Investigators uncover puppy mill operation in Tate Co., nearly 200 dogs seized

Updated: Feb. 3, 2020 at 7:20 PM CST
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TATE COUNTY, Miss. (WMC) - Nearly 200 dogs were removed from a Mid-South home Monday in what investigators are calling a puppy mill operation.

Crews say the dogs were living in terrible conditions in Tate County, Mississippi most of them in need of immediate medical attention. Rescue teams took those dogs from a property on North Tate Road.

We’ve learned the homeowner was running a legitimate dog breeding business, but what investigators found was disturbing.

“The one thing you never forget about situations like this is the air," said Sandy Williams, Tunica Humane Society director.

It was an emotional day for Sandy Williams and her rescue team as they removed about 170 dogs from deplorable living conditions.

Many of the dogs were blind, matted and filthy.

“Kennels just stacked on top of each other,” said Williams. “There were two mamas nursing brand new puppies. Many, many little senior dogs.”

About a week ago, Williams, received a tip about the operation on North Tate Road.

After some investigating and undercover work, Williams brought her findings to the Tate County Sheriff’s Office -- Monday morning a warrant was executed.

“She has a legitimate puppy business, but that doesn’t excuse the condition the dogs were living in," said Williams.

Around the property, there are signs for Ashcraft Kennels -- a website shows a breeding business -- chihuahuas, poodles, miniature pinschers, all for sale.

According to investigators, the business owner has been cooperating and has not been arrested.

“I don’t know how anyone gets in a situation like this," said Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance. “It’s certainly not the first time. It probably won’t be the last time we see this.”

Lance says puppy mill cases are difficult to prove, this operation has been on their radar for quite some time.

Investigators will send their findings to the district attorney’s office to then be presented to a grand jury.

“It’s just a matter of being able to get what you need in accordance with the law to take care of it and shut it down," said Lance.

These dogs have been taken to various vets for check-ups and medical treatment.

The humane society says these dogs will not be available for adoption yet, but they will have a donation set up through the shelter for anyone that would like to help these animals.

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