Investigation into reported "puppy mill"

Posted at 4:05 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 16:05:22-05

Authorities in northeastern Michigan have seized more than 50 dogs from a breeding facility in an animal cruelty investigation.

The Oscoda Sheriff's Department and Animal Control officers say the animals were found living in crowded and filthy conditions at a unlicensed breeding facility in Mio, just east of Grayling. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says the dogs were a variety of breeds and were living in small wire cages or outdoor pens. Many had no access to food or water.

The ASPCA believes the facility was a puppy mill, designed to generate profits at the cost of the animals' health and well-being. "These dogs were living a very sad existence," said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. "While the puppies at breeding facilities are sold for profit, their parents are often kept there for years, subjected to incessant breeding and typically lacking routine veterinary care and basic socialization, resulting in a very poor quality of life. Our goal is to remove these dogs, help them become healthy, and find them homes once custody is determined by the court."

"We hope this investigation will emphasize that cruelty will not be tolerated in Oscoda County or the surrounding counties," said Andrew Thompson, Oscoda County Animal Control Officer. "We encourage the public to report any suspected cruelty to law enforcement or animal control".

Michigan is among a minority of states without any regulation of puppy mills. The ASPCA urges state lawmakers to pass H.4898, a bill that would require large-scale dog breeders to register with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and to follow guidelines that would help ensure the humane treatment of dogs in these facilities.