A social media campaign, in what organizers referred to a Midland County, Michigan dog kennel as a “puppy mill,” yielded the results animal lovers wanted to happen; 13 dogs who lived outdoors in cages were surrendered to authorities on Friday, reports MLive.com.
According to Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson’s press release:
“After a lengthy conversation, the family chose to voluntarily surrender all of the dogs that were being kept in the outside kennels to an animal rescue organization.”
Complaints about the Putnam Drive property began in December with local residents reporting dogs living in below freezing temperatures in outdoor hutches. In response to the complaints, Animal Control made an unannounced visit to the property and reported there were no violations, although the conditions were considered less than desirable for the dogs.
Animal advocates strongly disagreed with the local authorities; including posting disturbing observations of the “horrible” living conditions for the dogs on social media:
“Even the floor is wire … catching little feet and ensnaring long nails. Beneath the wire lay piles of excrement on the ground. They are using old #10 tin cans for water dishes. And there are short haired breeds out there in sub zero weather with no heat whatsoever.”
An online petition garnered more than 4,000 signatures for action and subsequent rescue of the dogs from the alleged egregious conditions.
Sheriff Stephenson suggested a more measured approach to those not in agreement with the obviously current lax animal cruelty laws:
“If you truly care for the welfare of all animals then I urge you to contact your local legislator and encourage them to sponsor stricter legislation regarding the operation of kennels and the treatment of all animals.”
The kennel owners have not been charged with any wrongdoing. They had no statements regarding the surrender of the dogs. The dogs have been turned over to four rescue organizations.
A New Start On Life, one of the rescues involved, posted an appreciative statement on Friday afternoon:
“We want to thank the Midland County Sheriff, Scott Stephenson, for contacting us this morning. With the help of Michigan Westie Rescue, Cavalier Spaniel Rescue USA and Animal Placement Bureau, these dogs are all safe with soft ‘blankies’ for the night. They will no longer be sleeping in outdoor rabbit hutches or makeshift kennels.”
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