About 100 dogs were rescued from an alleged Florida puppy mill on Nov. 16 after a six-month investigation (video below).
The owners of a unlicensed canine breeding facility in Clewiston, Florida, face animal cruelty charges.
Complaints from residents of the community reportedly sparked the investigation into Alexei Fernandez and Beatriz Perez, the pair allegedly responsible for the poor living conditions dozens of dogs had to endure.
“We’ve worked with people who have come in and made some uncover buys, or been able to just offer up photos or information about what was going on,” Hendry County Sheriff’s representative Susan Harrelle, told WINK News.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the dogs were found in crowded, dirty cages. Many had no clean drinking water or food, and several were suffering from dental problems, eye diseases and skin conditions, reports WFLA News.
The dogs were taken to a temporary shelter to receive medical care from ASPCA veterinarians, reports NBC Miami News. The animal rights organization will care for the dogs at the shelter until custody is determined in court.
“We have no tolerance for animal cruelty in this county,” Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden told WFLA News. “Hopefully this case will send a message and prevent similar situations.”
“Puppy mills are a widespread issue across Florida and around the country," explained Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. "Many people are unaware that most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, and that buying pet store puppies indirectly supports these facilities.
"While the puppies are sold for profit, their parents are kept at these mills for years, subjected to incessant breeding and a very poor quality of life," he added. "Our goal is to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, help them become healthy and eventually find them safe and loving homes.”
According to the ASPCA, Florida is one of a few states with no laws to regulate commercial breeding of dogs.