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August 24, 2008
Yesterday morning in Parkersburg, W.Va., a cycle of animal abuse that lasted nearly two decades was finally broken. Local authorities raided the Whispering Oaks Kennel and found one of the most prolific puppy mills in the state’s history.
By the end of the day nearly 1,000 neglected and abused dogs were freed from the horrendous industry that traps hundreds of thousands of dogs in a dismal cycle of suffering.
The Humane Society of the United States was there from the beginning, acting as the lead animal welfare organization for this mercy mission.
Local authorities had received complaints that the property owner was discharging pollution without a permit. When they arrived on the scene to investigate the claims, they found a grossly overrun breeding facility wrought with obvious animal neglect.
Once on site, the officials convinced the property owner to relinquish ownership of all 1,000 dogs at the facility. The owner also signed a document barring her from ever operating another breeding facility.
|The W.Va. dogs were destined for a life in cages. © The HSUS/Milani|
The HSUS had earlier been called by the Humane Society of Parkersburg.
The HSUS was appointed lead animal welfare agency on this case and had spent weeks preparing for for the complexities of caring for what was expected to be—and indeed became—a heart-breaking number of animals.
They were mostly dachshunds, but many Yorkies, King Charles Cavaliers, Poodles and Jack Russels bred on the facility.
Breeding dogs were housed in small rabbit hutches throughout the property—many with no access to water in the potentially deadly 95-degree heat.
With the help of United Animal Nations, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of Missouri, we followed law enforcement onto the property. Together, we set up an emergency shelter and begin to rescue the dogs from the squalid cages where they would’ve spent their entire lives.
|Dogs in puppy mills are turned into breeding machines. © The HSUS/Milani|
Fragile young puppies and mothers were the first receive veterinary care and the safety of the shelter.
The rest of the dogs will be removed over the next few days.
From the shelter, the dogs will be transported to humane organizations across the nation where they will be evaluated and put up for adoption.
While the condition of the animals wasn’t the very worst our team has witnessed in such raids, one person simply cannot properly care for 1,000 animals. More than that, one person should not.
Puppy mills are a source of unbearable cruelty with breeding animals kept in tiny, exposed cages without any socialization, for the sole purpose of supplying pet stores and the internet market with puppies—and of course, providing a stream of ill-gotten profits to their operators.
|Rescuers moved newborn pups to safety first. © The HSUS/Milani|
They also contribute to tragic pet overpopulation.
As a nation we cherish dogs as beloved family pets, but these breeding dogs spent years churning out puppies for profit.
Like all victims of the puppy mill industry, these dogs had never left their dank cages or feel the warm touch of a loving human hand.
Make It Public
|The dogs at Whispering Oaks Kennell head toward loving homes, at last. © The HSUS/Milani|
We urge everyone who cares about animals to spread the word about the great suffering associated with puppy mills.
People in the market for a companion animal should consider rescuing a homeless pet from a shelter or breed rescue organization—or at least to know the breeder and inspect the facility beforehand.