Guilford County kennel owner faces animal-cruelty charges

Seven counts of animal cruelty and five misdemeanor counts were filed as charges Friday (April 9) against the owner and a caretaker at Rush Kennel in Pleasant Garden, NC. The charges came after 97 dogs were seized from the facility, according to a story posted on the Greensboro News & Record website.

The poor health of a dog purchased by a Pennsylvania couple set off a four-month investigation. And more cases of physical and emotional problems in puppies sold by the operation were reported in the story.

The photos of two dogs shown on the News & Record site paint a troubling picture of the condition of the animals at the kennel. But of course, these charges are allegations at this point and the legal process needs to play out.

So let’s discuss the puppy mill issue beyond this single case. It’s good news when the victims are finally rescued from the cruel confinement of some of these mass-production facilities, and it does seem we’re reading more news accounts of busts across the country.

The bad news is, for every case that hits the news wires, thousands more continue to operate under the radar. The process is typically complaint driven and it seems to take some extreme evidence before charges kick in.

This is why so many of us are calling for better laws with more backbone, including a system of regular inspections so that kennel operators know standards must be adhered to. As it stands now, those who run puppy mills know the odds are slim they will be uncovered.

And again, as we’re seeing a few states strengthen breeding laws, some mills are packing up and moving to states where the laws are still weak. The new laws and those still in the bill stage are designed to improve the living conditions for breeding dogs – and some still don’t go far enough.

Some groups are challenging the news laws and regulations as somehow violating the rights of breeders or as being completely unreasonable. None of what I’ve read about is either unreasonable or steps over the line in violating anyone’s rights.

Animals should not be caged 24/7 as breeding machines. We know about the importance of play and exercise and regular veterinary care. Good, quality breeders do not confine their dogs in tiny cages with little to no human or humane contact.

Good, quality breeders have a manageable number of breeding dogs and in the best examples they live with the family or at least get routine play time along with compassionate care and handling.

It’s long past time for state legislatures and for the federal government to seriously attack the puppy mill problem. Every day that passes is another day of horror and torture for thousands over thousands of puppy mill dogs.

So until we get better laws, better enforcement and a better life for these canines, we need to play what some might consider to be a broken record over and over again. I’ll risk being called a broken record because I know these dogs are living a broken life every day.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Debbie Bull on April 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for all you do to keep this issue in the forefront everyday, Tom. Hopefully we will see some real changes in the laws in the near future. In the meantime we won’t give up the fight to help these innocent tortured dogs. Puppy mills are an American disgrace.


  2. Posted by Tom Grady on April 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you.
    Sometimes I feel like a broken record on the topic of puppy mills. But then I think about the dogs who are living this horror day after day after day. It must seem like a horrible broken record for them.
    So I’ll keep hammering away at this as long as there are dogs suffering in mills.


  3. Posted by Chris Gillis on April 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Having had the privilege of adopting a “puppy mill” rescue and witnessed the neglect this poor dog went through. She was dumped like a sack of garbage, at the shelter, not having had a bath or any grooming for almost all of her 5 years of producing puppies for the puppy mill breeder. Thankfully, the animal control office saved her and her male counterpart from euthanasia several times. Since her adoption, she has had to undergo multiple orthopedic surgeries for injuries that were never tended to for several years. She is making a remarkable recovery. She has very recently been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and will be on medications for the rest of her life. With all of this, she is the sweetest, most lovable rescue I have ever had, and we are privileged to have her in our lives. Puppy mills should be made extinct and owners punished severley and made to suffer like the poor animals have suffered.
    Thank you for continuing keeping this issue in the forefront of awareness.


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