More than 100 animals were rescued from a Pender County puppy mill earlier this month, fueling debate surrounding the lack of state commercial breeding legislation.
The Pender County owner agreed to surrender dogs and several other farm animals after local law enforcement investigated the property and found animals suffering from untreated medical conditions and living outside in wire chicken coops.
North Carolina has seen more puppy mill raids than any other state — this raid marks the 14th since 2010, said Melanie Kahn, the senior director of the puppy mills campaign for The Humane Society of the United States, which assisted in the Pender County rescue.
Kahn said puppy mills are breeding facilities that lack food and water, veterinary care and clean and spacious living conditions.
North Carolina has 200 to 300 puppy mills, and the state has no commercial breeding law, Kahn said. Breeders only have to be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell to pet stores.
But Brad Ringlien, who owns The Pet Pad in Cary, said some animal rights groups have an agenda.
“(Animal rights groups) kind of redefined what a puppy mill was, so now it’s anyone who makes a profit off of selling dogs is evil,” he said. ”(They) keep redefining it in order to get people to send them money.”
Ringlien’s store sells purebred puppies from BJ and Guys Kennel in Kansas. Although many animals rights groups have accused the kennel of being a puppy mill in online advocacy campaigns, Ringlien said he still stands by the owner, Sharon Munk.
“She would’ve been closed down many, many years ago if she was actually doing half the things that people accuse her of,” he said.
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