"For far too long, dogs have been suffering like this in puppy mills across North Carolina," Kim Alboum, the HSUS state director there, said yesterday after she and local organizations conducted a rescue of 55 dogs living in squalor and confinement in Iredell County. Iredell County Animal Control called in The HSUS, Guilford County Animal Shelter and Iredell County Humane Society, to assist with the rescue and removal of these suffering creatures. Now they'll have a new, brighter, better life, and their story will give further momentum to an improved legal framework in the state. As Kim notes, "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."
You may remember that it was just last week that our HSUS teams rescued more than 180 animals at a puppy mill in Arkansas.
Meanwhile, our Pets for Life work is expanding in underserved communities throughout the U.S, our veterinary teams deploy with frequency to remote and impoverished Indian reservations, and our street dog vaccination and sterilization program staff are on the ground working in some of the poorest and most economically challenged nations in the world. We recently concluded a successful World Spay Day, with more than 700 events taking place across the globe.
I am amazed at the willful denial of our critics in big agribusiness and other animal-use sectors about the reach and impact of our hands-on work. When will they understand that The HSUS, while also being the lead advocacy group for all animals, is also the largest animal-care provider in the United States, with our animal care centers adding substantially to the number of animals we touch directly? When will they acknowledge the work of our wildlife response teams helping all manner of wild creatures in harm's way? When will they recognize that our animal rescue teams are bringing dogs like those in Arkansas and North Carolina out of horrible situations almost weekly, changing their lives dramatically for the better?
Of course, the pork industry does not want or like our hard-hitting campaigns to stop major retailers from purchasing their product, most of it coming from operations that confine sows in cruel gestation crates. The trophy hunters aren't happy that we turned in 228,000 signatures today to qualify our referendum in Michigan to stop their power grab on wildlife policy and to block their hunting program targeting the state's small and fragile population of wolves. And they are none too happy that last week we formally qualified our ballot initiative in Maine to stop bear baiting, hounding, and trapping -- in order to relieve Maine of the moral burden of being the only state that allows all three unsporting, inhumane methods of bear hunting. And I cannot imagine that the horse sorers will be dancing with joy in their stables as we launch, in the coming days, a national television advertising campaign to pass legislation to crack down on the criminals who continue to torment Tennessee Walking Horses in order to cause them so much pain in their feet that they step higher at the shows.
There will always be politicians sadly in the pocket of these interests and who use their office as a lever to attack us, or to amplify the voices of the status quo in these industries. That comes with the territory for us, and we understand it. But let them all remember that we meet these attacks with even more fierce determination to tackle the problems and the misery they've caused. We always prefer to win through the application of reason and science, but when asked to fight for animals, we will charge ahead to the front lines. People have been trying to stand in our way for 60 years, and we are bigger and stronger than ever before. That's just who we are -- taking on the biggest problems for animals and confronting the most entrenched industries. We count on you to stick with us as we engage these challenges, and drive the outcomes we all hope to see.
Iredell County Animal Services visited the scene and became concerned about the welfare of the dogs. The HSUS, Guilford County Animal Shelter and Iredell County Humane Society, to assist with the rescue and removal of the dogs. Photo by Shannon Johnstone
The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on the property and found poodles and maltese dogs and puppies living in deplorable conditions, their fur was extremely matted and they were suffering from a multitude of untreated medical conditions. They were living in stacked, rabbit-hutch-like cages that are unsafe and were inflicting cuts and other injuries. The owner agreed to surrender the animals. Photo by Shannon Johnstone
Dr Lewis exams a dog on the property. Photo by Shannon Johnstone
Brad Gates, animal services director for Iredell County Animal Services happy to be able to help the dogs: “I am normally against removing animals from the owner if any other reasonable options are available. However, like in this instance, lesser efforts have failed and sometimes we need to use whatever legal means necessary to move animals into a safer and healthier environment, whether I like it or not, that is the case here.” Photo by Shannon Johnstone
The groups have safely transported the dogs to the Iredell County Animal Shelter and Guilford County Animal Shelter where they will be thoroughly examined by teams of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical treatment. Photo by Shannon Johnstone
There are no specific North Carolina laws to protect dogs sold directly to the public or online by commercial breeding facilities. Law enforcement officers, therefore, are unable to prevent neglect until it reaches crisis proportions. As a result, North Carolina has become a haven for some of the worst puppy mill operators in the country. This is the 17th rescue that The HSUS has assisted with in North Carolina since June 2011. Photo by Shannon Johnstone.
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