Utah animal rescue rescues pugs from Nevada puppy mill

Three of the pug puppies rescued from the puppy mill. The Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation rescued dozens of pugs from a Nevada breeder. (Photo courtesy of UAAF via Facebook)

A Utah animal rescue organization is inundated with adoption requests after rescuing 40 pugs from a Nevada puppy mill.

After volunteering for The Utah Animal Defense Foundation expressed concern about an unethical breeding situation in Nevada, the UAAF coordinated with volunteers as well as breeders to find a solution that could bring the pugs to safety. The pugs were brought to Utah, where they were placed in foster homes pending adoption.

“It was a difficult situation and it was a situation that had to be handled delicately,” said UAAF’s Jenn Clayton.

UAAF’s Maryjo Korb said the dogs were kept in a dirt pen with chain link fences and several had lice. After the rescue, a few puppies were born but died soon after due to genetic issues caused by inbreeding.

The UAAF, a nonprofit organization that operates solely on donations, spent more than $10,000 on medical care for the pugs, Korb said.

“It’s difficult for us,” she said. “For such a small group to take on all these pugs with the financial part too.”

Clayton said the rescue was the biggest operation she can remember in the UAAF’s 20-year history.

“It’s definitely not common for us to take on so many dogs at once,” Clayton said. “It was definitely a huge undertaking.”

While most dogs will be fine, Clayton said there were a few – especially puppies – who didn’t survive.

“We have unfortunately suffered losses with puppies who contracted parvo while still at the breeder,” Clayton said. Of the six puppies with parvovirus, only one survived.

Although adoption numbers are dwindling, Korb said placing the pugs into new homes is going “too well, in fact.

“We have more applicants than dogs right now,” she said, adding that such a request is “typical” for purebreds like pugs.

Clayton said part of the credit for the quick return goes to local pug enthusiasts, which she called the “pug rescue community.”

“It’s a very active community,” she says. “There’s been a lot of messaging between these groups and so, you know, the situation has become known to a lot of pug lovers who have stepped up to foster and adopt.”

Dominique Hamilton, a UAAF volunteer involved in the rescue, said people looking to buy dogs should be careful not to support unethical breeding operations.

“Make sure you always see both parents and that they are, you know, reputable. They are educated breeders,” Hamilton said.

Additionally, potential dog buyers can look for puppies registered with the American Kennel Club, ask for medical histories and visit breeders to make sure the dogs are being treated well, Hamilton said.

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