November 16, 2015

ASPCA Helps to Rescue More than 100 Dogs from FL Puppy Mill

The ASPCA is on the ground in Clewiston, Florida, assisting with the removal, evidence collection, sheltering and medical care of more than 100 dogs from a substandard, unlicensed breeding facility believed to be a puppy mill. The dogs were being sold to pet stores in the Miami-Dade area. An investigation of the facility began after several complaints were made by individuals in the community, and the ASPCA stepped in to help at the request of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. The two owners of the facility have been arrested on cruelty-related charges.

The dogs—spanning small and large breeds including Siberian Huskies, Chihuahuas and Poodles—were discovered living in crowded, filthy pens, many with little protection from the elements. Many dogs had no access to clean drinking water or food and were suffering from various medical conditions, including skin and eye disease and severe dental issues.

“This is a tragic situation we see all too often,” said Tim Rickey, ASPCA Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. “Puppy mills are a widespread issue around the country. Many people are unaware that most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, and that buying pet store puppies indirectly supports these facilities. While the puppies are sold for profit, their parents are kept at these mills for years, subjected to incessant breeding and a very poor quality of life.”

ASPCA veterinarians will provide much-needed medical care for the dogs at a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location. The ASPCA will continue to care for the victims at the temporary shelter until custody of the dogs is determined by the court system. Additionally, the ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy team is providing ongoing legal support for the criminal case.

“Our goal is to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, help them become healthy and eventually find them safe and loving homes,” Rickey said.

Unfortunately, Florida is among a minority of states with no laws regulating the use of dogs for commercial breeding. Florida’s lack of legislation also perpetuates puppy mill cruelty nationally by allowing its pet stores to sell dogs from some of the worst breeders around the country. The ASPCA continues to fight puppy mills by lobbying for stronger legislation and by spreading awareness. We can’t do this important work without your support. Please consider making a donation to the ASPCA today to aid our ongoing rescue operation in Florida, and our efforts for animals in need nationwide.