More on 98 Dogs Seized in NC

Background here.

Some specifics on the seized dogs have emerged:

  • Two Chihuahuas will require surgery. One has a busted left eye socket, which has left the dog blind. The other has a puncture to her side that allows air to leak from her lungs.
  • A 10- to 12-year-old greyhound is missing much of her lower jaw and nearly all of her teeth from poor dental care. The dog is pregnant. A shelter veterinarian said the dog shouldn’t have been bred after age 2 or 3.
  • An adult Weimaraner is malnourished to the point where the outline of his ribs and hip bones could be seen through his skin. Officials said the dog weighs about 40 pounds, but should weigh about 75 pounds.
  • Other dogs have dozens of ticks — more than 30 on one greyhound; mammary tumors; bloody diarrhea; heartworms; missing teeth; bruising; and open wounds.

This in contrast to the kennel’s web site claims:

On its Web site, Rush Kennel bills itself as “North Carolina’s No. 1 dog kennel,” a place where Weimaraners, Labrador retrievers and other breeds frolic in a fenced play yard before the day ends with a massage, pool bath and pedicure.

18 complaints against the kennel are on file with various agencies.  Among the complaints:

  • A Winston-Salem woman who purchased two poodles last May. One died from worms two days after purchase. The other was diagnosed with glaucoma.
  • A South Carolina woman who said she went to purchase a Weimaraner puppy from the kennel. She asked to see the dog’s parents and but was told “that it wasn’t allowed,” and also told she could not see where the dogs were kept.
  • A man who reported the puppy he picked up from the kennel in January was infected with worms and parasites, and very underweight. The man said he called the kennel to request copies of X-rays and veterinary records, but an employee refused and became defensive before hanging up on him.
  • A woman who purchased a Weimaraner puppy in 2003. At 22 months the dog developed a “terrible cough, began to appear thin and began to tire easily.” The dog was diagnosed with “multiple heart defects and congestive heart failure.” The dog had to be euthanized. The woman wrote that a cardiologist told her the dog’s conditions were hereditary and “a breeder should not have bred a dog with the defect.”
  • A New York woman who said the Yorkshire terrier puppy she bought in June 2008 arrived at her residence “obviously sick, urinating on itself, lethargic, and “it smelled bad” and “it was not moving.” The woman said she received no medical records with the dog and took it to a veterinarian, where the puppy died.

Apparently local AC officers would regularly ferry discarded dogs from the kennel to the local shelter – 40 – 50 of them in the last 8 – 9 years.  The shelter director, Marsha Williams:

“We would have to treat them for whatever illness or other problems they had,” she  said. “They were not in very good shape when they were brought in to us. She said they were tired, like they were too old or she didn’t want to breed them anymore.”

So apparently local animal control, the shelter, the Better Business Bureau and the State Department of Agriculture were all aware of potential problems at this kennel but nobody ever did anything.  NC does have animal cruelty laws on the books but it looks like in this situation, nobody could be bothered to enforce the law.

And now, the HSUS is using the opportunity to again push to get their “puppy mill bill” passed in NC.  Authorities are not enforcing the laws already on the books, why would we add more and where will the funding for enforcement of this new law come from?  It makes no sense to me.  Failure to enforce existing animal welfare laws is not a logical stepping stone to creating new laws.

98 “Healthy” Dogs Seized in NC

I don’t care if you have 1 dog or 98 dogs – you gotta do it right.  Now nobody’s perfect and I think it’s reasonable to allow for some variations in quality of care so long as the basics are consistently met – sufficient food, clean shelter, affection, exercise and discipline.

In Pleasant Garden, NC, authorities were receiving complaints from people who had bought puppies from a local breeder operating under the name Rush Kennels.  Buyers reported their dogs had multiple health problems sometimes resulting in death.  So the sheriff’s office conducted an undercover investigation and bought a puppy from Rush Kennels.  That puppy was diagnosed with multiple health problems and ended up dying.  This week, authorities seized 98 dogs from Rush Kennels.  Two of the dogs required emergency surgery:

“There were some that had been over utilized as breeders and actually had parts of their internal organs that were hanging out.” [Sheriff BJ] Barnes said.

Here is a photo of one of the seized dogs (more photos here):

The owner of Rush Kennels, Sheila Rush, [Note:  Check out Sheila Rush on “Wife Swap”] and a dog caretaker, Robert Landreth, have not yet been charged because the sheriff’s office is still gathering evidence, but they say animal cruelty and fraud charges are likely.

Landreth, who works at Rush Kennel, told FOX8 that the seized dogs were healthy and that Rush is working with her attorney to get her dogs back.

That Weimaraner is not “healthy”.  For starters, he is emaciated.  Compare to a side view of a random Weim I found online who is in normal, healthy weight:

Oh and any dogs with guts hanging out – they do not fall under the “healthy” category either.

Update:  Both Rush and Landreth have now been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.  Read more and see another “healthy” dog’s photo here.