Utah animal rescue saves pugs from Nevada puppy mill

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Three of the pug puppies rescued from the puppy mill. The Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation rescued dozens of pugs from a breeder in Nevada. (Photo courtesy of UAAF via Facebook)

A Utah animal rescue organization is flooded with adoption applications after a rescuing 40 pugs from a puppy mill in Nevada. 

After a volunteer for The Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation expressed concern about an unethical breeding situation in Nevada, the UAAF coordinated with volunteers as well as the breeders to find a resolution that could bring the pugs to safety. The pugs were brought to Utah, where they were placed in foster homes to await adoption.

“It was a tough situation and and it was one that had to be handled delicately,” Jenn Clayton from UAAF said. 

Maryjo Korb from UAAF said the dogs were kept in a dirt enclosure with chain link fences, and several had lice. After the rescue, a few puppies were born but died shortly after from genetic problems caused by inbreeding. 

UAAF, a non-profit that runs solely on donations, spent over $10,000 on medical care for the pugs, Korb said.

“That’s hard for us,” she said. “For such a small group to take on all these pugs along with the financial part too.” 

Clayton said the rescue was the biggest operation she can remember from UAAF’s 20-year history. 

“It’s definitely not common that we take this many dogs at one time,” Clayton said. “It was definitely a huge undertaking.” 

While most of the dogs will be fine, Clayton said there were a few — especially puppies — that did not make it. 

“We had some losses, unfortunately, with the puppies that contracted parvo while they were still at their the breeder,” Clayton said. Of the six puppies with parvovirus, only one survived.

Though adoption numbers are dropping, Korb said placing the pugs in new homes is going “too well”, actually. 

“We have more applicants than we have dogs at this moment,” she said, adding that such high demand is “typical” for purebreds like pugs. 

Clayton said some of the credit for the quick rehoming goes to local pug enthusiasts, which she called the “pug rescue community.” 

“It’s a very active community,” she said. “There’s been a lot of sharing of posts among those groups and so, you know, the situation became known to a lot of pug-lovers who have stepped up to foster and adopt.” 

Dominique Hamilton, a volunteer for the UAAF involved in the rescue, said people looking to buy dogs should be careful not to support unethical breeding operations. 

“Make sure you always see both parents and that they’re, you know, they’re reputable. They’re educated breeders,” Hamilton said. 

Additionally, prospective dog buyers can look for puppies registered through the American Kennel Club, ask for medical backgrounds and visit the breeders to make sure the dogs are being treated well, Hamilton said. 

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