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Animal control investigating more puppy mill claims

Posted February 17, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Animal control authorities say they are investigating claims of a puppy mill operating at the home of a woman whose mother-in-law had nearly 300 dogs seized in a raid earlier this month.

Sampson County animal control officers went to the Newton Grove home of Kay Thornton last Thursday and saw an estimated 120 dogs, Sampson County's interim animal control director, Susan Holder, said Tuesday.

PUPPYMILLDOG Second suspected puppy mill investigated

Officers also found "some things that concerned them about the operation," Holder said, although she would not elaborate.

The dogs had been removed from Thornton's home by Tuesday, and a sign posted on her door noted that all dogs had been given away and that the business was closed.

A man at Thornton's home refused to comment Tuesday morning and said Thornton also refused to talk about the puppy mill allegations or what happened to the dogs.

Holder said authorities have no plans to take action against Thornton, but will continue to monitor her operation.

Two weeks ago, Wayne County animal control officers and the Humane Society of the United States seized 283 dogs from Thornton's Kennels in Mount Olive, a business run by Virginia Thornton.

No charges have been filed in that case, although officials say they are still investigating. State law does not govern so-called puppy mills, although some state lawmakers want to introduce legislation that would regulate them.

Also Tuesday, Sampson County animal control officials and attorneys met with Wayne County officials about the case to learn more about legal issues and logistics involved for a seizure like the one in Wayne County.

They declined to comment on what they talked about, saying they did not want to compromise the investigation.

25 Comments

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  • circlecity Feb 19, 2009

    The Tart family that lives beside Vigina Thornton said that the day before the rescue there was two horse trailers filled with dogs left. This is the rumor in Newton Grove

  • Justin T. Feb 18, 2009

    "sayitoutloud, it is OBNOXIOUS what some vets charge. Then they snub you when you flinch at the cost like you are abusing your pet because you can't cough up the money."

    Seriously, folks... there are affordable vets. Call around and check prices like we did to find a competant, affordable clinic.

    I will have to agree, all in all, having pets IS an investment but you aren't required by law to own them. If you're not 100% sure... just don't get one. Don't blame the vets.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 18, 2009

    Ladybug008 said, "120+ puppies just do not disappear overnight!"

    Wrong. NC "disappears" about 700 animals every single day.

    This is why spay/neuter is emphasized so much and why some cities, like Durham, charge 7 times more for your pet registration. (You do register your pets as required, right?)

    http://www.durhamcountync.gov/departments/anml/Documents/PDF/AnimalControlResgistrationForm.pdf $10/yr for altered animal, $75/yr for unaltered

    Pets are not house plants...they require REAL care, registration, and sometimes expensive medicine & healthcare...if you give a hoot, that is.

  • news4u Feb 18, 2009

    "SOME ONE NEEDS TO CHECK OUT THE PUPPY PARIDISE (sic) IN PINE LEVEL SHE HAS A PUPPY MILL AND SINCE SHE HAS LAW-ENFORCEMENT RELATIVES SHE CAN GET BY WITH ANYTHING."

    "HER DOGS ARE "BREAD (sic) TO DEATH" LITTERLY (sic)"
    - - SOUTHERN BELL

    #;0)

  • sb7379 Feb 18, 2009

    The dogs are gone. She actually gave most of them away to people in the surrounding community. These dogs were not neglected as the case with the other 200+ dogs.

  • news4u Feb 18, 2009

    Wonder if she's related to the Thornton's Hot Dogs of Four Oaks?

  • SOUTHERN BELL Feb 18, 2009

    SOME ONE NEEDS TO CHECK OUT THE PUPPY PARIDISE IN PINE LEVEL SHE HAS A PUPPY MILL AND SINCE SHE HAS LAW-ENFORCEMENT RELATIVES SHE CAN GET BY WITH ANYTHING. HER DOGS ARE "BREAD TO DEATH" LITTERLY

  • lunamag Feb 18, 2009

    I used to be able to buy a package of heartworm pills for about $15 NOW I am paying $8 for one pill for each dog.
    Aren't there restrictions for breeders who have show dogs?

  • madisongunter Feb 18, 2009

    I CAN SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS STORY......THE DOGS WERE ADVERTISED ON A LOCAL RADIO STATION HERE IN CLINTON (THE COUNTRY STORE) AND THEY WERE ALL GIVEN AWAY.

  • vote4changeASAP Feb 18, 2009

    sayitoutloud, it is OBNOXIOUS what some vets charge. Then they snub you when you flinch at the cost like you are abusing your pet because you can't cough up the money.

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