Fight Cruelty

Garland County, Arkansas—November 2011

The Case

On November 7, 2011, the ASPCA and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) responders helped local law enforcement raid a Hot Springs, Arkansas, puppy mill, rescuing roughly 175 Westies, Boston Terriers, Pomeranians and other small dogs and helping collect evidence to build a case against the owner.

The breeding dogs, some with tiny, unweaned puppies, had been living in sheds outside a mobile home. Responders found them suffering from various eye diseases, dental disease, skin diseases, fleas, mites and heartworm.

The raid stemmed from a two-year investigation led by Corporal Angela Graybeal, a Garland County sheriff’s investigator who received numerous complaints about the living conditions and mistreatment of the puppy mill dogs. The investigation culminated in the arrest of mill owner Pam Thomas on three felony counts of animal cruelty.

Soon after the arrest, our veterinary forensics team and responders from IFAW began combing the property to collect evidence, including several deceased dogs. At the same time, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team began removing dogs from the puppy mill. The team transported the dogs to a temporary shelter using the ASPCA’s custom animal transport trailer.

Once the dogs arrived at the temporary shelter, a veterinary team led by FIR Medical Director Dr. Rhonda Windham began assessing and treating the dogs’ medical conditions. The dogs then received toys, affection and healthy food from a sheltering team of roughly 30 people, using supplies donated by PetSmart Charities, Inc.

Aftermath

On November 23, 2011, mill owner Pam Thomas pleaded not guilty to all charges against her, but also relinquished all dogs—including eight puppies born between the raid and her court appearance—to the ASPCA.

Stay tuned for more information on how the ASPCA will find these puppies new homes.