200 Dogs Discovered Living In White County Puppy Mill
By Jeff Tang
SPARTA, Tenn. – Rescue crews were working to save 200 dogs found inside a suspected puppy mill just outside of Sparta, Tennessee.
Rescuers said the animals were living in cramped and inhumane conditions, and some were in need of emergency medical care.
Investigators with the White County Sheriff's Office found the puppy mill just outside of Sparta. The Humane Society of the United States was on hand to help with the rescue.
"In the kitchen there's 40-50 animals. There's 20 in the dining room, about 30 in the bathroom," said Leighann McCollum with the HSUS. "There's pretty much a sea of dogs – about 180, 200 dogs – most of them small breed."
Neighbors Sue and Jim Holman said they knew something was wrong next door. Dogs would often wander onto their property and chase their livestock.
"Between the smell and the 24/7 barking, it's enough to make anyone lose their nerves," said Jim Holman.
"I had no idea there was that many. That's a shock," said Sue Holman.
Sheriff Oddie Shoupe said puppy mill owner Gayla Jackson was cooperating with authorities, and has surrendered all of the animals.
"She said she needed the help and didn't know where to turn, and that this was a blessing in disguise," said Shoupe. "She started grooming dogs, then it blossomed into a breeding operation, and it was too much for her to take care of."
The 200 dogs will be shipped to a safe place to receive medical care.
"It makes me happy the animals will be taken care of, and the house will be cleaned up," said Sue Holman.
While some dogs with serious medical needs have already been taken off the property, a Humane Society Emergency Rescue Team was called out to the site to rescue the remaining dogs.
Most of the animals found were miniature poodles. Authorities said Jackson was selling them online.
Officials planned to send the rescued animals to shelters across the country for adoption.