Puppy mill rescue in Arkansas produces tiny miracle

Last Monday, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) rescue teams assisted in an operation that rescued 175 dogs from a puppy mill in Arkansas. Most dogs were small breeds like Chihuahuas, Boston terriers, and dachshunds.  Sadly, they were found in much of the same conditions you see in such instances, many were suffering from skin problems, flea infestation and other medical conditions. The dogs were subjected to a sad life of limited socialization,  little or no vet care, and unsanitary living conditions. It was plain to see that these animals were suffering.

One of the dogs stole all of the attention on Monday. Simply named ‘Puppy’, the month-old newborn was in really bad shape and whisked away by one of our volunteer responders Jim Breuner. Jim was tasked to be the critical care transport driver. In other words, he was going to be responsible of seeking immediate veterinary care for those dogs in really bad shape.

“When Puppy was given to me he was lethargic, he didn’t make a sound. He was obviously in a very bad shape, his life hanging by a thread”, said Jim. “I wrapped his tiny body in an orange blanket, gently put him inside an empty box of candies and placed him on the seat next to me. He was so still, I kept scratching him behind his ear to check for any reaction, to see if he was still alive”.

The good folks at the Hot Springs Animal Hospital were on-standby and immediately went to work to stabilize Puppy.

“It was so gratifying to hear from the vets today. They said Puppy was doing fine and improving each day”, said Jim.

Life for the dogs has significantly improved the last two days. IFAW Emergency Relief Officer, Shannon Walajtys sent a quick message today from inside the temporary emergency shelter in Hot Springs, Arkansas:

“All 175 dogs are going great! In just 24 hours since we rescued them from the puppy mill they have started to come out of their shells. We have plenty of dogs that are still scared but we have a consistent and efficient animal care system which provides us with extra time for snuggles and treats.”

A second wave of IFAW responders are heading out to Arkansas tomorrow to continue providing shelter and care for the dogs. This rescue has been a very efficient and successful collaboration between IFAW, the ASPCA and Petsmart Charties working in response to a request from the Garland County Sherriff’s Office.

– MB

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy