It was Victor’s lucky day. After years of living in horrendous conditions in an Iowa puppy mill, Victor went up for auction at the end of April. The mill was closing and the winning bidder was an animal rescue, making him part of a puppy mill rescue. Victor finally had his ticket to freedom and was getting a shot at a good life away from puppy mills.
The bad news was that Victor didn’t make it out as a puppy mill rescue quite as quickly as he should have. In between the time Victor went up for auction and was sold, he went from a filthy dog that appeared to be OK to receiving a severe injury.
“When our bid closed on Victor, he was fine,” says Amy Heinz of A Heinz 57 Rescue and Transport. “When we went to pick him up after the auction, he all of a sudden had a broken jaw. It was so bad that we needed to use a cone to hold his mouth shut. The vet stated it was from blunt force trauma like a kick in the face.”
In Iowa, the animal rescue community has rallied around this little dog, hoping the story of this puppy mill rescue will shine the spotlight on the cruelty of puppy mills. A Heinz 57 Rescue and Transport has started a Facebook page for Victor and reached out to other groups from the auction.
Victor went into the vet the week following the auction. He’s had surgery and is staying in his foster home. Heinz says he’s a bit skittish and doesn’t want to eat regular food – he prefers his own feces, which isn’t unusual for mill dogs. He’s been getting Nutri-Cal from his foster mom who happens to be vet tech.
When dogs are rescued from puppy mills –whether it’s through an auction or more traditional rescue – the dogs are usually not in the best of shape. They’ve not had basic veterinary treatment, a proper diet or been groomed. To say that the dogs that come from mills are an unhealthy, stinky mess is an understatement.
The Pratt puppy mill
I first wrote about this mill last week in my story about the rescue efforts of the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue from this puppy mill. CEBR had raised funds and gone to the auction at Debra Pratt’s mill, rescuing 23 English Bulldogs (and three other dogs that went to other rescues). Here’s another article about the auction from the eyes of rescuers.
By the end of the auction that weekend in April, the victory went to many of the rescues. Those groups “won” the bid on over half the dogs at the auction facilitating many puppy mill rescues. The other dogs were done with Debra Pratt’s mill and their life as breeding stock, but unfortunately were heading off to other puppy mills.
Many of the rescues scrapped money together or held fundraisers to raise funds for the auction. Now, the fundraising continues to help pay for the substantial veterinary bills that rescues will now have to pay. Victor may have been one of the worse, but these dogs have a lot of medical issues.
“The dogs still have a few things to endure,” says Heinz. “All will have most of their teeth pulled because they are so rotten. The majority will be treated for ear mites and infections. Some will need treatment for eye infections, or dry and bulging blind eyes.”
Fundraising for Victor
Victor’s veterinary bill was $4,800 as of earlier this week. You may go online to donate to Victor and other mill dogs. A Heinz 57 Rescue is also having a special fundraiser for Victor – Victory Hats. These are cotton surgical hats in various pet patterns. They are selling for $25 with proceeds going to pay for his surgery.
Checks need to be made out to IVRC (Iowa Veterinary Referral Service) with V for Victory written in memo of check. Checks need to be mailed to: Courtney Morrison 2713 Browning Manhattan, KS 66502
Heinz is also urging all rescues to continue to document what they witnessed and what is going on with their dogs. She encourages people to contact their legislators to ask them to put an end to puppy mills. They are urging the mills not only be shut down but that breeders not be able to sell to other breeders when they go out of business.
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