SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

February 12, 2009 15:49 ET

PetSmart Charities® Sends Emergency Relief to Scene of Alleged "Puppy Mill"

Tennessee Officials Report 285 Dogs and Puppies in Need of Assistance at Breeding Facility

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - February 12, 2009) - For the second time in a week, PetSmart Charities has dispatched its Emergency Relief Waggin'® vehicle to assist at the scene of a suspected "puppy mill" rescue -- this time in Sparta, Tenn.

The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle left the PetSmart® Distribution Center in Newnan, Ga., at the request of The White County Sheriff's Department, which carried out the rescue in cooperation with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle will be set up at the White County Fairgrounds in Sparta, where rescuers are caring for 285 dogs and puppies. Rescuers at the scene said they found a myriad of small-breed dogs including poodles, Jack Russell terriers, Pomeranians, Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas, Boston terriers and Pekingese, all less than 20 pounds. The dogs are reportedly suffering from various medical conditions including mange, worms, poor teeth and skin conditions. All the dogs are dirty, and the longhaired breeds are badly matted.

The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle is stocked with 16 tons of supplies, valued at $60,000, including dog food, wire crates, bedding, bowls and leashes. The vehicle also provides items such as fans, a generator, tents, a battery charger and lights to aid the animal rescuers on scene.

"This situation is similar to one we were involved with on February 6, when an estimated 300 dogs and puppies were rescued from a high-volume, low-quality breeding operation in North Carolina. Once again, law-enforcement officials have deemed the situation so serious, that the animals must be rescued to prevent further suffering," said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities. "We established our Emergency Relief Waggin' program to help out after large-scale manmade and natural disasters. This is yet another situation in which our help is crucial so that hundreds of neglected pets can get the care and attention they need right away."

Just last week, PetSmart Charities' Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle was on scene in Goldsboro, N.C., after rescuers raided a suspected "puppy mill" there and removed approximately 300 reportedly neglected small-breed dogs from poor conditions.

"We hope that the publicity garnered by this case, and the case in North Carolina, will help to raise awareness about the plight of dogs and puppies in high-volume, low-quality facilities," Della Maddalena added. "Unfortunately, many puppies in pet stores or advertised 'for sale' by other means come from facilities such as these. We hope prospective Pet Parents will keep that in mind and consider adopting instead when they're ready to give a puppy a lifelong, loving home."

PetSmart Charities established its Emergency Relief Waggin' program in 2007 to assist the animal victims of natural and manmade disasters nationwide. 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:;

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 rescue efforts when pets are affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Learn more about the Emergency Relief Waggin' program at


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 $70 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 3.6 million pets. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working to help find a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit or call 1-800-423-PETS.

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