UAN joins local, national groups to remove dogs from mass breeding operation in White County

EARS volunteer Ryan Alford of White House, Tennessee, carries a dog liberated from the Sparta puppy mill to a waiting rescue transport truck.

(April 23, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN) has deployed volunteers from five states to rescue and care for 221 dogs and 2 cats living in unsanitary conditions without proper socialization and medical care at Gayla’s Poodle Palace in Sparta, Tennessee. All of the animals have been surrendered by the owner to the custody of the White County Sheriff’s Department.

The White County Sheriff’s Department was recently contacted by neighbors concerned for the welfare of the dogs. When rescuers from UAN, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), White County Sheriff’s Department and the White County Humane Society arrived on scene this morning they found more than 200 dogs, mostly toy poodles and other small breeds, living crowded amongst their own feces in a small home.

All of the animals are being safely removed and transported to an emergency shelter where they will be examined by a team of veterinarians and receive any necessary immediate medical care. United Animal Nations and The HSUS will assist with the daily care of the animals until they are transported to partner shelters for evaluation and adoption.

“These animals were not getting the veterinary care or attention they needed to be happy and healthy, as is typically the case in a puppy mill,” said UAN Emergency Services Manager Janell Matthies, who traveled from California to manage the temporary shelter for the rescued dogs. “We are thrilled to use our expertise in emergency sheltering to help the White County Sheriff’s Department and The HSUS give them a chance at a better life.”

Watch this video of some of the rescued poodles:

Distinguished by their red shirts, UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers are specially trained to care for animals at temporary shelters after they have been rescued from cruelty and neglect situations or displaced by natural disasters. Eighteen UAN volunteers will travel from Tennessee,Mississippi,Alabama,Georgia and Illinois this weekend to care for the animals at the temporary shelter near Nashville. UAN has nearly 3,000 active volunteers in the United States and Canada, including 53 in Tennessee.

In November 2009, UAN sent more than 50 volunteers to Nashville to care for 84 horses who had been rescued from near starvation in CannonCounty. In 2009, UAN volunteers sheltered and cared for approximately 2,600 animals rescued from nine puppy mills in the U.S. and Canada. A puppy mill is a large-scale breeding operation where animals are housed in substandard conditions without proper food, water, socialization and veterinary care. Dogs bred in puppy mills are typically sold at pet stores, through classified advertisements and over the Internet. 

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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