Update: Humane Society: Largest Puppy Mill Raid In North Carolina

Approximately 300 dogs were seized from a kennel in southern Wayne County Friday morning after authorities say they found the animals in deplorable conditions.

Loftus/The HSUS

A spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States tells WITN that two of the puppies taken in the early morning raid have died.

Spokesperson Scotlund Haisley says this should be expected when animals are not well taken care of.

He goes on to say that two other puppies have been taken out of the emergency shelter into a hospital for animals.

"Medical examines were completed today, " Haisley said. He goes on to say that some information found in the examines will go into evidence against Virgina Thornton who is the owner of the dogs that were taken.

Underneath is the original story.

MOUNT OLIVE, NC - Hundreds of dogs were taken from a suspected puppy mill today in Eastern Carolina in what is being called the biggest puppy mill raid ever in North Carolina.

Friday morning approximately 300 dogs were seized from Thorton Kennels in Mount Olive, that's in Wayne County.

County animal control supervisor Justin Scally says they filed a civil injunction against Virginia Thorton, claiming the woman willfully deprived the animals of a proper living environment.

"I can finally rest easy knowing that these animals are no longer living in constant confinement," Scally said.

Rescuers say when they arrived at the property they were greeted by a gruesome scene. The dogs, mainly Lhasa Apso, Shih-Tzus and Chihuahuas, were suffering from serious medical ailments and housed in filthy conditions.

Animal control says many of the dogs were emaciated, had untreated lacerations, severely matted fur and serious skin and eye infections. Authorities say they were being housed in unheated cages inside unventilated barns and outhouses.

"These animals were denied basic veterinary care and socialization. This terrible cruelty could have been avoided if North Carolina had laws addressing the puppy mill industry," said Amanda Arrington, North Carolina state director for The Humane Society.

The Humane Society of the United States was called in for assistance after authorities realized just how many animals were involved.

A web site for Thorton Kennels says it specializes in small breed dogs and has been in operation for almost 35 years.

A Humane Society official tells WITN News that they are talking to the kennel owner about custody of the dogs. The official say they have asked the owner to surrender custody of the dogs. If that does not happen, the Humane Society said there will be a hearing Tuesday.

Once custody is resolved, the Humane Society says it will work with its local chapters and other rescue agencies in North Carolina so the animals can be adopted.

Thornton faces a hearing Tuesday in Goldsboro on the civil injunction.

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