Investigators say they're hoping to bring more awareness to America's puppy mills and pet outlets.
The Humane Society of the United States recently released the findings of an undercover investigation performed last year in Texas. Over a five month investigation in 2013, they visited 16 pet stores and three flea markets across the state of Texas. They say, by far, the most troubling conditions were seen at what they call "Dog Alley" in Canton, Texas. "Dog Alley" sits on the grounds of Curry Trade Grounds and RV Park. HSUS investigators call "Dog Alley" a mecca for questionable and often unlicensed puppy sellers.
"What we found at the Canton Flea Market were dogs who were left out in the sweltering heat, many without water, clearly in distress. and one of the things we know from the course of the investigation is that these dogs are primarily being bred in puppy mills from outside the state of Texas and then trekked in and kept in this horrible environment, " said Melanie Kahn, with the Humane Society of the United States.
Investigators say hidden camera video shows hundreds of cages and rows of puppies in bad conditions. They say many people don't know that they're buying dogs from puppy mills.
"There were dogs that were covered in fleas. There were dogs that were coughing. There were dogs that clearly had skin conditions that weren't being treated. Eye conditions and it ran the gamut. It really is common in puppy mill dogs," said Kahn.
However, a lawyer for Curry Trade Grounds and RV Park says the allegations simply aren't true. Attorney, Morgan Elliott, released this statement to KTBS 3 News:
"Curry Trade Grounds does not condone any form of animal cruelty or neglect. In addition to enforcing the rules of our state and local governments, Curry Trade Grounds has implemented its' own rules and regulations as an attempt to manage the safety and welfare of animals while they are located on our property. With the help of our staff, Canton Animal Control and the Texas Animal Health Commission, we make every effort to ensure that our vendors follow these rules and regulations. If it is brought to our attention that any vendor has been found guilty of keeping their animals in an unsanitary condition, we do not allow those vendors to continue to sell their puppies on our property."
HSUS investigators say that wasn't the case when they went in with their hidden cameras. They say they witnessed sick looking puppies and even puppies in cages with other animals such as piglets. They hope their investigation will bring awareness to the problem.
"The goal of the investigation is to pull back the curtain on the puppy mill industry, so consumers can see what really goes on," said Kahn.
For more details on the HSUS investigation and tips on how to buy a healthy pet follow the link listed below.