On April 12, 2015 in Coffee County Tennessee, the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint about a situation of animal neglect at a private residence. Once on the property to investigate the claim, they found many violations of animal cruelty laws on both the county and state level. In the Youtube description for the video below, Coffee County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Danny Ferrell says, “It was immediately obvious that we were going to need assistance in removing this large number of animals and getting them to safety as quickly as possible…Animal Rescue Corps was the only organization who could help us both document the scene and safely remove the animals and they were on the ground in less than 12 hours.” Rescue team members from Animal Rescue Corps received a phone call from the Sheriff and drove all night to get to the scene of the neglect case as fast as possible.
What the Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) team found on the scene was horrifying, to say the very least. Dogs of all different breeds, some as small as Shih Tzus and some as large as Great Pyrenees, we found scattered around the property in disturbing conditions. The rescue team had difficulty identifying some of the dogs’ breeds simply because their fur was so dirty. Some of them were in cages that had rusted shut, sitting atop inches of their own feces and soaked in their own urine. Some of them were in a barn in shanty wooden stalls without windows, others were locked in rooms in the house amidst piles of trash. Tragically, the rescuers also found a wheelbarrow in the garage of the home that contained the bodies of ten deceased dogs covered in maggots. Though they were devastated to find these deceased dogs, they were amazingly able to rescue 85 living dogs and puppies as well as four cats. These animals were rushed off the property to seek the emergency veterinary care they required, and they will be placed in loving, adoptive homes as soon as they are rehabilitated.
This property was undoubtedly a puppy mill. Puppy mills are essentially large-scale puppy factories where the breeding animals are neglected just like the dogs you see in the video below. ARC estimates that there are about 15,000 puppy mills in the U.S. alone, which means there are many more thousands of suffering dogs in those puppy mills. The breeding dogs at puppy mills are forced to produce litter after litter with no regard for their mental or physical health. Sadly, the puppies that come out of these puppy mills almost entirely make up the stock of dogs you will find in pet stores and from online postings. American puppy mills produce millions of puppies each year, while millions of dogs in shelters are being euthanized. After seeing the video below and witnessing the cruelty and neglect that occurs in puppy mills, it’s more important than ever to stress that adopting dogs from shelters is a wonderful option when getting a new pet. Many dogs in shelters are there through no fault of their own and are absolutely incredible animals, but the stigma associated with shelter animals keeps people from adopting. Next time you’re ready to add a furry friend to your family, just remember: adopt, don’t shop!