BISSELL Pet Foundation, a national animal welfare organization, in partnership with Animal Rescue Corps, a national nonprofit animal protection organization, responded to an urgent request from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office for assistance with more than 150 dogs, including schnauzers, mini-schnauzers, and various breeds living in deplorable conditions at an alleged puppy mill in Bear Creek, North Carolina. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office seized all animals, and a suspected puppy mill owner was arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.
Upon discovering the severity of the conditions and the large number of dogs needing immediate care, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office contacted BISSELL Pet Foundation’s Animal Incident Management (AIM) which quickly reached out to Animal Rescue Corps to form a coalition. Animal Rescue Corps is overseeing the rescue operation and sheltering, medical needs, transport, and care of the animals, as well as legal and evidence documentation assistance while partnering with BISSELL Pet Foundation and AIM in operational planning, field removal, field volunteers, and funding. The rescue coalition was on scene with the necessary equipment, supplies, transport vehicles, volunteers, and a state-licensed veterinarian soon after receiving the call.
“A seizure of this size and magnitude is a crisis for any animal shelter. We applaud the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and Animal Resources for addressing this egregious case of neglect and cruelty,” said Cathy Bissell, founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “These animals have been bred for greed with no regard for their health or welfare.”
“Every rescued dog from a puppy mill represents a triumph against cruelty,” said Tim Woodward, Executive Director of Animal Rescue Corps. “We work to shed light on the dark reality of puppy mills and emphasize the transformative power of adoption in providing these animals with the love and care they deserve.”
Responders to this operation found dozens of dogs living in inadequate housing and surrounded by several inches of urine and feces, in addition to several who were already deceased. These dogs, including newborn puppies, have endured severe neglect and prolonged exposure to high levels of ammonia, resulting in dehydration, malnutrition, parasites, untreated injuries and illnesses, severe matting, skin conditions, and other life-threatening medical conditions consistent with chronic neglect. In partnership with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office, BISSELL Pet Foundation and Animal Rescue Corps removed the dogs and will transport them to an undisclosed rescue facility where they will receive immediate medical, physical, and social care.
“We recognize that not all victims of abuse are people, and we take animal cruelty very seriously,” said Sheriff Mike Roberson. “We’re committed to fully enforcing state laws, holding those responsible for such acts accountable. We’re also grateful for the assistance of BISSELL Pet Foundation and Animal Rescue Corps in helping address this situation. Together, as a community, we will work to ensure a safe and compassionate environment for all, human and animal alike.”