Dogs Rescued From Rhea County Puppy Mill Ready For Adoption

Friday, November 9, 2018

Beginning today, the Humane Educational Society will open up a five-day application window for those interested in adopting the dogs that were seized from the recent Rhea County puppy mill situation. Applications can be downloaded from on HES’s website at heschatt.org/puppymillrescue or can be submitted in person at 212 N. Highland Park Ave. in Chattanooga.

All applications will be collected during regular business hours from Friday through next Wednesday.

HES’s adoption counselors will review the applications on Thursday and selected applicants will be contacted by the end of that day if their application has been chosen. These dogs will not be adopted on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Chosen applicants will be selected by invitation to attend a private adoption event on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 9-11 a.m at HES before opening. The dogs will be placed in a foster program with their chosen applicants until it is determined the dogs can be released as adopted. During the fostering portion of this process, HES staff will check in regularly to monitor the dogs’ health in their temporary homes to decide whether it will be a successful, permanent fit.

On Tuesday of this week, Rhea County Animal Control Officers removed more than 100 Yorkies, Chihuahuas and other small breed dogs from a puppy mill. The animals had been living in their own filth and were all in need of medical attention. The Humane Society of the United States reached out to the Humane Educational Society on behalf of Rhea County Animal Shelter to request assistance. As a HSUS emergency placement partner, the Humane Educational Society stepped in to take 28 of the animals surrendered to the Rhea County Animal Shelter in this situation. 

Upon arrival at the Humane Educational Society, all the animals required grooming to remove matted and urine soaked fur. Many of the animals needed surgery to remove tumors, rotten teeth and more. All the animals have been spayed or neutered and received the appropriate vaccines. Some of the animals have severe cataracts or are blind and others have medical conditions that they will live with for the rest of their lives.  

Most of the dogs seized from this puppy mill have special medical needs and significant behavioral challenges due to the conditions they have been subjected to for their entire lives. HES volunteers and staff have been working to rehabilitate these animals. Many are still very timid and frightened, often doing their best to shy away from human interaction. Due to the special needs of these animals, the Humane Educational Society will be asking applicants to go through this unique, foster-to-adopt process.


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