An animal welfare organization engineered the liberation of 64 dogs and followed up with a court conviction of the owner of an illegal puppy mill.
The operation in La Unión contained cages with dogs in deplorable condition, said Humane Society International. The organization worked with the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal and the Asociación Nacional Protectora de Animales to obtain a search warrant and then the animals April 17. The dogs mainly were small breeds, such as french poodles, maltese, shih tzu, chihuahuas, yorkshire terrier and pekingese
The organization Wednesday called the ruling to fine the operator of the puppy mill an historic decision. The fine was equivalent to 30-days salary, the highest permitted by law, said Humane Society International.
“No animal should be subjected to or forced to live in deplorable conditions as those 64 dogs, said Cynthia Dent, regional director for Humane Society International/Latin America.
“Dogs released following the trial will be spayed or neutered prior to being put up for adoption,” she said. “We hope that the suffering they endured for so long will soon be a distant memory, and that the newborn pups can play on grass instead of living helpless in cages.”
Most of the rescued dogs had been kept in cages for many years of their lives, dirty, crowded into unsanitary conditions, said Humane Society International.
Before being rescued, many had never seen sunlight or received veterinary care, and breeding dogs were forced to give birth time and again, and their owners benefited from selling their puppies, the organization said.
After the rescue, the dogs were examined by a veterinarian, who found that eight were pregnant, including some at high risk of death because of their age, the organization added. Some dogs were found with eye infections, teeth in bad conditions, hearing problems, scabies, extremely long nails, and many had badly healed broken bones and other problems, it said.
Ms. Dent said that the organization was grateful to the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal and the Asociación Nacional Protectora de Animales for allowing it to participate.
“This ruling’s important legal precedent, and significant media coverage will serve to warn puppy mill owners about the consequences of the legal nature of the mistreatment of animals,” said Gisela Vico, president of the animal protection association.
The two organizations said they encourage people looking to add a pet to their family to adopt rather than buy puppies in pet stores or from puppy mills. In puppy mills, animals are bred to be sold, the focus being financial gain and not animal welfare, they said. Dogs bred in these facilities tend to live in small wire cages with little or no attention, no exercise and mostly lack of veterinary care, they added.