According to the Humane Society one of the largest and worst puppy mills in the nation has finally been shut down.
In Kennewick, WA after more than 40 years in business the Sun Valley Kennel will no longer be allowed to abuse and mistreat dogs, they have finally been stopped.
Detectives, deputies and about 50 specially trained volunteers from various animal rescue groups seized more than 400 dogs.
The animals were found living in wooden crates, shopping carts and other makeshift kennels caked with feces and soaked with urine.
“The conditions were not only shocking, but also heartbreaking to veteran deputies,” he said.
Inga Gibson, state director with The Humane Society of the United States West Coast Regional Office, said they’ve rescued animals from more than a half-dozen operations in the past couple of months.
“This is definitely one of the worst cases we have seen because of the conditions they were kept in,” Gibson said. “It’s one of the largest in Washington state and close to one of the largest in the country.”
Neighbors gathered across from Stewart’s home and on an adjacent property happily watching. They said it’ll be nice when it’s quiet and they can spend time in their yards without the foul odor.
“The lack of smell will be fabulous. Just knowing this has come to an end is fabulous,” said Helen Richardson, whose daughter has lived next door to Stewart for 20 years.
A couple of neighbors thanked a group of deputies as they walked by.
“I’m greatly relieved. Words can’t describe the joy and relief,” said Richardson. “… This is like the Holocaust, only with dogs.”
Richardson said the family has been saddened by what they’ve witnessed over the years and frustrated that nothing was done sooner.
It’s heartbreaking to think about the thousands of dogs who have suffered over the years at the hands of this woman, Ella Stewart. All because authorities looked the other way. What’s even more amazing to me is the fact that she was arrested not because of complaints, but when a deputy was responding to a call at a neighbor’s home and found deplorable conditions at the kennel. The dogs were left there for two weeks because the county doesn’t have an animal control facility.
Stewart was arrested May 12th and pleaded innocent to one count of second-degree animal cruelty. To add insult to injury, this charge is only a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. What a joke, if this doesn’t prove the laws need to be changed I don’t know what does. Prosecutors are looking into other charges.
Community members can donate money to the sheriff’s office that will be designated to specifically help cover costs of food and medical care for the dogs. Checks made out to the Benton County Treasurer can be sent to Sheriff Taylor at 7122 W. Okanogan St., Building A, Kennewick, 99336.