On February 7, while sports fans across the country gathered in front of the tube for the big game, the ASPCA was celebrating a victory of our own. That night, the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan welcomed 34 dogs who were recently rescued from a puppy mill in Holly Springs, MS. The small-breed dogs, including Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Pugs, Yorkshire Terriers, Corgis and Chihuahuas, received VIP treatment courtesy of Pet Airways, an airline that transports pets exclusively. Pet Airways graciously flew the dogs from Mississippi to NYC on very short notice and for a 30% discount.
Three days earlier, under the authority of Shirley C. Byers of the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office in Marshall County, MS, the ASPCA dispatched members of our Field Investigations and Response Team to manage operations in the investigation of the puppy mill.
“Puppy mills are substandard commercial breeding operations that house dogs in overcrowded and often unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization,” explains Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response.
In total, 96 animals were seized—many were underweight and suffering from serious skin problems, among other medical conditions. The lucky pups who made their way to the Big Apple are on the road to recovery and enjoying the warm environs of our state-of-the-art Adoption Center. Many of the dogs, including several Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Yorkies, will soon be ready for adoption.
Participating agencies on the scene in Mississippi included the American Humane Association, Marshall County Humane Society, Mississippi State University and Collierville Humane Society. The groups worked collaboratively to document evidence of animal abuse before rescuing and transporting the dogs to an emergency shelter at the Marshall County Humane Society Clinic. Once there, the animals were triaged by a veterinary team and temporarily sheltered before being transported to other animal welfare agencies.
The ASPCA is extremely grateful to the other shelters and organizations that took the remaining 60 rescued animals to ensure their future safety, well-being and placement. We are honored to recognize their generosity. They include:
- Atlanta Humane Society
- Marshall County Humane Society
- Olive Branch Animal Shelter
- MS State University Homeward Bound program
Unfortunately, our work is far from over. While these animals are finally receiving the care they need and deserve, there are still countless others who need our help. Your support makes it possible for the ASPCA to travel the country and rescue animals from horrendous conditions like these. With your donation today, we can send a message to those who would harm animals: “We will stop you!”
For more information about puppy mills and how to fight animal cruelty, visit ASPCA.org.