Wednesday, September 21, 2011
225 Dogs Found At Clewiston Puppy Mill
Authorities Claim "Borderline" Hoarding/Puppy Mill Situation
CLEWISTON, FL. -- LaBelle Animal Control helped Tuesday to remove hundreds of dogs from a South Palm Street address in rural Hendry county.
Allen Pickles, LaBelle's animal control officer, says no charges are pending against the owner, while "no-kill" animal shelters in Broward, Palm Beach, Collier and Lee counties help take the majority of the dogs.
Complaints were coming in about Isabelle Ripoll Cruz who was taking in stray dogs and reportedly advertising as a breeder in Miami pet shops. Observers say some of the dogs were not in good shape when the owner offered to sell some of the dogs to prospective purchasers.
Animal welfare officials said no charges were to be made because the woman cooperated in relocating the animals from the rented 1.5 acre Montura Ranch Estates location at 545 S. Palm St. in rural central Hendry county, southwest of the city of Clewiston.
The owner was reportedly allowed to keep some of the older and sick dogs. The facility has been in business for over five years. Volunteers helped clean the pens and feed the dogs.
The situation at the site had been described as a "borderline" hoarding/puppy mill, with dogs reportedly sold to Miami area pet shops.
Update: Isabella and Jesus Cruz kept 12 of the dogs at their property. Clewiston Critter Care Animal Clinic, according to Allen Pickles, took 57 to their Clewiston facility and is helping the Cruz' nurse to health as needed the dogs at the Cruz' residence. The Cruz' had no business license and may be in violation of the law if pets were sold.
Suzanne M. Bonnell of the Clewiston Critter Care reports the dogs they accepted are well maintained, happy and very adoptable pets. All were microchipped, spayed or neutered and heartworm tested with negative results on Thursday, September 22 and they are available for adoption, she reports.
Bonnell said, "We have a set fee for all dogs/puppies which is $300. This includes the pets first years vaccinations and worming, spay / neuter, flea/tick prevention, heartworm test, first month's heartworm prevention, nationally registered microchip, 30 to 45 days of health insurance, reduced fee's for adopted pets for boarding or our doggy daycare and heartworm prevention."
Bonnell reports three dogs have been adopted as of Friday, September 23. The Animal Care Society, Inc. (dba Clewiston Critter Care Animal Clinic) can be reached at (863) 983-9145.
(Video: courtesy WPTV)