end practices like Fortin’s, please read our list of ways to Help Fight Puppy Mills.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team remains on the ground in Fulton County Arkansas assisting more than 100 neglected horses. Now, we’ve got photos of the FIR team working with the horses. The dedicated group will spend the holidays making sure that the horses receive the food, medical care and attention they need.
Check out the pictures of our tireless FIR team members and the rescued horses below.
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for continuing coverage of this developing story throughout the holidays.
If you want to feel twice as nice about holiday gift giving this season, consider spreading a little cheer to animals in need. Whether you join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to keep abreast of important legislative alerts, become an ASPCA monthly donor or help raise funds by shopping with one of our many partners, the ASPCA appreciates your determination to make our world a more peaceful place for all living beings. And don’t forget, for every holiday purchase made with an ASPCA Bank of America card, a contribution to our efforts will be made at no additional cost to you!
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When the FIR team members arrived at the farm, they found several dead animals and many equines showing signs of neglect that included untreated infections and old fractures. A search warrant was carried out on the farm, which is operated by a man who buys horses at auction and re-sells them to the public, on Thursday, December 9, after a seven-month investigation by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s sad to see so many horses suffering from blatant neglect without food, water and adequate medical care,” reports Kyle Held, Midwest Director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We are doing everything we can to quickly address the critical cases, and we are happy to be moving the horses to the temporary shelter.”
The FIR team members, who are working with the Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association, spent the past few days collecting evidence and medically evaluating the horses. The animals are currently being cared for on the property, and responders are working to transport the animals to a temporary shelter, where they will continue to receive veterinary treatment under the custody of the Sheriff’s Office.
Stay tuned to aspca.org for more information on this developing story.
On October 7, ASPCA Special Investigator Paul Romano removed Hennessy, a weak and emaciated Pit Bull, from a Staten Island home. She was found tied to a short leash, and veterinarians at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital determined that the skeletal dog had been starved.
Flash forward to December, and Hennessy is hardly the same dog. (Check out the before-and-after pics below!) During her stay at the ASPCA, she’s gained 92 percent of her body weight.
While hospital staff takes care of Hennessy, Humane Law Enforcement Agents are taking care of business. On December 11, Agents arrested Laquanda Carter, Hennessy’s owner. Carter, 27, was charged with animal abuse and faces a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted.
Hennessy was rescued thanks to a concerned neighbor who reported the abuse. If you suspect an animal is being abused, don’t keep it to yourself—report it to your local authorities.