In the past few years in particular, The Humane Society of the United States has attacked the puppy mill problem from every angle, including working with law enforcement to shut down rogue commercial breeding operations in the United States, rescuing the dogs in distress, and drawing attention to the health and behavioral problems resulting from inbreeding and terrible conditions at such facilities. We have confronted the issue globally, including passing legislation in the U.S. Congress to ban imports of dogs younger than 6 months old for commercial resale from foreign breeding facilities in China, Eastern Europe, Mexico, and other parts of the world.
Within the last 18 months, our Animal Rescue Team, including our staff at Humane Society International in Canada, has put a stop to some horrible abuses of dogs at several large-scale puppy breeding facilities in Quebec. On Friday, working with local law enforcement and the provincial agriculture department, we came to the aid of more than 500 dogs of more than a dozen breed types at an operation in Quebec (watch our video here).
For us, it's a worldwide campaign against unethical and reckless breeding, and here is a case example of our concentration on the global problem. I asked our Canadian director, Rebecca Aldworth, to provide a first-hand account of Friday's deployment.
Entering the facility, it was hard to contain our emotion. Hundreds of dogs were confined in the facility with their most basic needs unmet. The noise and the smells were overwhelming, and it was hard to take in the magnitude of what we were witnessing. With tears in my eyes I found myself apologizing over and over to these dogs for what they had endured, promising that their suffering was over.
It takes a combined effort to successfully run an operation of this scale. So when Agriculture Quebec contacted HSI/Canada to assist them with this historic rescue, we immediately called in some powerful partners. Red Rover provided trained volunteers to run the shelter. The Oceanographic Environmental Research Society brought veterinary technicians who offered critical support. Trained animal handlers from the Ottawa Humane Society joined our team in removing the dogs from the facility. Together, we ensured that each and every dog was brought to safety and the chance for a better life.
It took the HSI Animal Rescue Team two days to coordinate the mass removal of these neglected animals. This was the largest commercial breeding facility we've seen in Canada and the largest rescue we've assisted with in this country. In the end, more than 500 deserving dogs were transported to the safety of our emergency shelter, where they are receiving veterinary care, food and water, love and attention.
Today I held one of the rescued dogs in my arms. As she clung to me, a veterinarian told me that this breeding female was at least 6 years old, meaning she had likely lived for years in this horrible place. I know too well what her life has likely been, and it breaks my heart. But soon, she'll be in a loving home, and it is your support that has made this possible.
HSI/Canada is determined to ensure that this kind of suffering never happens again. Together, we can put commercial breeding operations that put profits before welfare into the history books where they belong.
This post originally appeared on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.