OHS Rescues Over 100 Endangered Dogs from Breeder
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Nov. 13, 2013: OHS today rescued more than 100 dogs from a Rainier puppy mill under investigation for animal neglect.
“We undertook today’s rescue operation to stop the suffering of these animals,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. “The dogs at this breeding facility were living in shocking conditions.”
Video of Rescue
The 11-hour rescue operation removed 118 dogs, 21 horses and one cat from the rural property. Many of the dogs were living in their own feces and urine with little shelter from the elements (See video below).
The dogs were taken to an emergency animal shelter created by OHS to provide care for the rescued animals. Because the number of rescued dogs could have overwhelmed the capacity of the OHS shelter in NE Portland, staff and volunteers worked feverishly for three days to convert a 40,000 square-foot warehouse into an emergency shelter complete with kennels and a medical treatment room (see video below). The use of the warehouse was provided free-of-charge to OHS thanks to the generosity of the Dietrich family.
The dogs rescued included 35 Akitas, as well as many small breeds such as dachshunds, terriers and poodles. Ages range from puppies to adults. The horses sized included at least four judged to be severely emaciated and in critical condition. The horses are being cared for by Sound Equine Options, a Gresham nonprofit. Columbia Humane Society is caring for 20 of the 118 rescued dogs at their facility in St. Helens.
Breeding Facility Under Investigation
A recent inspection of the Rainier property on Karr Road documented unsanitary conditions, including large amounts of fecal matter and urine throughout the kennels. In one outbuilding used to house dogs, an inspector from Columbia County Dog Control found no open windows or ventilation, numerous piles of fecal waste and flooring saturated with urine stains.
Columbia County authorities reached out to OHS to help the animals, as OHS is the only organization in the Northwest with enough resources to care for such a large number of dogs. OHS obtained a search warrant to enter the property and seize the animals as evidence of criminal neglect. The warrant was served by OHS Humane Officers accompanied by deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office
Dogs Held as Evidence; Not Available to Adopt
The dogs seized are not currently available for adoption, as they must be held as evidence in the legal case against the owner.
The owner could face multiple counts of animal neglect, each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $6,250 fine. The operator of the facility could also be in violation of the Oregon Puppy Mill Act, which prohibits breeders from having more than 50 breeding dogs at one facility and which also mandates minimal care standards.
Raw footage of rescue and construction of the emergency shelter
Media Coverage of Rescue
- Video interview with Sharon Harmon of OHS and print story from The Oregonian.
- KOIN television story
- KGW television story.
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