Tennessee Puppy Miller Shut Down, Over 250 Dogs Rescued

 |  Oct 21st 2006  |   11 Contributions


Rescuers in masks

This story is so horrible I really struggled with myself whether or not to post it. In the end, I think its better to tell people about this than not to. But be warned that the story really is horrifying. It should be shared with anyone who doubts the evils of puppy mills. The article was in The Tennessean.

My thanks to rescuer Peggy Olea!

250 dogs rescued from Sumner puppy mill'The dogs lived in those cages 24 hours a day'
Raid nauseates rescue workers

By BRANDON PUTTBRESE
The News Examiner

BETHPAGE Two weeks ago, Peggy Olea, an animal rescuer, disguised herself as a prospective dog buyer and visited a farm home here that was rumored to have more than 300 dogs for sale.

She said breeder Irene Meuser presented her with several urine-soaked puppies with severe skin irritations, covered in feces and animal lice.

"I was appalled at the conditions these animals were living in," said Olea, who owns five dogs. "I had to do something."


She did, and on Friday officials and volunteers removed more than 250 small-breed dogs from what some are describing as a "puppy mill" in the largest animal-rescue operation in Sumner County history.

Meuser was charged with six counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Investigators brought charges against Meuser, who kept more than 500 animals at her home, after learning that 15 to 18 dogs had died last week.

Puppy mill owner Irene Meuser

A team of more than 100 U.S. Humane Society volunteers, veterinarians and county officials, braving the chill and the nose-piercing smell of ammonia, worked feverishly from 6 a.m. into the evening caring for and cleaning more than 200 cats and dogs that suffered problems ranging from minor skin irritations to parvo, an in-fectious dog disease that causes dehydration and diarrhea.

Pet-rescue specialist Laura Bevan, the Southeast regional coordinator for the Humane Society, said the living conditions were some of the worst she had seen. Up to five dogs were sharing small cages in some instances and being forced to relieve themselves in cramped quarters, she added.

"The situation here is very, very poor," said Bevan, standing in front of six veterinarian-led rescue teams diagnosing cats and puppies on tables set up in Meuser's cluttered yard. "I don't know how the animals have breathed this air."

Animal rescuers worked with ventilator masks on their faces to block some of the pungent odors that permeated the air in the largely unventilated puppy pens.

The stench was so powerful that it caused some deputies to vomit, Sheriff's Maj. Don Linzy said.

Although the rescue team recovered roughly 250 dogs, investigators had counted about 350 in her possession earlier this week, Sheriff Bob Barker said.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article and see more photos.

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