California Veterinarian Rescues 71 Puppy Mill Dogs From Arkansas

Anyone who goes to Dr. Hamilton for pet care should be very proud of her. Thanks to Elizabeth Takahashi for barking in this article from...


Rescued Arkansas pugs.jpg

Anyone who goes to Dr. Hamilton for pet care should be very proud of her.

Thanks to Elizabeth Takahashi for barking in this article from

Rescued dogs arrive with many health problems
Fremont vet plucks 71 dogs from kennel liquidation auction in Arkansas and brings 39 to Bay Area for love, treatment and new homes
By Douglas Fischer, STAFF WRITER

Thirty-nine of 71 dogs rescued from an Arkansas puppy-breeding kennel are expected back in the Bay Area tonight, where they’ll get veterinary attention and some love and start to be shipped off to foster homes.

Some have been bearing litters every six months for six years. Some were still being bred at age 11 or beyond — equivalent, almost, to a 70-year-old woman still nursing. Some have lived their entire lives without feeling grass or anything but wire cage underfoot. Many are poorly socialized and almost terrified of humans, said Fremont veterinarian Helen Hamilton, who raised more than $10,000 to purchase the dogs at auction.

“You see dogs with cattle tags on,” she said. “That’s totally how dogs are viewed there. There is no sense that these are living entities. This is livestock.”

Hamilton flew to the Saturday auction with two other technicians; she met a van loaded with medical supplies and crates that had left the Bay Area earlier, and the group tried their best to keep a low profile at an auction filled with other kennel owners looking to pick up some breeding stock.

Hamilton said their identity quickly became apparent once the bidding started: They went solely for dogs in the worst shape. More than 300 dogs and puppies were on the auction block at the kennel liquidation auction.

They lost out on many, she added, notably a young Yorkie with a litter of six to eight dogs that went for more than $2,800. The auctioneer made clear the dog’s value,

Hamilton said. “He said, `Sell the puppies over the Internet for $1,000 each and you’ve already made your money before you put her to work.’ “

They managed to buy 71 dogs with $10,700 in donations and savings. They didn’t have room for so many dogs in the van, so 32 went to animal rescue groups and an animal sanctuary in Florida, Hamilton said.

Many of the 39 dogs will need help when they arrive tonight at Hamilton’s clinic, Fremont’s Veterinary Internal Medicine Service. They include:

A collection of pugs that were rescued, in the transport van on their way to a rescue group in Florida.
–A young female Dachshund with a “horrible herniation” from a suspected botched Caesarean section.
–An older female Schnauzer with what Hamilton suspects is a large herniation or possible tumor in her abdomen.
–A female pug with a “raging skin infection” on her neck.

“Some people came up to us afterward and said, `We’re so glad you got them,’ ” Hamilton said. “I had to bite my tongue, because I wanted to say, `Well, why didn’t you just give them to us?’ “

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