SPCA returns with animals rescued from mill

It was like 101 Dalmatians, only much scarier.

Just like the movie, there was a cruel character who wanted the animals for her own financial gain and kind people who came to their rescue.

Only these were neglected dogs and cats of all breeds, rescued from a puppy mill in Tennessee.

Several days ago, 13 members of the Disaster Animal Rescue Team, which works with SPCA Tampa Bay, set out in a truck for the long drive to Tennessee to save more than 700 dogs, cats, horses and at least one donkey.

There, they joined animal rescue workers from throughout the United States for one of the largest animal rescue raids ever.

What they found when they arrived made them sick.

In a town called Lyles, high in the mountains, they found a puppy mill called Pine Bluff Kennels. Team members called it a living hell for animals.

"It was a breeding factory,'' said Laura Bevan, Southeast regional director of the Humane Society of the United States, which works closely with SPCA Tampa Bay.

The Humane Society removed 747 animals from the property. Ultimately, the owner, Patricia Adkisson, who was cited two years ago for cruel puppy mill activities, surrendered the animals.

Most lived in wire cages and had feces ground into their fur. There were dead animals all over the property.

One furry dog had a broken jaw. A chihuahua had a broken leg.

It is believed none had ever been bathed or received medical care.

During the rescue, a couple of dogs gave birth. Beautiful Bengal and Siamese cats cried because they were scared.

There were pomeranians, chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire terriers, cocker spaniels, poodles and a Boston terrier with pups so tiny their eyes were still closed and their umbilical cords were still attached.

Marissa Segundo, spokeswoman for SPCA Tampa Bay, said the puppies were 2 days old, at the most.

Some will be ready for adoption as soon as next week.

"With a little bit of love and attention, they could be sleeping in someone's bed in (no time)," said Bevan, holding a pup with scabies, which can be cured.

Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

Interested in adopting?

Visit the SPCA Tampa Bay's Web site, www.spcafl.org.

SPCA returns with animals rescued from mill 06/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 1:38pm]

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