SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

June 02, 2009 18:37 ET

PetSmart Charities, Inc. Sends Emergency Relief Waggin'® Vehicle to Alleged Indiana Puppy Mill

Officials Report More Than 200 Small-Breed Dogs in Need of Rescue

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - June 2, 2009) - The PetSmart Charities® Emergency Relief Waggin'® vehicle has been called to duty for the fourth time in just more than a month, this time to an alleged puppy mill in Mauckport, Ind., where 200 small-breed dogs were found in poor conditions.

The alleged puppy mill was wrought with obvious animal neglect, witnesses said. The dogs ranged in breed from Yorkshire Terriers to Chihuahuas and were reportedly housed in dilapidated sheds spread throughout the rural property -- some without access to fresh water or food.

"In addition to providing the food and supplies that the animals so desperately need and key equipment for the rescue teams, we also dispatch a specially trained team of volunteers to meet the Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle on scene, unload the 16 tons of supplies and set up the temporary animal shelter," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities, Inc. "This type of well-executed, cooperative effort means that the helpless animal victims will get the assistance they require as quickly and efficiently as possible. That is the most critical element of any rescue, and we're proud to be a part of it."

The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle is stocked with $60,000 worth of crucial supplies, including 26 pallets of dog food, wire crates, plastic carriers, bowls and leashes. The vehicle is also stocked with items such as fans, a generator, a tent, a battery charger and lights to aid the animal rescuers on scene. The 53' trailer left the PetSmart, Inc. Distribution Center in Newnan, Ga. on Friday, May 29 heading for Mauckport, where animal-rescue teams have set up an animal-rescue center.

"The volunteer staff is able to offload the vehicle and set up supplies, giving shelter staff the ability to focus on caring for the animals right away," said PetSmart Charities Manager of Emergency Grants Barbara Fought. "This enables animal rescuers to focus on removing the animals from often-neglectful conditions and immediately tend to their medical needs."

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and the largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America. It established its Emergency Relief Waggin' program in March 2007 to help animals who are displaced and/or suffering as a result of natural or manmade disasters. The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicles can be dispatched within 48 to 72 hours following an approved request for assistance.

Manmade disasters include puppy mills -- sub-standard breeding facilities where dozens or hundreds of dogs and puppies often live in neglectful conditions while producing puppies for sale -- and animal-hoarding situations. In some cases, the individuals involved in puppy-mill or animal-hoarding situations face criminal charges.

"PetSmart Charities believes that like all pets, animals rescued from these types of situations deserve lifelong, loving homes," Della Maddalena said. "Our hope is that over time, the pets rescued from cruelty cases, low-quality breeders and hoarders can be rehabilitated and placed into responsible, caring homes."

Members of the public who would like to support PetSmart Charities®' Emergency Relief Waggin'® program can make a tax-deductible donation in one of two ways:

   1. Make a credit card donation via the PetSmart Charities Web site
      at: www.PetSmartCharities.org;
   2. Mail a check earmarked for "Emergency Relief" directly to:
      PetSmart Charities, Attn: Emergency Relief; 19601 N. 27th Avenue,
      Phoenix, Ariz., 85027.

Funds raised will be used to aid pets affected by this and future Emergency Relief Waggin' program efforts when pets are affected by natural and manmade disasters.

Learn more about the Emergency Relief Waggin' program at http://www.petsmartcharities.org/programs/emergency-relief.php

ABOUT PETSMART CHARITIES, INC.

PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal-welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. Since 1994, PetSmart Charities has funded more than $88 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and, through its in-store pet adoption program, has helped save the lives of more than 3.5 million pets. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working to help find a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit www.petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS.

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