Approximately 120 Mistreated Dogs, Puppies Rescued from Breeding Operation in Union County, Fla.

ASPCA, Union County Sheriff’s Office partnering to remove mistreated dogs – primarily Great Danes – after they were observed living in extremely unsanitary conditions
March 15, 2024

Union County, Fla.—At the request of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with the rescue of approximately 120 dogs and puppies – primarily Great Danes – from a property in Providence (Union County), Fla. The dogs, which also include French and English bulldogs and Chinese Cresteds, were seized from the property of a breeder after they were observed living in extremely unsanitary conditions. Many of the dogs appear to be underweight and some have untreated medical conditions.

“All dogs deserve proper care and a good quality of life, including those who are bred for sale, which unfortunately was not the case in this situation,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “Upon our arrival, we discovered some animals who appeared underweight with untreated medical conditions and living in extremely unsanitary conditions. The ASPCA’s priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of animals nationwide, and we’re proud to work alongside the Union County Sheriff’s Office to protect these vulnerable dogs and provide them with the care they deserve.”

“We would like to thank the ASPCA for working closely with our agency on this complex investigation into animal cruelty. We have a proven track record of always taking animal cruelty seriously and it will not be tolerated in our county,” said Union County Sheriff Brad Whitehead. “We continue to work closely with the ASPCA and thank them for their expertise and support so we can proceed with criminal charges and prosecution, and to ensure the wellbeing of these animals. We would also like to thank the Union County Animal Control for all their assistance and involvement in this case.”

The ASPCA is relocating the dogs to an emergency shelter where they will receive forensic exams to support the criminal investigation, as well as much-needed medical care and behavioral treatment and enrichment. The ASPCA is also assisting with operational planning, evidence collection, crime scene processing, and investigative and legal assistance. The ASPCA is working in partnership with the Florida State Animal Response Coalition, Greenville Humane Society, Saint Frances Animal Center, Humane Society Naples, Washington State Animal Response Team, Chautauqua County Humane Society, and Good Shepherd Humane Society. In addition, FedEx assisted by providing complimentary transportation of critical resources to our emergency shelter operation.

Animal cruelty charges are pending based on evidence collected by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of ASPCA experts in support of the investigation. Criminal charges that result from this case will be handled by the Eighth Judicial Circuit States Attorney’s Office. The ASPCA is also providing support to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

The ASPCA deploys nationally to assist local authorities in animal cruelty cases including animal fighting, hoarding, and puppy mills. It also provides local communities with resources including grant funding, training, and subject matter expertise to effectively assist animals during cruelty and disaster situations.