Many dogs still being rescued from ‘so-called puppy mills’


CLEVELAND (WJW)- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found animal rescue groups still struggling to keep up with the number of dogs rescued from breeders the Humane Society calls puppy mills.

Yet, a state agency just told us days ago it has enough inspectors to keep watch on the breeders.

An organization called the Puppy Mill Rescue Team says it continues to find dogs in what it considers deplorable conditions.  The organization spoke out with a small truckload of dogs.

Jamie Runevitch told FOX 8, “These dogs are headed to Mentor, Erie and Buffalo. There are good people in any group, and they connect us with the dogs, and we’re able to pick them up.”

Rescue groups tell us, in most cases, they do not know which dogs they get from which breeders. They often pick up the dogs at a neutral location such as a veterinarian’s office.

Another rescue group, Golden Retrievers In Need, told us the main concern is getting the dogs medical care. Then, getting the dogs adopted into a ‘forever’ home.

The I-TEAM now has investigated Ohio dog breeders for years. Usually, when we visit, we get told to leave the property, or, at the very least, we are not allowed to see the dogs.

We recently reviewed some of the latest inspection records. We found some of the same breeders cited now have been cited before. Written up for not giving the dogs proper medical care, or not providing proper shelter, and more.

The state has not shut down any of the breeders. The state says it considers whether or not a breeder makes an effort to correct violations.  So. we also asked about keeping an eye on them.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture oversees dog breeders with just 5 inspectors for 460 breeders.

Dennis Summers spoke for the agency and said, “If you break that down, it actually it is fairly manageable for 5 people to do that. They have a pretty gpod idea of whats going on within their assigned , if you will.”

Again though, the Humane Society of the US says rescue groups constantly find dogs they consider to be in great distress.

The head of the Ohio chapter of the Humane Society, Corey Roscoe, said, “If you or I treated our own pets that way at home, we could certainly be charged with animal cruelty.”

Jamie Runevitch added, “I really think public pressure is the only thing that’s gonna get this fixed.”

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