Puppy Mills Breed Misery
Commercial Kennels
An Arkansas Commercial Kennel

Rural Arkansas. Two hundred dogs. A remote farm with old buildings no longer adequate for the hogs they previously held. No home on the property. No human to care for the dogs or protect them from the elements, illness, wild animals, or thieves.

The dogs were what the hogs before them were - livestock.

It was obvious from the lack of bedding, stark food and water bowls, and the grate floor where feces and urine were hosed out, that no one spent time with these dogs - that no one cared.

Representatives from Hearts United for Animals walked through the hog buildings imprisoning the dogs trying to decide which ones they could rescue. There wasn't room to take all of them so they looked for the ones who were the sickest and most depressed - the ones who needed help the most.

The little red Cavalier looked terribly injured. She tried to bury her head in the back corner of her cell. She refused to look at people even ones softly and gently calling to her. She just kept trying harder and harder to shove her head all the way into the corner made of wire and metal as if there would be an escape hole. It seemed that she was unable to stand but later it was learned that she could, she just didn't have the will. She was a thoroughly sad, beaten and petrified soul. The sight of any human made her want to crawl into a corner and die.

The HUA representatives continued their walk through the buildings noting the rolled plastic tacked to the large open windows. In the winter the plastic would be rolled up to cover the window openings in a futile effort to provide scant protect from the frigid winters. In the summer it would be rolled down leaving the windows open and providing no protection from rain storms, hail, wild animals, insects, or rodents and certainly no relief from the sweltering summer heat. The kennel owner claimed that little 2 dollars clip fans provided relief to female dogs who were pregnant. Given 100 degree temperatures and 100 percent humidity prevalent in Arkansas summers, that was a patently absurd statement.

As they walked they saw mountains of shaved hair. Some dogs had clearly just been shaved while others were covered with mats so severe that they could not walk. A smoldering burn pit made them weak with the idea of what might have been burned. The owners had spent weeks working to make the property look presentable, cleaning and cutting weeds. The thought of what it looked like previously was chilling.

The auction began the next day. The kennel was selling everything - the property, the equipment, all the dogs - going out of business. These are the only kind of auctions that HUA will attend otherwise buying dogs at auction perpetuates the misery by giving money to the kennel to continue their greed inspired business. Buying dogs at auctions when the kennel is going out of business gets those dogs out of the vicious cycle of misery while not contributing to the hateful industry.

The auctioneers introduced the AKC inspector as a good guy who was on the side of the commercial kennels. The auctioneer further commented that the AKC inspector knew how to make money for the AKC and that the prior AKC inspector, the "lady inspector", had been replaced because she was too tough on inspections. (Watch for the video that will be coming!)

The auction continued - some prices were high while other dogs were considered essentially worthless bringing only a dollar or maybe five. A black toy spaniel was carried forward and literally dropped on the auction table. This tortured soul was too depressed to stand or lift his head. He landed like sack of potatoes with feet splayed askew - not moving a single muscle.

The auctioneer bragged that a female JRT had weaned 23, TWENTY-THREE, pups in her last three litters. At six she looked years older and completely worn with not an ounce of the happy zest for which her breed is so well known. Some of the dogs clearly had come from homes. They walk on a leash, heel, and sit. Imagine being in a home and ending up in a hog farm with no chance for habeas corpus. The other prisoners had known only deprivation. They had no concept of what life should have been like for them but the ones from a home knew what they had lost.

The HUA people were sick from the heat while loading the dogs they had rescued thus poignantly underscoring the torment the dogs had long endured. As the two HUA vehicles made their way to freedom from Arkansas to Nebraska, the dogs gratefully drank cold water and the pugs pressed their faces to the air conditioning vents. They drove through the night, through rain and thunderstorms, ferrying their precious treasure to freedom. When they arrived at HUA at 3:00 in the morning they were greeted by an entire staff of people anxious to show the dogs love and comfort.

The three women who rescued the dogs were finally at their homes at 5:30am but sleep didn't come for them. They had saved 54 dogs but the ones they could not save haunted their thoughts. As did the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of dogs in commercial kennels across this country live lives of misery many in places as awful as this one was, some in places that are even worse.

But for 54 dogs life has begun. And it will be good.

Read about the Arkansas Commercial Kennel Rescue

Read about the dogs who were rescued from this commercial kennel.

See all the dogs who were rescued from this commercial kennel.

See photos of the commercial kennel.

Take a Survey to give us your opinion about commercial kennels.

Tell the AKC what you think about them.

If you can donate to HUA to help care for these dogs, please go to hua.org

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