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Dog Saved from Puppy Mill Adopted through Berkeley Heights Rescue

China, a 15-year old Chihuahua, was set for euthanasia before Home for Good Dogs Rescue paired her with adopter.

China, a 15-year old Chihuahua, was shaking when she was taken out of her cage for the first time after years of forced reproduction in a Georgia puppy mill. It was partially because she was scared, partially because her legs couldn't support the weight of her body.

She has a tumor the size of a deck of cards on her back leg. She doesn't have teeth after years of malnutrition. Her eyes are gray and cloudy. She's basically skin and bones.

"Do you think she's feeling any love?" asked Susan Strell, a volunteer with The Home for Good Dog Rescue in Berkeley Heights, who wrapped China in a blanket and held her like a baby. She stopped shaking afer a while in her arms.      

"At least she might feel some love for once in her life." Strell began to cry, it was too sad to look at China's face, she said.

China was brought from a closed puppy mill by Atlanta, Georgia to spend her final days in the loving home of Joann Mullen, a Hopewell resident who has set up a dog hospice in her house. She cares for several hospice dogs and when she heard China's story, she wanted to make her feel comfortable and loved after years of abuse.

The Home for Good Dog Rescue organized the transport from Georgia - Strell said she was up all night hoping China would survive the trip. The rescue matches dogs with foster homes so the dog is in a family environment and not in a kennel, and then sets up adoptions.

It was a life or death situaiton, Mullen said, as the puppy mill was going to put China down once it closed. But Mullen said she deserves to spend her last days comfortable, and away from the life that plagued her while in captivity.

Every few months for her 15 years, China would give birth to a new litter of puppies, which were sold by the Georgia breeder. She was hardly fed, never cleaned and forced to reproduce regularly.

Her conditions are common in puppy mills where dogs are bred for sale, said Gail Ryan, a volunteer with the rescue. "There is no end to the abuse," she said, pointing to pictures of cramped, stacked cages with dead dogs among the live ones.

Puppy mills, which are monitored by the United States Department of Agriculture, have 70 inspectors to check 4,500 facilities in the country. The regulation is that a cage needs to be six inches longer and six inches heigher than the dog so he or she can move. In some mills, cages are stacked so urine drips down from the top cages to the bottom, Ryan said.

There are no regulations for treatment for dogs sold over the internet, which isn't good enough, Ryan said.

That's why the rescue has a network of 40 foster homes throughout the area who take dogs out of their cages and let them into their homes until they can be adopted. The Home for Good rescue receives two to three transport shipments of dogs a month, with 30 dogs coming in for adoption. Most are coming from mills and are in need of a good home.

Scooter, a black lab at the rescue, was scheduled to be put down today, before he was taken by the rescue. He's been cleaned and checked and is waiting for adoption.

The rescue sets up medical care and checks for the dogs and make sure they are clean before adoption.

"They are dirty, scared and shaking," Strell said. "And we clean them up and love them. Here, they are loved.

For more information about adoptions and donations, visit www.homeforgooddogs.org.

Jacinta Lestone January 21, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I have heard that puppy mills sometimes use synthetic hormones to bring extra heat cycles on. There is a forum about it here. I've never heard of it being used to induce so many cycles though, previously I'd heard of it only for bringing it on up to a month early. Wouldn't put it past the American puppy mills though; they're already doing everything else in their power that is inhumane. http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/bulletins.read?mnr=28131&pagen=1
selina January 21, 2012 at 02:52 AM
I don't understand how people can hurt these poor innocent animals. It makes me sick. Since I was just a child I wanted to help animals and run a shelter. I do not like to buy animals but I adopt the ones that need a home. I had a dog named mandy that I adopted after she had been beaten and near killed after her previous owners kicked and punched her. She just passed away this summer after being with me for 11 years. I am so happy that there are good people out there too help these animals. Please everyone adopt your animals instead of buying them you could save an innocent life
Mmg January 21, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Puppy mills should be shut down!!!! Would you subject your kids to life in a cage- 6inches higher and longer so they can "move?" Well, animals are sentient creatures too. They don't deserve this abuse. Get a real job!
Robert Barnes January 21, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Thank you PATCH for running this story! Home for Good Dog Rescue is currently looking for fosters and volunteers.. If you or someone you know may be interested or would like more information, please contact us at 908-598-8212 or visit our website http://homeforgooddogs.org. Home for Good is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue. Our mission is to rescue, nurture and place adoptable dogs into loving homes for good. Home for Good rescues dogs from high-kill shelters (dogs at high risk of being euthanized due to shelter overcrowding) and matches them with loving families in NJ and the surrounding area. Since our founding in August 2010, Home for Good has successfully placed over 780 dogs into permanent “forever” homes. We heavily rely on our foster program which provides temporary housing and a loving family environment until the dogs are adopted into permanent homes. We provide veterinary care and all food and supplies while the pet is in foster care. We always have a waiting list of dogs in need. We are constantly looking for new fosters, so that we can save even more dogs. Our foster families provide a vital link in our mission to save dogs from euthanasia and place them in loving homes. Robert H. Barnes Community Outreach Coordinator Home for Good Dog Rescue 395 Springfield Avenue Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
Robert Barnes January 21, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Home for Good is run by dedicated professionals who volunteer their time and resources to help homeless dogs. Our volunteers are instrumental in preparing the dogs for adoption, providing temporary housing the dogs (through our foster program), and assisting with the adoption events, fundraising and community outreach activities. We also have a junior volunteer (over 16 years of age) program. Dogs available for adoption are posted on Petfinder.com and through a link on our website Homeforgooddogs.org. Adoption events are held at various pet supply stores in the Essex, Morris and Union County area on weekends.
Mary Plumstead January 21, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Check this out - great video - at least it stops the public sale of puppy mill dogs. http://youtu.be/8ndbYj4gWUU
Theresa January 21, 2012 at 06:11 AM
80 inspectors and 4500 puppy mills - uh, I'm not a brain surgeon but I believe ALL puppy mills should be illegal and therefore, shut down - the number of inspectors would then make sense........
Aprel Williamson January 21, 2012 at 06:33 AM
Wow what a blessing you guys are to these poor helpless animals! My heart breaks for them, I couldn't even imagine if they were actually infront of me!! I hope they all get amazing homes and have a great, loved, happy last few years! Thank you
Sharon Landrum January 21, 2012 at 06:58 AM
People that run and own these puppy mills only care about one thing and that is the "almighty dollar"/$$. Thank GOD people are on this earth that love these animals and rescue them, and at least these babies know love for the last few days of their lives. I would love to put the puppy mill owners in a cage and do the same thing to them they have done to these babies.
Sharon Landrum January 21, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Yes they do have these "back yard breeders" all over Texas (and other states) and I have seen them in Canton, and other "first Monday trade days"; they should be arrested and thrown in jail for animal cruelty; I have had many "heated discussions" with some of these people, and have embarrassed them lots of times. Karma will come back to them.
Fred January 21, 2012 at 07:28 AM
The people who harm these poor defensive dogs and other animals will someday have to face a just God. What will be their defense? A rightous God will not allow this to go unpunished, in this or the next life. God bless the people who rescue and care for the animals who have no voice in this world.
Andi Pandi January 21, 2012 at 08:37 AM
I say the ppl who run these mills be put in cages, stacked up so they to have other ppls mess dripping on them and starved like they did their poor dogs, I how these ppl ROT IN HELL abd please please please SHUT THESE PLACES DOWN...... Evil pure pure evil.......
Andi Pandi January 21, 2012 at 08:38 AM
I say the ppl who run these mills be put in cages, stacked up so they to have other ppls mess dripping on them and starved like they did their poor dogs, I hope these ppl ROT IN HELL abd please please please SHUT THESE PLACES DOWN...... Evil pure pure evil......
Gail January 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM
To continue with the story, puppy mill puppies are transported from filthy, crowded conditions to pet stores for sale. Most have parasites; many are ill or incubating an illness. When pet stores declare that their puppies come from licensed breeders, this means they came from a puppy mill because a license is required only when many dogs (hundreds) are being bred at a time. No reputable breeder sells to a pet store. A puppy that is mass produced is not a quality puppy. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) protects "agricultural interests." Dogs are products, and the Federal Government is allowing this to continue. The states have juris
Robert Barnes January 21, 2012 at 01:35 PM
It is time againto bring this issue to the attention of your State and Federal Representatives. Keep it in the press and start a letter writting campaign. Get the school kids involved by sending letters to the President. Maybe we can get the Occupy Wall Street croud toprotest outside the Puppy Mills?
Cecily Barker January 21, 2012 at 03:13 PM
They do this because it is legal until people for their legislators to pass laws to make it illegal. There is lots of money in this and money always talks. They are not persuaded by religious arguments because the Bible tells them they have dominion over animals. You can not take a camera to a dog auction. There are signs everywhere. they know on some level people would be upset. They will, however, give you Bibles. Instead of ranting on facebook take some of that outrage and contact your law makers, write letters to the papers, volunteer at shelters and rescues. this kind of agriculture is legal. Putting more USDA inspectors out there won't change conditions because those cage sizes are legal. Confining animals their entire lives is legal. Missouri has most of the puppy mills in the country. We collected signatures and put an initiative on the ballot to provide some modest changes to provide a better quality of life for these animal. It passed but the legislature overturned it over the will of the people. This is agriculture and it is awash in money including your taxes. I agree with Robert Barnes. Keep pounding on this. If you have a chance go to a dog auction. They are on line. Keep your head down, don't flash a camera, and spread the word about what you see. Be careful. People have been shot at and run down. Wanting to stick people in cages and preaching to the choir is not productive. Put your outrage into action. A hint. Reputable breeders, are not at fault.
Cecily Barker January 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Spread the word that buying dogs in pet shops abets the abuse. If the market dries up they won't continue. Oh, if you go to a dog auction please don't get all emotional and try to buy up dogs to "save" them. Puppy millers don't care who they sell to. If they can make money off you they will. I do have a min pin I bought for a buck because no one bid on her. Probably because she had no breeding history in the catalog. I've bought other dogs cheap for rescue but try not to encourage this business. The one buck min pin sleeps on my bed and is as funny as she can be.
kim January 21, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I got my perfect Jordan from a flea market in Florida. Stacked on top of pups. Didn't plan to come home with another dog that day but so, so glad I did. I thought the flea market deal was bad. I can not imagine any amimal or person going through what y'll have seen. Thank you for doing what you all do. I have to agree with a comment up above...Pup Mills SUCK big tme!!!!
Liz Mitchell Worthington January 21, 2012 at 03:48 PM
In addition to volunteering, you can also blog on Patch. If you are passionate about this topic (or really any topic) and you want to make your voice heard, please email liz@patch.com and I'd be happy to set you up with a Patch blog. Thank you to Home For Good for saving China. It is truly a remarkable story.
Sadee January 21, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Do any of you find that when you post something like this on your facebook your friends ignore it, like it doesn't really happen? They won't even comment on the cruilty that is done to animals, farm animals, dog fighting and so on. I want to give a big cheer for the organization GENTLE BARN! They are amazing in what they are doing for animals....please check it out.
Maureen Koplow January 21, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Dogs who come into heat every 6 months can easily have 2 litters per year. This is common in puppy mills. Small dogs live longer than large breeds, so a 15 year old chihuahua could easily produce puppies. Dogs who receive little or no veterinary care often lose their teeth due to gum disease. All of this is the norm in puppy mills. What is NOT easily done is comprehending why Dottie Everett is ignoring the real issue. Puppy mills, high volume breeders, are in business to make money, and puppies are the products. Breeding dogs are their equipment. Compassion does not enter into the picture. It's all about profit and loss, and nothing else. Dogs are considered property, not living beings, and that is the bottom line. People who think that way will fight tooth and nail to prevent any interference with their "right" to own animals and exploit them in any way they choose. Shame on you, Dottie Everett. You have no soul and are ignoring the mountains of evidence all over the internet, television, newspapers, and every other source of information verifying the atrocious conditions these animals are forced to endure. Two litters a year or 3 litters every 2 years, breeding until they're 15 or only until they're 8 years, and all the other diversions you throw in the road only show that you're intentionally ignoring the reality of puppy mills. Shame on you.
Time4Dogs January 22, 2012 at 02:30 AM
This has got to be the most hilarious article I have read for a long time, and proof positive that gullible people will swallow any dumb lies that are thrown out there. Litters every three months? Not possible. And there are no hormones that will cause such situations. Really, you think people will spend money on hormones but won't buy food? And if malnourished, the bitch will not come into season at all. Only a dog that is well-cared for will live past the age of 15. And tooth loss and clouded vision is not uncommon among oldsters. Oh yeah, and Chihuahuas shake because they have a small body mass and chill easily. Maureen K, if you own a dog, then thank a breeder. Without breeders there would be no dogs.
Jacinta Lestone January 22, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Without breeders there may be no *purebred* dogs, but this doesn't mean that breeding hundreds of dogs over and over to turn a buck is okay. All breeding should be done by small-scale responsible breeders who care about the welfare of the parents, the puppies they sell, and the betterment of the breed. Chihuahuas may shake for this reason you stated, but they can also shake for a large variety of other reasons (low blood sugar, stress, neurological issues), and although many Chihuahuas do shake a lot, this is still a trait that responsible breeders should be working towards fixing. Only a dog that is well-cared for will live past the age of 15? Could you give me some empirical evidence of that? As long as the dog doesn't actually freeze, has enough food to not starve (low quality though it may be), and water (filthy though it may be), and is protected from predators (which puppy mill dogs usually are with their tiny cages), there would be no reason for the occasional poorly treated dog not to live to that age, especially given that smaller breeds tend to have a longer life span.
Jan Fisher January 22, 2012 at 07:07 AM
REPLY TO: Time4Dogs: The fact that you call this article "hilarious" speaks to your character and no one reading this blog should take you seriously. Perhaps there was a misquote about breeding every few months rather than every 6 months. DOES THIS NEGATE THE OTHER POINTS IN THE ARTICLE? Sit down, get your brain in gear and think about your ridiculous comments. Thank a breeder, if you own a dog? Did the article claim that ALL breeders are bad? They are talking about puppy mills (mass commercial breeding facilities) that breed for large profit at the expense of the welfare of the animal. ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LIVE IN A CAVE UNDERSTANDS THIS ARTICLE. (Then again, judging by your comments, you probably do live in a cave with no reading material to learn about the outside world). Thank goodness people like you are in the minority. Get educated about this subject matter. For that matter, just get educated - PERIOD.
Tiffany Terry January 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Stop buying your pets from backyard breeders, adopt or rescue...or atleast adopt from a reputable breeder!!! Write your congressman to get this abuse stopped. Puppy mills will never cease to exists if we don't fight them!
CA Franklin January 28, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Wouldn't she need to take care of them for 2 months...they probably can't be sold, legally, until they are 2 months old.
CA Franklin January 28, 2012 at 07:30 PM
The Bible says that a Righteous Man is kind to his beast. The Bible doesn't advocate cruelty EVER! When people mistreat their animals, you can be sure that they are breaking other laws.
CA Franklin January 28, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I agree, Time4Dogs. Although there are, sadly, some who mistreat animals, most people who raise them want them well taken care of. The comment "Her conditions are common in puppy mills where dogs are bred for sale" implies that anyone who breeds dogs for sale is a puppy mill. No matter how well kept they are. Does everyone who breeds puppies have "cramped, stacked cages with dead dogs among the live ones." I totally doubt it. This article is simply inflammatory against people who breed dogs, acting like everyone who breeds dogs mistreats them, which is wrong.
Jan Fisher January 29, 2012 at 01:57 AM
To CA FRANKLIN: I totally disagree about the article. No where in the article did she say that reputable breeders were at fault. There is a distinct difference. You must STOP taking offense every time someone condemns MASS commercial breeding facilities. There are wonderful, caring breeders who do not breed in large quantities and, well, the others should be put out of business - PERIOD. So the article was informative, true and will help to educate the public. The public is becoming more aware of these puppy mills and, thankfully, buying less from pet stores.
Antigone A. Freimann June 10, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I have to think that there is a special place in Hell for 'people' that run puppy mills (and other forms of animal cruelty). My own sweet 9 year old chihuahua, BeBe, was a mill-mama who endured the same kind of treatment. I have had her for two years and she is still profoundly shy (though she has gratefully warmed up to me in response to patience and a lot of love). As much love as I lavish on her though, it is clear to me that to one degree or another she will likely live with the emotional scars from the first 7 years of her life, forever. I applaud everyone who steps in to stop puppy mills, and all who step up to love those rescued babies just as they are.

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