Dogs Seized From Puppy Mill Being Moved To Foster Homes
by Jeff Tang
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After years of horrible neglect and a dramatic rescue effort, almost all of the 121 dogs seized from a suspected Warren County Puppy Mill have their freedom.
Animal rescuers won custody of the dogs in a hearing Tuesday, and dogs began moving out of their temporary shelter and into foster homes.
The shelter is where these dogs felt their first compassion, got their first hugs, where they sat in their first clean crate.
"Volunteers have been socializing the dogs, feeding them giving them love and attention for the first time, bringing them back to life," said Animal Rescue Corps Founder Scotlund Haisley.
But to get their first taste of real freedom, the dogs must leave.
"This is what we do, this is our mission, and we love this exact moment," said Haisley.
In one week the animals will have have gone from a suspected puppy mill in Warren County, to a shelter, to a foster home, like Gayle Kerr's.
Gayle is fostering a half blind and timid shih-tzu named George.
"George has spent six to eight years in a crate. He's missed out on a lifetime of experiences and nurturing. We'll do everything we can to make up for that," said Kerr, who is part of Agape Animal Rescue.
Kerr said physical and emotional healing must take place before dogs like George can go up for adoption.
"He needs to find his spirit. He doesn't know who he is- he just got a name four days ago. We'll help him find all of that," she said.
"These dogs have never had the opportunity to be dogs before- they've been inmates," said Haisley.
For an animal that's lived his whole life in a tiny, putrid cage, a first run through the yard is a first ice cream cone, a first kiss, a first roller coaster ride, all wrapped up in one.
"It's incredible to see the transformations into the beautiful animals they're meant to be," said ARC Tennessee Liason Peg Petrelli.
The previous owner of the dogs has another hearing scheduled later this month, where a judge will decide whether she can keep the four remaining dogs from the suspected puppy mill.
Animal Rescue Corps, the agency that saved the dogs, estimates the rescue effort cost $94,000.
All of the dogs from the Warren County seizure will go up for adoption in Tennessee. If you'd like to adopt the dogs, here are some links to some of the agencies involved in the rescue: