Clewiston puppy mill raided, nearly 100 dogs rescued
Clewiston puppy mill raided, nearly 100 dogs rescued

Clewiston puppy mill raided, nearly 100 dogs rescued

CLEWISTON – Two people were arrested in Clewiston after a suspected puppy mill with nearly 100 dogs was shut down Monday.

Beatriz Perez, 46, and Alexei Fernandez, 47, are charged with several counts of cruelty to animals after authorities found the dogs living in filthy conditions and without clean water or food at the property on Avenue Del Club.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Field Investigations and Response team assisted at the request of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office with the removal, evidence collection, sheltering and medical care of the dogs at 166 Avenue Del Club in Clewiston.

A spokesman for the Hendry County sheriff said the operation had been the focus of a six-month operation that included undercover aspects such as purchasing animals.

The dogs—spanning small and large breeds including Siberian huskies, Chihuahuas and poodles—were discovered living in crowded, filthy pens, many with little protection from the elements.

Many dogs had no access to clean drinking water or food and were suffering from various medical conditions, including skin and eye disease and severe dental issues. The ASPCA believes the facility to be a puppy mill, a large-scale breeding operation.

“This is a tragic situation we see all too often,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigation and Response. “Puppy mills are a widespread issue across Florida and around the country. Many people are unaware that most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, and that buying pet store puppies indirectly supports these facilities. While the puppies are sold for profit, their parents are kept at these mills for years, subjected to incessant breeding and a very poor quality of life. Our goal is to remove these dogs from a life of neglect, help them become healthy and eventually find them safe and loving homes.”

“We have no tolerance for animal cruelty in this county,” said Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden. “Hopefully this case will send a message and prevent similar situations.”

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will receive medical care from ASPCA veterinarians. The ASPCA will continue to care for the dogs at the temporary shelter until custody of the dogs is determined by the court. Additionally, the ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy department is providing ongoing legal support for the criminal case.


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