guilty of a misdemeanor and, subject to up to one year in jail and a $2500 fine.
After weeks of investigation and planning, humane groups includingÂ Humane Society of Parkersburg and the Humane Society of the United States, along with West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection and Woods County, West Virginia sheriff’s department and prosecutors, shut down a puppy mill called Whispering Oaks Kennel.
This millÂ had nearly 1,000 dogs.
Despite the pleasant sounding name, this facility, which had operated for decades, typifies the squalor and misery endured by animals trapped in the pet trade.
These neglected dogs were kept in rabbit hutches, with wire bottoms. Many were suffering in the hot sun with no access to water. All of the hutches were crowded and filthy.
The investigation of this puppy mill focused on claims the owner, Sharon Roberts,Â was illegally disposing of pollutants or dog waste. West Virginia regulates the disposal of animal wastes. Â Improperly disposed of dog wastes particularly in the quantities in this case can be harmful to humans and contaminate water supplies and food crops.Â It is something to look at if you want to close down a puppy mill.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
The owner has notÂ been charged with violations of state laws concerning pollution or waste disposal or for the care and treatment of the dogs. Instead,Â sheÂ surrendered ownership of the dogs when authorities appeared at her facility this weekend and signed an agreement never to operate a commercial breeding facility in the state again. If she violates the agreement, it is possible she can be charged with any violations of law found at the site. Roberts is 72 years old. Â Â Â Â
The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter.Â Humane Society of Parkersburg,Â HSUS,Â and others are involved in the transport of the animals, organization of the shelter and care of the animals.Â Each dog must be evaluated and provided with veterinary care. They will then be adopted out to good homes. The dogs are small breeds, mostly dachshunds and also King Charles Cavaliers, Yorkies, Poodles and Jack Russell terriers.