United Animal Nations (UAN) is assisting the Benton County, Washington Sheriff’s Office with the seizure and care of hundreds of dogs from a puppy mill in Kennewick.
Volunteers with UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) worked with The Humane Society of the United States and Spokane Humane Evacuation Animal Rescue Team (HEART), to assess, examine and catalogue the animals. The dogs will be cared for at a temporary shelter.
The dogs — all Miniature American Eskimos — lived in deplorable conditions: Dogs were confined to shopping carts, while others spun circles in rusty pens caked with feces. The smell of hot urine emanated from the property lined with pens and more makeshift cages, created with plywood and rusty metal doors. Some of the dogs suffered from malnutrition, urine burns and overgrown nails.
Here’s a report from UAN’s Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies:
These dogs are absolutely filthy….these are supposed to be white dogs, but all of them are varying shades of yellow to brown. Many have had long-term diarrhea which is causing the matting to be even worse. They are all underweight, dehydrated and have fleas, overgrown nails, severe dental disease, eye problems, worms ….and the list goes on and on. Many are also pregnant or have puppies with them. All of the dogs are frantically scared. They try to squish themselves into a ball at the back of the kennel or some just spin instead, circling and circling their enclosure. It’s heartbreaking to see, but just reinforces the fact that we need to be here. These dogs desperately needed help.
As one of the veterinarians said, “Even ten people working 24 hours a day would not be able to care for this many animals.” All 371 of these dogs were being cared for by one woman.
The field team has also discovered chickens and cats on the site and it’s unknown if they will be coming here as well.
The situation changes almost hourly and all the while the trucks are continuously pulling into the parking lot with more and more identical dogs. The volunteers are working hard to make sure the crates are set up and the shelter is ready to accommodate all of them. They line up patiently at each truck to gently take the terrified dogs into their arms and put them in their clean kennels. The first thing almost every dog has done is drink the entire bowl of water that is waiting for them.
Time to get back to work to get ready for the rest of the animals. It looks like it’s going to be another long day, but a good one. Thank goodness these animals are in our care.