300 Dogs Rescued From Puppy Mill - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/2/04-Van Zandt County

300 Dogs Rescued From Puppy Mill

The SPCA is calling it their largest rescue to date, and it happened in East Texas. Around 300 hundred of dogs were seized from "Fuzzcrest Farms in Van Zandt County near Wills Point. The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Texas says the dogs were forced to live in crowded, filthy conditions without clean food or water.

This is the third puppy mill bust in less than eight months in the Smith/Van Zandt County area.

Angry owner, Mary Smith, says she had records of all of the animals rabies shots, but when SPCA officials asked for those May 21st, she was unable to produce them.

"Get off my property! I take good care of my dogs. They have their rabies shots, they're vetted, they're fed daily, and they're cleaned," Smith said when confronted on her property.

But SPCA says out of the three busts, this one is the worst. "We have animals with open wounds, we have animals void of any hair, we have animals that they're pads are bleeding from standing on the wires so much," said Dave Garcia, Vice President of Operations of the SPCA of Texas.

Smith kept hundreds of dogs living in cages in and around her house, literally stacked on top of each other. Some animals were severely wounded from the cramped living conditions. For instance, one small dog suffered twisted back leg and a broken jaw.

"In one instance we had five dogs in one of those little cages, so they couldn't even turn around without sitting on each other. We have animals living in feces and the feces underneath have turned white because they've been there so long," says Garcia.

And those are just the cages from inside the house and the barn. SPCA reports there were also larger dogs, hounds and great Danes, teathered outside in the same type of condition. "These animals have no options. These animals have to live in that swallow." And almost as disturbing as the condition of the dogs, is the reason behind their cruel treatment.

"The reason this got started, it was a puppy mill, they were there to make a dollar. And when you weigh the welfare of an animal against a dollar, the animal's gonna lose," Garcia.

Officials say animals from the mills sometimes bring in more one hundred fifty thousand dollars a year from sales on the Internet, to pet stores, or to flea markets.

Mary smith, now, faces charges of animal cruelty. The dogs were taken to a warehouse in Dallas where they will be kept pending the outcome of a custody trial. If the SPCA is granted custody the dogs will be put up for adoption.

Reported By: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com

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