SOURCE: PetSmart Charities

PetSmart Charities

August 11, 2009 20:03 ET

PetSmart Charities® Sends Emergency Relief Waggin'® Vehicle to Alleged Puppy Mill in Texas

Officials Report More Than 500 Dogs in Need of Immediate Help

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - August 11, 2009) - The PetSmart Charities® Emergency Relief Waggin'® vehicle has been dispatched to a second large-scale animal rescue in Texas, this time to an alleged puppy mill in Kaufman County, where more than 500 dogs and 15 cats were reportedly in need of assistance.

Initial reports indicate that the dogs were neglected and housed in filthy conditions and exposed to harsh elements year round. Witnesses on the scene said many of the dogs are severely matted and suffering from chronic infected wounds, internal and external parasites and serious skin and eye infections. Many had never lived outside their wire cages.

The Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle is stocked with $60,000 worth of crucial supplies, including dog food, wire crates, plastic carriers, bowls and leashes. The vehicle is also stocked with items such as fans, a generator, tents, a battery charger and lights to aid the animal rescuers on scene. The 53' trailer and its 16-ton cargo load departed the PetSmart® Distribution Center in Ennis, Texas on Monday, bound for the Kaufman County Fairgrounds, where animal-rescue teams will operate an emergency animal shelter. The Kaufman County Sheriff's Department will also provide 24-hour security at the shelter to ensure the safety of the rescued dogs.

"In addition to the crucial supplies for the animal victims, PetSmart Charities also dispatches a specially trained team of volunteers to meet the Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle on the 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 enables animal rescuers to focus on the animals and immediately tend to their medical needs. This type of well-executed, cooperative effort means that the helpless animal victims will get the assistance they need as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Dogs rescued from the facility are mainly small breeds such as poodles and Chihuahuas.

"Just last month, PetSmart Charities dispatched its Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle to an alleged puppy mill in Montague, Texas, where we assisted 450 dogs and puppies," said PetSmart Charities Manager of Emergency Grants Barbara Fought. "We received this request for assistance from the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department in conjunction with the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake and the Humane Society of the United States."

PetSmart Charities 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 man-made disasters.

Man-made 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.

"Already this year, PetSmart Charities has dispatched its Emergency Relief Waggin' vehicle to the scene of 10 pet emergencies. 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," Della Maddalena added. "Our hope is that over time, the pets rescued from cruelty cases, low-quality breeders and hoarders can be rehabilitated and placed with responsible, caring families.

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 man-made 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 3.7 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.

Contact Information