KENNEWICK, WA (May 28, 2009) – United Animal Nations (UAN) has deployed 14 Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers to a temporary shelter at the Benton County Fairgrounds to help care for hundreds of miniature American Eskimo dogs rescued from a puppy mill.

EARS volunteers are caring for 371 miniature American Eskimo dogs removed from a puppy mill in Kennewick, Washington.

EARS volunteers specially trained in sheltering animals removed from puppy mills or displaced by natural disasters have traveled to Kennewick from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia to help the Benton County Sheriff’s Department and The Humane Society of the United States care for about 400 dogs removed from Sun Valley Kennel on May 27. Distinguished by their red shirts, EARS volunteers will feed and comfort the animals, clean cages and provide general shelter operations support.

“EARS volunteers are trained to care for animals who have been traumatized and frightened by years of neglect,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies. “We are pleased to support local law enforcement in shutting down this puppy mill and getting these dogs the care they desperately need.”

The rescued dogs were found living in deplorable conditions: some were confined to shopping carts, while others spun circles in rusty pens caked with feces. The smell of hot urine emanated from the property, which was 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.

Through its volunteer-driven EARS program, UAN provides free emergency sheltering and disaster relief services for animals in communities that become overwhelmed by natural disasters or other crises, like criminal seizures of puppy mills. With more than 4,000 EARS volunteers in the United States and Canada, UAN has responded to more than 90 emergencies since 1987.

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. Learn more at


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