Refugees from a Florida Puppymill
The dogs on this page were rescued from a puppymill in Ft White Florida. The man who owns this puppymill started breeding American Hairless Rat Terriers with good intentions, but he allowed his dogs to breed unchecked, and soon had too many dogs (over 100) to properly care for any of them.
These dogs all lived in a small building, with unfinished wooden walls, only one window, and one fan that only ran for short periods. The concrete floors were washed with a strong bleach solution that was not rinsed off, so many of the dogs had chemical burns on their feet and bodies. There was no running water on the property, and so the dogs got limited water to drink. With no electricity he could not cool the building, and on one particular day the temperature inside the kennel was over 100 degrees! At night they were locked into small "stalls", and were forced to sleep and stand in their own waste until morning.
None of the dogs were fully vaccinated, none were on heartworm prevention, and many had severe infestations of intestinal parasites and of fleas. Some of the dogs had sarcoptic mange.... others had demodectic mange. There were many with eye infections, ear infections and urinary tract infections.
Every dog we rescued from this puppymill went straight to our veterinarian for a complete work-up. All were treated for parasites, brought up to date on vaccinations, tested for heartworm and placed on prevention, and every one - puppies and adults - was spayed or neutered prior to placement. Ratbone Rescues took more than 35 puppies and dogs from this puppymill, and our cost to get them healthy, up to date, and adoptable was over $5,000.
Angelique and Thunder
When we rescued Angelique and her brother Thunder they were (according to the 'miller) 9 weeks old. Angelique weighed only a pound and a half..... her brother was twice that. Angelique did not even have a name, because the puppymiller did not think she would live; they just called Nutrigal - after the paste suppliment that was her only nutrition. She had to be fed every two hours, or suffer from hypoglycemic episodes. Her poor little body was dehydrated (see picture at left), with the skin hanging off her stomach and neck.
Thunder was not much better off; he had sores and scabs on his rump and tail from mange.He had no energy to play, and was also dehydrated. Thunder became severely ill, and had to be rushed to the emergency vet only 3 days after being rescued. Thunder died later that night after suffering many painful seizures. Our vets believe he had either parvo or distemper - both of which he would have contracted before we rescued him, since both viruses have a 5 to 10 day incubation period.
Little Angelique became sick the following day, and rather than watch her suffer the painful death that Thunder did, we elected to have her humanely put to sleep.
Duckie was one of the many females born into this puppymill. Because she was not hairless she was not easily sold, so she lived in the kennel with the other dogs, waiting her turn to be bred. A coated carrier can give birth to hairless puppies.
Duckie was attacked one night by the other dogs in the kennel. She suffered severe bite wounds to her rump and tail, as well as being "skinned" from the middle of her back almost to her rump. Fights like this are common in kennels that keep large numbers of dogs together in small areas. The dogs at this puppymill are closed into small "rooms" every night; each room measures about 8 by 8 feet, and there is no bedding for the dogs to lay on.
When Duckie was rescued she had to be chased down and pinned to the ground by the 'miller. She remains afraid of hands, especially if they belong to a man with a beard. She had intestinal parasites and a urinary tract infection.
Widget, Sprocket and Pixel
When we rescued these three puppies they were living in the kennel with the adult dogs. They were almost completely bald with what the puppymiller said was sarcoptic mange. They had not been given any vaccinations, and were 10 weeks old. Our vet found hookworms and coccidia.
We watched as the puppymiller poured water (only a gallon) into a shallow pan and set it on the ground for over 30 dogs to drink from. In less than 2 minutes there was a mere dribble in the bottom on the pan, and little Sprocket had laid down in it to try and get cool. The pan was not refilled, even though not all of the dogs had drunk their fill, and some dogs had not had any. We were told that the dogs' water was "rationed".
UPDATE: Sprocket (now Madison) has been diagnosed with Legg-Perthes disease - a genetice disorder which causes the top of the rear leg bone (where it fits into the hip socket) to die and break off!!!! Tute Cute, another puppy rescued from this so-called "kennel" has also been diagnosed with LCP.... making a total of THREE puppies who have had this painful condition so far. The only treatment for this condition is to remove the top of the leg bone.
Rawley had hair loss from mange, as well as intestinal parasites. He was what is called a "monorchid", meaning he was born with only one testicle that could come down into position when he began to mature. This condition is hereditary, so he could not be used for breeding or showing.
Rawley is still - after more than a month - afraid of all men, especially those with facial hair.
rescued on April 20, 2002
Tessie was rescued with her three 6 week old puppies (Katie, Rooney and Tiny Tim). She had already been put out in the kennel - away from her babies - because she kept trying to run away from the trailer whenever she was let out to potty (there is no fence around the trailer). All nursing mothers and their pups are kept in the house-trailer with the 'miller and his wife until the puppies are weaned, then they all go out to live in the kennel. Tessie was alive with fleas, and suffered from severe flea allergies, so she also had hair loss and very red, irritated skin. She was so itchy that she chewed her tail bloody on the way to her foster home. Tessie was thin, almost to the point of starvation, probably because all her resourses went to producing milk to keep her babies healthy. She (like many of the other dogs there) was also dehydrated from not being given sufficient amounts of water every day.
After just a few days of good food and plenty of water, Tessie looked like a new dog! She doesn't try to run away from her foster home!!
This skinny, half-bald boy is Andrew. He was born on Halloween (October 31) 2001. His name used to be Arnold, but he wanted a new name and a new start in life!
Andrew came to us with his hair just growing back from a bout with demodex mange (a skin disorder that is genetic). His feet were still raw and red, and his hair was a mere stubble all over his body. He had hookworms and coccidia (intestinal parasites), and he was infested with fleas. In spite of all his troubles, Andrew has been a sweet, lovable boy from the moment we met him.
Oliver, Dickens, Little Nell and Meg
These 7 week old puppies weighed only a pound and a half and two pounds each. They had sarcoptic mange (scabies), which caused them to itch uncontrollably. They were also infested with fleas when we rescued them. Little Nell's belly was bloated with the gasses released by Coccidia (an intestinal parasite), and all the pups had some degree of hair loss, due to the scabies, the fleas, and a poor quality diet. You can see from Oliver's picture that he was very dehydrated. These puppies did not have free access to fresh water. The nails on these puppies were so long that their toes curled out to the sides, and they had difficulty walking.
Tawny, Annie and Abigail
Tawny was rescued with her two surviving puppies, Annie and Abigail. Tawny weighed just under 5 pounds, and her pups each weighed 2 pounds. The puppies were 8 weeks old, according to the 'miller. Both puppies were 75% bald, due to fleas, bad nutrition, and sarcoptic mange. They also had ear mites. Tawny had a large growth on one of her mammary glands.
Tawney is a full sister to Tanner, and daughter to Tessie.
UPDATE: Like Sprocket/Madison and Tute Cute, Annie also has Legge-Perths.
There were other dogs and puppies rescued from this puppymill:
Sissy, who had 3 coated puppies in the safety and comfort of a foster home only 10 days after being rescued
Cookie, Santa, Jingle, and Rudolph, who all suffered from skin problems and coccidiosis
Katie, Rooney and Tiny Tim - Tessie's puppies, who were severely infested with fleas, and almost died from the heavy load of parasites they carried
Bootsie, Dorie, Dolly, Rassia, Tara and Shawnee, who all had flea related hair loss and intestinal parasites.
Tanner, who was monorchid (one testicle), and had hot spots, a bite wound on his rear leg, and an infected dew claw on his front leg
Feygan, who weighed only 5 pounds, was Rawley's full sister, and had infected dewclaws and hair loss. She was to have been sent to the far east, to spend her life pumping out puppies for profit
A total of 36 dogs and puppies - not even ONE in reasonably good health - were taken to safe, loving foster homes. All of these dogs and puppies came into rescue afraid of hands, brooms, and especially afraid of men with beards.
It is our hope that one day all "kennels" like this will be closed, and the people who run them - profitting from the misery of these poor dogs - will be prosecuted as the animal abusers they are!
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