16 Dogs rescued from a puppy mill find new homes in Richmond


RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More than a dozen dogs rescued from a Missouri puppy mill and rehabilitated here in Richmond are each settling in to new homes.

We first told you about the dogs' plight back in January.

Since then, all of them have been adopted.

Gidget is one of the Missouri 16.

She came to the Richmond SPCA with part of her jaw missing.

But her owner said she's adjusted well to her new home.

This was Gidget two months ago.  Her hair dirty and matted.

The five year old Shih-tzu has come a long way.

"She's learned to play that was unusual a dog didn't know how to play," said Gidget's owner, David Brown.

Without hesitation, David and his wife Cindy adopted Gidget in February about a month after she and 15 other dogs were rescued from a Missouri puppy mill.

Each had behavioral and health issues.

"Her jaw's missing and some of the teeth in the front are missing there's nothing to hold her tongue in so it just hangs there," said Brown.

The Browns weren't the first to adopt Gidget.

Another family returned her citing destructive behavior.

A common problem among puppy mill dogs said SPCA's Robin Starr.

"They haven't had much relationship with people they've been very isolated so that lack of socialization can lead to some behavior issues they can be addressed with time and patience and love," said Starr.

Starr said the Missouri rescues lived in wire cages, without bedding and had little to no veterinary care.

That changed in January when the unidentified breeder was forced to shut down.

Most required antibiotics before and after dental cleanings.

One had a hernia repaired.

Gidget's missing jaw is a mystery.

"You can't know whether that was an injury that didn't receive veterinary care or a congenital defect either one is bad commentary of what goes on in puppy mills," said Starr.

Starr said not all puppy mill cases end this well.

The Browns said while Gidget's past is disturbing, she'll now live a long and happy life.

"I just can't believe people will abuse an animal that way I just can't," said Brown.

It took about a month to find homes for all 16 dogs.

The last one adopted out back in February. All of the families live in the Richmond area 

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