It’s been a long journey for the more than 40 dogs and two cats seized last month from a Nancy puppy mill, but soon the animals will be heading to permanent homes.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) announced Thursday that the dogs taken on Jan. 21 from the Dream Catchers Kennel, located on Ky. 196 in Nancy, will be transferred to the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) in Louisville, Ky. and Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) in Columbus, Ohio, to be adopted out.
“Today is a turning point for these dogs as they move towards life in a home with owners who treat them as companions,” said Jessica Rushin, partnerships manager for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR).
The news comes after the animals spent nearly three weeks in a temporary shelter in Louisville undergoing medical evaluations and behavior tests. The ASPCA and KHS have been working together on the situation since they descended on the kennel in late January to remove the animals, which had been kept there in deplorable conditions.
The criminal case against the kennel owner, Dennis Bradley, 61, began in Jan. 2013 after investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department received reports that a number of dogs were being kept in cramped cages and exposed to the weather on his property. The investigation began after undercover video surfaced that had been taken at the kennel.
Bradley operated his kennel as a non-profit agency, although he sold puppies for several hundred dollars, according to the undercover videos that were taken. When investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department first stepped foot on the property they came across more than 60 dogs, many of them kept in small, dirty cages. Some of them were so ill they had to be euthanized.
County officials had stated the county was unable to fund the removal of all the animals before the plea deal was reached because of limited financial resources and space. When animals are seized as part of a criminal case, they must be kept in holding as possible evidence until the case is resolved.
By the time the Jan. 21, 2014 operation occurred, Bradley had around 45 animals. During that same week , Bradley pleaded 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.
In the aftermath of the animal seizure, local, state, and national animal protection agencies have asked that county officials look into strengthening the county’s current animal welfare ordinance — including adding licensing regula-tions, breeding limitations, fees for animal care after seizures, and more — to ensure a similar situation isn’t repeated.
“We have national attention here right now in our county because of this puppy mill situation,” said Cherie Emmons, with the local Love on a Leash and Lake Cumberland Kennel Club. “This is a great opportunity for us as a community to coalesce and do something so that these things don’t happen again.”
KHS will take in 27 dogs as well as two cats from the case.
“After the animals have been spayed or neutered, they will be made available for adoption at our main campus,” said KHS President and CEO Lori Redmon. “Some will be ready for adoption as early as this weekend.”
The KHS main campus is located at 241 Steedly Drive in south Louisville. Because of the high interest in the animals, potential adopters must go to the KHS campus in Louisville and undergo a pre-screening evaluation in person. An adoption fee of $350 will be applied to each animal because of the high costs of transporting, caring for, and evaluating the animals.
“Dogs from puppy mills often have more psychological needs than other pets," said Susan Oppel, KHS shelter operations director. “Because of this, the adoption process for these pets will be more intensive. We want to make sure that potential adopters are prepared to meet the unique needs of these dogs.”
Six dogs that need behavioral rehabilitation will be transported to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabili-tation Center in Madison, N.J., where animal behavior experts will provide treatment to improve their well-being and help them become suitable for adoption. The remaining dogs will be transported to CAHS in Columbus, Ohio to be made available for adoption.
Those interested in adopting from KHS should visit www.kyhumane.org for more information on the adoption process. Information on adopting the animals that are heading for the Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) in Columbus, Ohio is available at www.cahs-pets.org.