The effort continues to rid the country of puppy mills. A national group that rescues a particular breed of dog is headquartered in Tulsa. The News On 6's Steve Berg reports Small Paws Rescue is a big operation.
They got a number of puppies in their latest round of rescues, just a few weeks ago. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Small Paws Rescue stays busy.
"We rescue Bichon Frise dogs," said Robin Pressnall.
Fortunate, because founder Robin Pressnall and her 800 volunteers across the country are willing to do the work, but it's unfortunate that so many dogs are abused.
"We have approximately 300 Bichons in rescue right now across the country. We take in anywhere from 50 to 150 Bichons each month into rescue," said Robin Pressnall.
The Sand Springs resident says she got into the rescue business when she wanted to buy her favorite breed, the Bichon Frise.
"I answered an ad 10 years ago from the internet thinking I knew what I was doing, and I didn't have a clue what I was doing," said Robin Pressnall.
She says she found a puppy mill, with a dead horse in the front yard to boot.
"That's when my eyes were opened to what was going on in the commercial kennel industry," said Robin Pressnall.
The Bichon Frise, which is Small Paws Rescue's specialty, is a common victim of puppy mills, but she says many breeds are at risk.
"Any small breed is going to be found in puppy mills. Any breed that you see in pet shops," said Robin Pressnall.
"Poodles and Shih Tzu and Lhasa apso and Corgis and Daschunds, anything small is what you'll see in the puppy mills and the pet shops."
Missouri and Oklahoma have the most puppy mills, because she says the states have weak regulations
"They're basically policed by the USDA who looks at these dogs as agricultural animals," said Robin Pressnall.
She says when looking for puppies, it's best to avoid the pet stores.
"Contact one of your local shelters, humane societies, or one of the many thousands of animal rescue organizations across the country. Because, if you go to a pet shop, the chances are very good that you've just supported a puppy mill," said Robin Pressnall.
Rescue work doesn't come cheap. Small Paws' vet bills are about $50,000 a month.
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