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Dozens of Dogs Rescued From 'Puppy Mill'

Posted July 19, 2007
Updated July 20, 2007

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— More than 60 malnourished dogs and puppies have been rescued from a home in western Hoke County.

The dogs were sick and starving when Hoke County animal control officers brought them to the county animal shelter.

"When they got here, they were matted and full of fleas," shelter director Michelle Queja said. "Most of them came with hips showing, ribs showing, a lot of scars."

Some of the animals had to be euthanized because they were so malnourished, Queja said.

Authorities have described the home where the dogs were kept as a puppy mill but have not been able to find the owner, identified as Janet Marburger.

"They were selling the dogs to the public. People were buying these sick dogs," Queja said.

Harold Richards said the dog owners left North Carolina in January to seek jobs, and he hasn't heard from them since. They allowed him to stay in their home as long as he watched the dogs.

Richards said the owners assured him dog food would be delivered regularly. But the food stopped coming weeks ago, he said.

He finally called someone to help him care for the dogs, and they called animal control officers.

Authorities haven't been able to track down the dogs' owners, who they said would likely face multiple charges.

Queja said the shelter has about 10 dogs from the home available for adoption.

20 Comments

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  • Bing Used Jul 21, 2007

    The guy was left there to take care of the dogs. He didn't.

  • SpunkyGrits The One and Only Jul 20, 2007

    Yes someone should have followed up on previous complaint. Yes the guy living there should have called AS SOON AS he realized the condition of the dogs, not NECESSARILY waiting until the food source ran out. If he was homeless, I understand he wanted a place to stay. But at the very least, he should have called when the food ran out.

    No, we weren't there to know the whole situation. We are (as usual) basing our opinions on the information given. The truth will probably come out in time.

  • latanya512 Jul 20, 2007

    Unless we were right there, we don't know the circumstances. The dogs were already in bad shape before the man got there. The owners need to be held accountable. The man is homeless so I doubt he has the money to take care of all the animals. I am with you on this one theyneedus. If a report was already taken early, there should not have been any animals there. But also you have to realize SPCA is understaffed and underfunded. We can all complain but what are we going to do about it. Can we donate food to the shelter that have the animals.

  • Sessy - Italiana Jul 20, 2007

    The caregiver waited TOO long. The food stopped coming weeks ago. HELLO!!!!!! He knew he'd get charged if these poor dogs were to all die. He should of called when the food stopped WEEKS Ago. All 3 are guilty! He KNEW what that couple was up to. They were in poor shape, he sure didnt look blind to me!

  • theyneedus Jul 20, 2007

    To set the record straight, the caregiver is a homeless, illiterate very nice man who is in a bad situation. He works for the owners in their business of delivering phonebooks. These people make a good deal of money doing this and have for many years. They travel often for their "job". They were turned in a year ago for the very same problem of animals being neglected and not vaccinated. There was nothing followed up on the case. There are also horses envolved. Mares being left with their yearling and 6yr old sons, hmm makes you think. You cannot blame the caregiver for what he was doing, he was doing his best and until recently was feeding them, however what could he do other than turn the animals over, which he was most likely threatened that if he did he would be hurt. Do not give these owners the benefit of the doubt they do not deserve it. THEY KNEW BETTER!!!

  • O-Get-A-Grip Jul 20, 2007

    AMEN NCMOMof3...Well said! I couldn't have said it any better. I'm almost willing to bet that the "caretaker" actually owns those dogs in part if they weren't given to him. How can he afford vet care and food when he doesn't even have a shirt to put on during a news interview?

    AS for the people buying the pups, I would say most likely the buyers never saw that place. They were taken to flea markets or advertised and shown elsewhere.

  • NCMOMof3 Jul 20, 2007

    "These folks who owned the "puppymill" are likely more of the myriad victims of the globalization or outsourcing of jobs."

    I disagree with this statement and the rest of this post. If you need to supplement your income, do it responsibly. Just because your income isn't sufficient does not mean you can starve or mistreat animals or anyone else. I also blame the people that were going there to purchase puppies. Couldn't they see these animals were not healthy? Did they not care where their puppies were coming from? Why didn't someone report these people long before they left the state? And the man that was living in that house for the past 6 months, what has he been doing? Just not feeding the animals? It breaks my heart to think of what these animals have had to go through for someone to make a quick buck. There is no excuse.

  • AFLOWERS Jul 20, 2007

    I AGREE WITH THE POSTERS THAT ARE SAYING THE MAN LIVING IN THE HOUSE IS JUST AS RESPONSIBLE. HE WAS LEFT THERE TO CARE FOR THE DOGS. THE OWNERS DIDN'T JUST ABANDON THEM. THEY LEFT THEM TO BE CARED FOR BY SOMEONE ELSE. IF ANYTHING HE IS THE MAIN ONE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM STARVING TO DEATH.

  • All child molesters should die Jul 20, 2007

    1Moms_View:

    I agree totally!

  • Hevans1012 Jul 20, 2007

    I would LOVE to have one of the boxers they showed but I already have 3 doggahs at home =(

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