Transporters Rachel and Michael called from the road to say that the dogs they just rescued from a Nebraska Puppy Mill were in very bad condition. As a Hearts United for Animals employee Rachel has transported and rescued many puppy mill dogs, so we knew it had to be bad when she was so shocked and appalled. She said the smell was atrocious, the dogs were covered in mats, extremely filthy and worst of all they were crawling with lice. Our hearts broke when we heard this news.
Nothing could have prepared us for seeing it in person when they arrived. The cocker spaniels had huge clumps of feces and dried food hanging from their ears. A sweet little pekingese was missing one eye and had mats the size of a baseball on his head and belly. One cocker spaniel girl was so sick and downtrodden that she was lying stiff with her face in the back of her crate unwilling to move or look at us. When we did gently lift her from the crate we saw that both eyes were badly infected with masses hanging out of them. Some of the little ones were so happy to be rescued that they sang the entire trip, making gentle noises to make friends with their rescuers. One little tiny pomeranian was very happy to be rescued but is also quite ill. All of their teeth are bad, but his are hanging on by a thread. He has a cough and is breathing hard which we suspect may mean infection from his awful teeth has gone to his heart. He is twelve years old. He was not well enough to even finish having his bath on his first full day at HUA. Caregivers had to stop and let him rest as he was too stressed and ill to continue.
Political games are the order of the day in Nebraska, as nearly every state, but these dear dogs are the pawns who pay the price. Their health will be restored as best as it possibly can be under the care of HUA. They will have good food, comfortable beds and be clean for the first time in their lives. Hopefully they will find families who love them so that they can try to forget the misery of the first eight to twelve years of their lives. But it doesn’t make it ok that this happened to them in the first place. Inspectors of these horrific facilities walk a fine line. They try to gain compliance in places where it cannot happen, all because the state wants to keep them in business. Senators walk a fine line of trying to appease breeders and rescuers so that their constituencies remain happy, but in the end money wins out. Breeders stay in business even when their conduct is criminal, just so that the dirty business of dog breeding in the state can remain promoted, falling under the umbrella of keeping agriculture strong in Nebraska. Bills are watered down to the point of being ineffective and the small number of control measures in place are ignored for the good of the pockets of the breeders. There is no consideration for what happens to the dogs after the breeders are done using and abusing them for years, or the extreme cost to the rescues who take on the responsibility to repair the years of neglected medical needs. Most of all there is no thought for the suffering dogs. The breeder of these dogs may have gotten rich of off the offspring they produced, but we are here to say that they are clearly morally bankrupt and it should be something that the state is ashamed to support.