Raid on Puppy Mill in Arkansas
Roughly 175 Westies, Boston Terriers, Pomeranians and other small dogs are receiving care and attention at a temporary shelter—and their owner is facing cruelty charges—after the ASPCA helped law enforcement raid a Hot Springs, Arkansas, puppy mill on November 7.
The breeding dogs, some with tiny, unweaned puppies, had been living in sheds outside a mobile home. Responders found them suffering from various eye diseases, dental disease, skin diseases, fleas, mites and heartworm.
The raid stemmed from a two-year investigation led by Corporal Angela Graybeal, a Garland County sheriff’s investigator who received numerous complaints about the living conditions and mistreatment of the puppy mill dogs. The investigation culminated Monday morning with the arrest of mill owner Pam Thomas on three felony counts of animal cruelty.
Soon after the arrest, our veterinary forensics team and volunteers from the International Fund for Animal Welfare began combing the property to collect evidence, including several deceased dogs. At the same time, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team began removing dogs from the puppy mill. The team transported the dogs to a temporary shelter using the ASPCA’s custom animal transport trailer.
Once the dogs arrived at the temporary shelter, a veterinary team led by FIR Medical Director Dr. Rhonda Windham began assessing and treating the dogs’ medical conditions. The dogs are also receiving toys, affection and healthy food from a sheltering team of roughly 30 people who are using supplies donated by PetSmart Charities, Inc.
The dogs will not be immediately available for adoption because they are part of a criminal investigation.
As for the mill owner: “Any additional charges against Ms. Thomas will be determined based on the medical conditions reported by the ASPCA,” says Lieutenant James Martin of the Garland County Sheriff’s Office. “We appreciate the outpour of support from the community, and hope these animals can move on to a better place soon.”