Commonwealth Journal

April 19, 2014

Last of dogs rescued from Nancy kennel is adopted

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — The last of 27 dogs housed at a Louisville animal rescue center after they were taken from a western Pulaski County puppy mill in a January raid has found a permanent home.

“Loverboy,” a male Boxer and one of more than 40 dogs taken from the Dream Catchers Kennel, located on Ky. 196 in Nancy, left the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville with his new family.

“Loverboy was the last of our puppy mill dogs waiting for a forever home, and today his adopter met him and fell in love,” stated a post from the KHS on Facebook. “It was something about the way Loverboy gently got up and put his paws on him and gave him a hug that made Mr. Pointer know that Loverboy should be his forever companion.”

The non-profit rescue organization has kept its followers updated on the progress of the puppy mill adoptions since the animals were taken from the dog kennel on Jan. 21. The more than 40 dogs taken from the site were taken to the KHS initially, where they were temporarily housed for several days while the underwent behavioral tests.

KHS kept 27 of those dogs.

“When you get animals in from puppy mills or hoarding situations, you get a spectrum of behaviors,” said Andrea Blair, KHS communications director. “Some bounce back immediately ... some were ready to be adopted out the next day (after undergoing tests and spaying/neutering).”

Six dogs were taken to a behavioral rehabilitation center in New Jersey, run by the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which participated in the January rescue. Those dogs exhibited more extreme anti-social behaviors, such as shaking and avoiding eye contact with people.

“They’re fearful of new situations, fearful of new people,” said Blair. “... It’s really just a lack of socialization.”

Kelly Krause, media coordinator with the ASPCA, said the six dogs at the rehabilitation center are making progress.

“These six dogs continue to receive daily treatment and socialization at our rehab center,” said Krause in an email to the Commonwealth Journal. “One of the dogs is slated to graduate from the rehab center and be placed into a foster-to-adopt program in New Jersey this month.

“The others will remain in the rehab program until they are ready for life in a home,” Krause added.

The remaining seven dogs were sent to the Capital Area Humane Society in Columbus, Ohio — including a female bloodhound that was captured in a photograph of the rescue operation. The bloodhound, now named Dixie by her new owner, placed a paw on a rescuer during the operation.

Dixie’s adopter, a Louisville resident, saw the picture during a television news report.

“He said he just couldn’t stop thinking about her,” said Blair.

Dixie went to her permanent home on Monday. Rachel Finney, with CAHS, said all seven of the dogs transported there have now gone to permanent homes.

All of the dogs, along with two cats, were taken after an investigation into kennel owner Dennis Bradley that eventually led to him pleading guilty to one count of second-degree animal cruelty. As part of the deal, Bradley agreed to surrender the dogs at his facility and will face six months in jail, probated for a term of 24 months.

The initial investigation began in January 2013 after detectives with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, responding to Bradley’s property after a report of animals being kept in inhumane conditions there, discovered more than 60 dogs in various stages of neglect.

“Upon arrival detectives discovered several dogs in pens/cages outside which were obviously sick. Several dogs suffered from having skin ailments and two appeared to be near death,” states the Jan. 2013 citation, filed by Det. Glen Bland. “Many of the dogs were living in poor conditions without proper shelter. Most pens were (too) small and were covered in mud and feces.”

Animal control would eventually remove 21 dogs from the property — some of which were euthanized after they tested positive for parvo. Parvo is a highly-contagious virus that causes death in dogs if left untreated.

Bradley’s kennel came under scrutiny after an undercover video taken in the kennel was posted in an online news article published by WAVE3 News out of Louisville. The kennel was labeled a  “puppy mill” — a term used for large-scale operations during which dogs are bred and sold in large numbers, and where profits trump any welfare concerns for the animals.

Blair said the only way to prevent inhumane breeding situations is to stop supporting them through purchase of their puppies.

“We always encourage people to make adoption their first option,” said Blair. “People want purebred dogs but they don’t realize they’re coming from unethical breeding operations.

“The best way to prevent that is not to support that industry,” Blair added. “Many people think you can’t get a purebred dog in a shelter, but between 20 and 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebred.”