Cherokee County marshals raided a Georgia puppy mill on Tuesday, rescuing up to 500 dogs that were stacked in cages, living in filth, many suffering from health and behavioral problems.
Investigations into the breeding operation, owned and operated by Joy Wise, began when a North Carolina woman adopted a Yorkie-Chihuahua puppy from Wise via the internet. Less than a week later, the puppy died so she contacted authorities.
Cherokee County Marshal’s Office officials, Cherokee County Animal Shelter staff, behaviorist and animal activist Victoria Stilwell and Marietta veterinarian Dr. Michael Good all assisted in the rescue efforts.
“It’s absolutely disgusting, the conditions these animals are living in,” Stilwell told CBS46 News. “They are suffering physically, but they’re also suffering emotionally.”
“I saw dogs sleeping in food bowls so they could get off the wire screen,” said Dr. Good, describing the wire-bottomed cages the dogs were living in. “Imagine living your whole life on something like that. It’s got to have an effect on your ligaments and your joints.”
The rescued dogs were taken to the Cherokee County Animal Shelter, where they will be cared for until the court case is settled. Public records show that Wise was cited for 264 counts of animal neglect and 264 counts of failure to comply with rabies inoculation this past May.
Wise’s husband told CBS46 that he and his wife have been raising and caring for dogs for over 40 years. They intend to fight to keep every dog that was removed from the property.
“These people, they’re not breeders,” said Stilwell. “They’re puppy millers that basically do factory farming for dogs. They don’t care about the dogs themselves. All they care about is the money. That’s it.”