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Puppy Mill Horrors

In the May 2010 raid on a puppy mill in Chester County, North Carolina, the seventy-seven year old Melissa Elizabeth Lyles was hauled away to jail and eighty-seven dogs were rescued from horrific conditions.

The woman's trailer house and two unventillated sheds had to have air pumped through them for over two hours before it was safe to enter even with masks. The windowless air-tight storage units were like ovens.

"Some of the dogs were in the middle of giving birth as we took them," said animal control officer Lt. Mary-Anne Tolbert. They'd never seen the world outside the sheds or the trailer, and very likely most had never been out of their filthy cages.

Feces was thick on everything, including the dogs, who had skin diseases, burnt lungs and noses from the amonia build-up in the air, emaciation from being underfed and under watered.

Somehow the old lunatic with the "Puppy's For Sale" sign on the side of her road had been herself living in that filth for years, and no one had reported the condition of her dogs. Puppy mills are not illegal in North Carolina, but such ill care is.

The hag who maltreated the animals had been selling them for $400 to $900 each, out of her white trash trailer for over a decade, until at long, long last someone seeking a dog reported the conditions to authorities.

Mostly chihuahuas, yorkies, and maltese, animal control officer Lt. Tolbert said the smell of feces and urine was overwhelming. Dogs were stacked up one on top of another in cages. "The smell was burning the officers' eyes and throats."

Volunteers arrived from nearby towns to help the shelter care for the sudden influx of small dogs. After a lot of medical attention, cleaning, and grooming, most would likely be easily adopted.


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