Puppy Mill Survivors Arrive at the League

December 21, 2011

The Washington Animal Rescue League (the League) is taking in more than 100 puppy mill dogs seized by Arkansas authorities from Happy Times Kennel in Hot Springs.  The operator of the breeding facility has been charged with three felony counts of cruelty to animals. The dogs were being kept in filthy outdoor pens under inhumane conditions and several dead dogs were found among the survivors.

Altogether, about 175 dogs were removed from the puppy mill with the help of the American SPCA.  Animal protection groups in Arkansas are keeping about 20 of them for adoption.  The ASPCA is transporting the rest—terriers, poodles, Pomeranians, shih tzus, and other small breed dogs— to the League and other shelters in New York and New Jersey.

Once at the League, the dogs will be evaluated and treated at its full-service, state-of-the-art Medical Center, and the professionally certified behavior and training staff will assist them in overcoming any socialization problems and psychological traumas.

“For years now we have been giving refuge to the survivors of puppy mills from all over the country, so we are well acquainted with the many physical and psychological problems these dogs typically have.,” relates Dr. Gary Weitzman, the League’s CEO. “We are prepared to give them everything they need—though it may take months of intensive work—to help them make the transition from caged animals being bred like livestock to cherished family members. Our mission mandates that we rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home animals who have nowhere else to go, and these dogs certainly qualify.  We welcome them with open arms.”

Given the mistreatment to which they have been subjected, many of the arriving dogs’ evaluations, treatments, and medical and psychological recoveries are expected to take a long time.  The ultimate goal is to place them in adoptive homes, but “the dogs may not be ready for that for weeks,” according to Mary Jarvis, the Chief Operating Officer.

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