ASPCA Assists in Recovery of More Than 150 Dogs from Michigan Puppy Mill

Establishes Temporary Sheltering and Placement for Seized Animals to Support Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office
May 23, 2013

Lake City, Mich.—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Field Investigations and Response team is assisting with the removal and sheltering of more than 150 dogs from two separate locations owned by a large, substandard, unlicensed breeding facility called JRT John's Jack Russell and Shiba Inu Kennel in Lake City, Mich. The removal of the animals is a result of a civil action, prompted by violation of Michigan’s Dog Law, led by the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the Roscommon County Animal Shelter.

The dogs—mainly Jack Russell terriers and Shiba Inus—were discovered living in outdoor enclosures with little protection from the elements. Many dogs had no access to clean drinking water or proper shelter, with plastic carriers being their only refuge from rain, snow or sun. Responders on the scene found the dogs were unsocialized and fearful when handled by humans. The ASPCA believes the facility to be a puppy mill, a large-scale breeding operation, where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals.

“Puppy mill dogs may suffer from living in a variety of inhumane conditions including unsanitary conditions, inadequate veterinary care, and lack of basic necessities and socialization,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We are pleased to aid the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office and Roscommon County Animal Shelter by providing expertise and resources to support the case and remove the dogs from this situation. Our goal is to see that these animals are healthy and placed with rescue groups where they can find new homes as quickly as possible.”

“This case has been years in the making and we felt strongly that something had to be done to protect these animals,” said Sherriff Jim Bosscher. “The ASPCA’s resources and sheltering knowledge, combined with the support of the Roscommon County Animal Shelter, will finally allow these dogs the chance to have a happy life.”

Dogs requiring medical examinations are being transported to a nearby temporary shelter, where they will receive veterinary care from the ASPCA’s medical team, led by medical director Dr. Sarah Kirk. Dogs that are medically and behaviorally sound will be immediately placed by Roscommon County Animal Shelter with ASPCA response partners, including Medina County SPCA (Medina, Ohio) and Animal Humane Society (Golden Valley, Minn.), which are also supporting the sheltering operation and will help provide daily care for the animals. Other agencies in Michigan assisting the operation include Michigan Humane Society (Bingham Farms), Kalkaska County Animal Control (Kalkaska) and Clare County Animal Shelter (Harrison). PetSmart Charities® has generously contributed to this operation by providing critical supplies for the sheltering and transport of the animals.

“We are thankful to the ASPCA for making such a large-scale seizure possible,” said Terry MacKillop, director of Roscommon County Animal Shelter. “Our staff will be working closely with ASPCA responders to ensure the best possible outcome for these dogs.”

Once medical exams are complete, the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team will begin behavior evaluations of dogs at the temporary shelter and work with Roscommon County Animal Shelter and ASPCA response partners to determine placement options.

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team has rescued countless dogs from puppy mills across the nation. Furthermore, the ASPCA’s Government Relations department has been active in promoting legislation that would strengthen regulations and raise minimum standards of care for dogs in puppy mills, including the Puppy Protection Act currently before the Michigan legislature. Additionally, the ASPCA launched a national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores and end the demand for puppy mill dogs. For more information about puppy mills and how to fight animal cruelty, visit

Media contacts:
ASPCA – Kelly Krause, [email protected], (646) 784-2098
               Mallory Kerley, [email protected], (917) 881-9819
Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office – Sheriff Jim Bosscher, [email protected], (231) 839-4338 ext. 0
Roscommon County Animal Shelter – Terry MacKillop, [email protected], (989) 329-8185