Proving once again that Hawaii can be sorely lacking in aloha for animals, another puppy mill has been found in the City and County of Honolulu. According to KHON, 150 dogs were rescued from a breeding facility that both neighbors and authorities described as a “noisy, filthy puppy mill.” The rescue effort was led by the Hawaiian Humane Society. “The conditions are absolutely filthy,” said the Society’s Pam Burns. “There are large numbers of dogs in pens with feces spread throughout the floor, the dogs are sitting in their own waste. The water bowls are filled with feces and urine.”

What goes on in the minds of people  in charge of such an operation? Here’s a hint: Victor Bakke, the attorney for the puppy mill’s breeding facility manager Dave Becker, described mature dogs as nothing more than “breeding machines.” He further said of the dogs, “They’re filthy but these are not household animals. They are equivalent to farm animals. They’re being housed, fed and bred, and that’s basically all that’s required.”

KHON reports that the “two and a half acre property was bought in 2007 for $1.75 million by the same person who owns the Pet Spot Hawaii LLC in Pearl City. Authorities say it was turned into a large-scale breeding facility.” Pet Spot Hawaii was also linked to a puppy mill case in the summer of 2010.

That case become public knowledge after a former employee contacted Last Chance for Animals about the abuses he had seen. LCA dispatched an investigator who worked undercover at the puppy mill. What he saw was heart-wrenching. “There were about 130 dogs, puppies and adults, all different types of breeds,” he reported. “It was almost impossible to breathe at times, the smell of feces and urine permeated the property. The sick and injured dogs, including a dog with a cancerous tumor, were caged indoors 24/7, with no special treatment given to them whatsoever.”

Why is something as terrible as a puppy mill allowed to exist in the supposedly progressive state of Hawaii? Sadly, because there are no laws against it. There are no laws related to large-scale dog breeders. It’s an unregulated industry.

Things are poised to change for the better. A new bill would mandate licensing of large scale breeders. It would cap the total number of breeding animals at 50, limit the number of times a female can be bred and set minimum standards of care, such as indoor/outdoor access and annual veterinary care. It would also provide law enforcement the access they need to inspect commercial breeding operations.

So far, the chances of Hawaii’s politicians doing the right thing and taking steps to combat the puppy mill industry look pretty good. But we have to make sure. Take the time to let Hawaii’s governor and legislature know that puppy mills have no place in paradise.

Photo Credit: Last Chance for Animals

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