No arrests after hundreds of dogs rescued from squalor at West Tenn. puppy mill

Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed at least 300 dogs were seized in an investigation at a Mercer puppy mill.
Published: Jun. 20, 2020 at 11:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT
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MERCER, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed an investigation is underway after hundreds of dogs were rescued from a puppy mill inside a mobile home in West Tennessee, yet no arrests have been made.

A veterinarian at the scene told WVLT News she saw several dogs in labor when she arrived at the property at 179 Sanderson Road Saturday night. She also reported seeing a shed full of dead dogs on the property.

“The smell was so bad that everyone inside had to wear gas masks,” said Dr. Sarah Beaty.

Beaty said every room of the mobile home was stacked from floor to ceiling with crates filled with hundreds of dogs.

A release from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office said the health department filed an Imminent Health Threat Notice, meaning they plan to seek a court order to condemn the property.

According to Christina Montanez with Guardians of Rescue and Kentucky Daschund Rescue, four rescues are involved with rescuing the dogs.

“We would like to see the laws in Tennessee change to keep this from happening again,” said Guardians of Rescue spokesperson K.B. “This was the most horrific puppy mill I’ve ever seen in my life. There’s no excuse for this at all.”

The rescue centers that are involved with retrieving the dogs are, Tennessee Daschund Rescue, Kentucky Daschund Rescue, Guardians of Rescue, and Kentucky Hopeful Paws Rescue.

K.B. said that this is their largest rescue to date and added that many of the dogs were emaciated and pregnant. “A lot of them had eye infections, ear infections, different parasites.”

The next step for the dogs is getting assessed by a veterinarian, K.B. said. “It’s just getting them back to health.”

Kim Vondra, Rescue Coordinator at Tennessee Daschunds Rescue said they rescued nearly 50 dogs and all have major skin issues and some are in the ICU.

The sheriff’s office said they are working with the Madison County District Attorney to determine appropriate charges.

Investigators said a lack of strong laws against puppy mills in the state of Tennessee contributed to delaying their ability to obtain a search warrant on the property.

Officials also warned citizens to be wary of potential scams related to the investigation. Anyone who wishes to donate should be vigilant in investigating the organization before giving any money.

To donate to Guardians of Rescue, click here.

The Humane Society released a checklist for “buyers beware” when shopping for a pet online, and how you can tell if it’s a puppy mill or a responsible breeder.

A responsible breeder checklist:

Responsible breeders only sell puppies to people they have met in person, never through pet stores or online to people they haven’t met.

Responsible breeders encourage you to visit and see where the puppy was born and raised.

Responsible breeders breed sparingly and show you individual records of veterinary visits for your puppy and the parents.

Responsible breeders want you to sign a contract and will ask you to return the puppy to them if you are unable to keep the dog.

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