Officers raid puppy mill, 'astounded' by filth

Officers raid puppy mill, 'astounded' by filth »Play Video
One of the rescued dogs peers from his new cage at the Everett animal shelter.
Warning: Story contains graphic material.

GOLD BAR, Wash. - Officers rescued 155 dogs and several other animals found living under ghastly conditions in a puppy mill operation so horrific that it shocked even veteran animal control officers, officials said. A citizen's tip led officials to the residence, in the 43000 block of May Creek Rd in Gold Bar.


 Photo shows exterior of the residence where the puppy mill operation was found.
After obtaining a search warrant, deputies and officers raided the property, where they found many of the dogs stuffed inside small crates and pens overflowing with urine and feces, investigators said. Several dead puppies also were found in a freezer, and two dead dogs were found elsewhere on the premises. Eighty-seven of the dogs were living in a converted attic.

Adult dogs and puppies were found living in crates and small pens filled with large accumulations of feces and heavily soiled shavings, said Vicki Lubrin of Snohomish County Animal Control Services.

Officers said the odor from the feces and urine was so overpowering it could be detected well outside the residence. A large commercial dumpster stood in the yard overflowing with dog waste.

Medications and used syringes, used to treat sick animals, were found scattered in front of pens and in a refrigerator.

Most of the dogs were heavily matted, covered with their own feces and saturated with urine. Investigators said many dogs had open sores on various parts of their bodies and all were covered with fleas. Several dogs had tumors and other abnormal body conditions.

Officers found a variety of small breed dogs: Yorkshire terriers, rat terriers, West Highland terriers, Chinese crested, pugs, dachshunds, Pekingese and mixed breeds sold as "designer dogs."

Also found were six large dogs - a Labrador and Doberman tightly squeezed together in one crate, a Rottweiler, a mastiff and two boxers.

Altogether, officials found 155 dogs, four cats and three parrots - all living in inhumane conditions.

"Even the most experienced officers on site were astounded by the size of this puppy mill operation and the filthy conditions in which the dogs were kept," Lubrin said in a statement.

She said a detailed breeding plan was found posted on a wall inside the residence.

Lubrin said puppy mill puppies are often sold to unsuspecting buyers with hereditary defects, chronic illnesses and disease. The females are bred over and over again, producing litter after litter of puppies until they either die or can no longer breed and are disposed of.

The facility was operating in violation of Snohomish County commercial kennel regulations, Lubrin said.

All of the animals were removed for care and feeding and a veterinary medical assessment. The dogs, cats and birds are being cared for at the Everett Animal Shelter.

The final disposition of the animals is not known at this time, Lubrin said. The investigation continues and will be referred to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office for review. No arrests have been made at this time.

The rescue operation was a joint effort by Snohomish County Animal Control Services and Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies on Friday night.

Lubrin said the cost of seizing and treating the animals rescued from these conditions severely impacts the budgets of all responding agencies.

She said anyone wishing to donate dog food or money for medical expenses to the Everett Animal Shelter’s nonprofit agency, ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation), may do so by calling 425-257-6000 or coming to the shelter in person at 2732 36th St., Everett.