83 Dogs Pulled From Horrific Puppy Mill, Rescuer Chokes Up While Describing Conditions


It’s a sight everyone hates to see: powerless animals living in deplorable conditions all for the sake of someone’s wallet.

On July 2, The Greater Birmingham Humane Society rescued an astounding 83 dogs from a puppy mill operating illegally in Jefferson County, Alabama.

Courtney Underwood, Director of Marketing and Outreach at GBHS, said rescuers were smacked in the face with the foul stench of filth when they entered the shed-sized building.

“Many of the animals, some of which are in the late stages of pregnancy, were crammed two to three in a wire cage,” GBHS said in a statement.

“Dogs were together in stacked inadequate, wire-bottom cages and crates caked in excrement and filth.”

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GBHS went on to say that most of the dogs were suffering from dental neglect and illness.

Every single dog had to be shaved by volunteer groomers after the rescue — the only sensible option to treat the dog’s urine-and-feces-saturated fur.

It’s been all-hands-on-deck for the GBHS staff and volunteers, who are working to get all the pups healthy, with the long-term goal of finding a forever home for each one. Underwood said she saw signs of improvement in the dogs almost immediately after their dramatic rescue.

“I went from seeing them at their lowest point on Monday night to spending the entire day Tuesday working alongside a team of general volunteers and volunteer groomers to bathe and groom every single one of them,” Underwood told PEOPLE.

“I watched as they got to run around in the grass and bask in the sun.”

“They got cuddled and kissed and carried around like infants,” Underwood said.

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The high-profile rescue has given GBHS staff a platform to advocate for responsible pet adoption. The society is begging people who have their hearts set on buying a dog to fully research prospective pet breeders beforehand.

“Responsible breeders do not have a problem with being inspected, it culls the bad guys out and elevates good breeders giving them a competitive advantage,” Underwood said, asking people to support puppy mill legislation.

“Ask yourself why any responsible breeder would be opposed to inspections of their kennels and practices?”

So how do you separate the responsible breeders from the puppy mill profiteers?

Ask yourself if the profit is more important to the breeder than the puppy, and the puppy’s parents. If profit comes before pooch, you’re looking at a puppy mill situation.

“In this case, it appears breeding money was more important than the health and well-being of the animals,” said Allison Black Cornelius, Chief Executive Officer of GBHS. “And that is the very definition of a puppy mill operation.”

But thanks to the loving souls at GBHS, and all the donors and foster parents who have started to help, Underwood sees a bright future for these 83 pups.

“I’m no longer going to mourn the life that they have missed, I’m going to be proud to be a part of what’s next,” Underwood said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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