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More than 50 dogs seized in N.C. puppy mill bust

More than dogs, primarily Maltese and Poodles, were seized in a puppy mill bust in Iredell County, NC
Humane Society of the US

In yet another puppy mill bust, 55 small dogs, primarily Poodles and Maltese, were surrendered by their owner today when the Iredell County Sheriff's Department served a search warrant, according to an article posted today on

When the Iredell County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant on the property, they found dozens of dogs and puppies living in filthy conditions. The dogs were severely matted, and many were sick from living in these conditions.

They were being housed in stacked rabbit-hutch like cages. Many of the dogs and puppies had lacerations from the wire in the cages.

Dogs living in such conditions can be impacted for life with both medical and emotional fall-out. Dogs used to living in small crates, rarely being handled by humans, need patience and special care to help them learn to be around people.

In addition, housebreaking can be difficult because crate training may not work. Dogs normally don't pee and poop in the same area where they eat and raise babies; puppy mill dogs are forced to do just that.

Princess, a purebred Maltese topping out at five pounds,has been living with this author for the last three years. She spent the first six years of her life in a puppy mill, not unlike the one busted today, having one litter of babies after another. She only has a few teeth left, a consequence of poor quality food and no dental care, and because of this her tongue hangs out of her mouth most of the time.

Although the conditions were not nearly as deplorable as those in Iredell, three years later Princess still has to wear doggie diapers at times, and has episodes of severe separation anxiety. When she is introduced to a foster puppy, she immediately takes over mothering the pup, and is distressed for days after the puppy is adopted. She is a wonderful loving pet, but has need extra training and understanding because of what she endured during the first half of her life.

In a press release from HSUS, Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director, said, “For far too long, dogs have been suffering like this in puppy mills across the North Carolina. This rescue, along with the 16 other we've assisted with in the past 3 years, demonstrates the need for stronger laws in North Carolina. We're so grateful to Iredell County Animal Control for coming to the aid of these dogs.”

The press release continued, quoting Iredell County Animal Services Director Brad Gates, who said “I am normally against removing animals from the owner if any other reasonable options are available. However, in this instance, lesser efforts have failed and sometimes we need to use whatever means necessary to move animals into a safer and healthier environment, whether I like it or not, that is the case here."

As of this afternoon, no arrests have been made.

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