“There were dogs that lived in old abandoned trailers, dogs that were stuffed into wired cages, just way too many dogs,” says Scott Beckstead with the United States Humane Society, who was at the puppy mill on Friday.

About 200 dogs, many of them just running free on 57-year-old Ted Tellefson property, were rescued and removed. Most of the dogs seem relatively healthy but the situation was plainly out of hand.

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A situation like this just reinforces why legislation is long overdue in OR to regulate breeders. Oregon had none at all right now and is one of the leading states for puppy mills just for this reason.

“Law enforcement would have even stronger tools to take care of a situation like this, and actually to prevent one from happening in the first place,” Beckstead says.

Tellefson was initially charged with 100 counts of animal neglect by by agreeing to surrender the dog to the humane society, he will not be charged.  He get to keep 20 of the dogs.

The dogs, larger then what is usually seized from puppy mills, includes Shiba Inus, Akitas, Labs and mixed breeds.  Aside from a few skinny dogs and some cases of worms, the dogs are not in as bad of shape as many in situations like this but it could have easily and quickly gotten much worse.

“There’s some fight wounds, some are pretty skinny. I’ve definitely seen some pregnant dogs, but I haven’t seen any major red flags,” said Sharon M. Harmon, executive director of the Portland-based humane society. “I’ve seen much, much worse.”

Right now the dogs are being checked over, care for and will be spayed and neutered then they will be up for adoption, perhaps as early as Monday.

“We’ve had a lot of adoption calls already. I’ve had to tell a lot of people “no, they’re not ready yet.”

Adopting a dog through the society can cost anywhere from $55 to $300, depending on the dog’s age and the breed’s popularity. The adoption fees collected by the society account for about 15 percent of the cost of caring for the dogs, with the bulk coming from private donations. For information about adoption or donating, call the Oregon Humane Society at 503-285-7722, ext. 312, or go to oregonhumane.org.

I’m glad the dogs were rescued and removed from that situation but I am still highly disappointed that there were no charges. I realize that offering to drop the charges in exchange for surrendering the dogs probably made it much easier and will move the dogs much more quickly on to full recovery and a new home but this man still has a bunch of dogs, 20 of them, and he can just start this all over again.

Intellectually it’s easy to understand that oft times law enforcement is a balance of give and take but in the end the innocent will still suffer.

Right now there is a bill under consideration to regulate breeders, we can only hope that it goes forward and some changes
are made.

The Oregon legislature is considering a bill, H. B. 2470, to provide protection for breeding dogs in commercial kennels. The first hearings on the bill were held February 23 by the House Committee on Consumer Protection.

In addition to mandating minimum living conditions, the bill restricts the size of commercial breeding kennels to a maximum of 25 unaltered dogs four months or older. It also protects consumers with a tracking system which give buyers of sick or deformed animals a way to recover damages if the seller did not disclose congenital defects at the time of purchase.

You can read the text of the proposed legislation HERE.

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