RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) -- According to officials, 57 animals were rescued on Thursday from a suspected puppy mill in Randolph County.
The Humane Society of the United States is said to have assisted local authorities with the rescue of the animals. Kaitlin Sanderson with the Humane Society said many of the dogs were Great Pyrenees. A news release shared with THV11 detailed that dogs had icicles hanging from their fur at the time of the rescue.
Here's the full release from the Humane Society:
Forty-six dogs and 11 other animals were rescued from a suspected Warm Springs, Arkansas, puppy mill. The owner, who was previously convicted of animal cruelty in 2013, is selling the animals in person and online through various websites.
Randolph County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant on the property and discovered the animals, mainly Great Pyrenees, were being housed in appalling conditions, most without access to clean water or food. The Humane Society of the United States and other area organizations, including Central Arkansas Rescue Efforts for Animals, The Humane Society of Saline County and Randolph County Humane Society, assisted in the rescue and removal the animals.
Many dogs were found outdoors, without any protection from the freezing cold, while others were living on piles of feces and urine inside the home. Some of the animals were suffering so severely they needed immediate medical care. Others were emaciated and so matted they could not even move.
Dale Bartlett, policy manager for The HSUS puppy mills campaign, said: "These animals were forced to live in freezing temperatures – some dogs literally had icicles hanging off of them. And sadly this is typical for commercial dog breeding facilities in Arkansas since the state does not have any laws to protect dogs in puppy mills. We're thankful to the Randolph County Sheriff's Office and the Randolph County Humane Society for taking action and letting us help rescue these animals."
In addition, rescuers discovered 3 cats and 8 chickens on the property.
Randolph County Sheriff Gary Tribble, said, "It's frustrating to see these animals living without basic care – especially during this freezing weather. We're grateful to The Humane Society of the United States and the other groups here today for rescuing these animals."
Arkansas is one of the most problematic puppy mill states in the country and currently there is no law to protect these dogs forced to live in these facilities. Law enforcement officers, therefore, are unable to prevent neglect until it reaches crisis proportions. Legislation by Rep. Sorvillo is slated to be introduced that would require any breeder with 10 or more dogs to be licensed and inspected by their county.
The HSUS Animal Rescue Team has removed all of the animals from the property pending the final disposition of this case. The animals will be thoroughly examined by a team of veterinarians, and will receive any immediate medical treatment at the Humane Society of Saline County. PetSmart Charities is providing the necessary food, supplies and enrichment items for the dogs.