Puppy mills are notorious for their brutal treatment of dogs. And the full horror of these operations was laid out for all to see in the treatment one puppy received. Indeed, Daniel’s condition even scared his rescuers, who were unsure if he’d ever find his feet again.
Daniel’s plight came to attention in March 2016, after the Humane Society of the United States was alerted to a suspected puppy mill in Madison County, Arkansas. The organization has a dedicated tip-off line to combat mills and has been instrumental in closing them down. So when the news came in, a plan was soon put to action.
The society estimates that around 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills are active in the United States. These enterprises have a reputation for breeding dogs to maximize profits – and for doing so to the detriment of the animals they house. It goes without saying, then, that they are not often nice places for any pooch to live.
So with a number of dogs’ welfare potentially at risk, the animal protection organization would need to act fast. As a result, they contacted the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, which was able to serve a search and seizure warrant. But while rescuers soon arrived on the scene, nothing could prepare them for what they would find.
When they arrived at the property, moreover, what they found was utterly deplorable: almost 300 dogs living in appalling conditions. The dogs were surrounded by their own fifth and had been denied access to food and water by their callous owner.
Speaking of the atrocious conditions in a press release, the Humane Society’s Jessica Lauginiger said, “Arkansas’ lack of laws regulating commercial dog breeding makes the state a hotbed for puppy mill operators, and this case is no exception. No animal should ever be forced to live in conditions like we’ve seen today.”
The scenes were so shocking, in fact, that they even had a profound effect on the police officers. “I can’t believe that something like this could happen in Madison County,” Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Clay Rowland said in the statement. “I am relieved that we were able to come to the aid of these dogs today.”
But one dog seemed more desperate than the others in terms of need. The little puppy, later named Daniel, was trying hard to escape his living hell. He was in such a bad state, though, that he was unable to walk on his front paws.
“I still remember seeing Daniel for the first time in that dark shed – crawling towards us through piles of dirt and feces, whimpering as if he knew we were there to rescue him,” Lauginiger later told The Dodo. But, she added, “He was full of fight and spirit from the moment we found him.”
Alongside the other 294 dogs seized from the property, Daniel was taken to a temporary shelter where all the hounds would be given emergency medical attention. In the meantime, their owner was charged with two counts of animal cruelty. Thankfully, though, he willingly surrendered the dogs to the Sheriff’s Office.
Shocking footage taken after Daniel’s rescue shows the dog’s debilitating ailment. He seemed to tremble uncontrollably as he attempted to raise himself on all four of his paws. Eventually, the strain became too much and he would lower himself down again.
Unfortunately, Daniel was simply too weak to muster up the energy to walk. And according to staff at the Humane Society the poor dog had also suffered from rickets due to malnutrition. But, they added, the problem could be reversed “with the right care and nutrition.”
And they were right. Because with the right medication and plenty of love, Daniel pulled through. In fact, thanks to the care he received at the shelter it wasn’t long before the adorable dog found his feet. Yes, within weeks he was up and running – truly a playful pup.
After just a month, then, Daniel was completely unrecognizable. And, thanks to his amazing progress, it wasn’t long before he was able to receive care in a foster home. Along with the 50 other dogs from the mill, the pup was transferred to the Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.), which finds temporary housing for homeless animals.
Speaking of the pups in their care, the society said, “We are happy to report that many of the 51 dogs we took in yesterday are already progressing. Some are doing very well, like Daniel the puppy, who days ago could not walk but is now using his front legs and will continue to heal in his foster home.”
Moreover, by this point Daniel had already built up quite a number of fans online. Indeed, many of his followers couldn’t resist sharing their joy at his recovery. “What a wonderful story! He is gorgeous – so excited to see him running. Thanks for all your hard work and love,” wrote one Facebook user. Another added, “This just made my day!”
Daniel continued to make progress in his foster home. And thankfully, he soon blossomed into the perfect pet. Yes, the cute canine loved nothing more than sunbathing in the grass and enjoying cuddles with his temporary family.
In fact, Daniel got so settled in his foster home that his family couldn’t find it in their hearts to hand him over. Consequently, they adopted the sweet pup and gave him a permanent home in Blue Springs, Missouri. Now, Daniel seems to be very happy indeed.
What’s more, Daniel has grown up to be a very handsome boy. And his demeanor is worlds away from the trembling, traumatized pup first rescued from the puppy farm. Giving an update on the lovable pup, Lauginiger said, “He continues to thrive and is enjoying all of the love and attention he deserves.”
So, thanks to the Humane Society’s hard work to end puppy mills, the dedication of the team at Great Plains as well as the kind hearts of Daniel’s new family, the poor pup was able to turn his life around. From the abused animal who was unable to stand on his own feet, Daniel is now making major strides in his loving new home.