Posted Monday, July 21 --- 5:20pm
A mass breeding operation is about to become history as the Wisconsin Humane Society takes over its kennels -- and the dogs.
A dog breeding operation considered the largest in Wisconsin is closing.
The Wisconsin Humane Society returned to Puppy Haven outside of Kingston, in Green Lake County on Monday. The organization is buying out the owner.
This stretch shows some of the more than 200 runs at Puppy Haven -- a breeder of thousands of puppies every year.
"We started the puggle here," owner Wallace Havens says.
Havens agreed to sell the assets to the Wisconsin Humane Society -- at a discount -- instead of selling to another breeder or on the auction block.
"They're giving me enough money that I'm satisfied with it, and they're happy," he says.
Havens is handing over the roughly 11-hundred dogs throughout the next several months.
Neither party is saying how much money is being exchanged in the deal.
Havens is happy to see the dogs in caring hands.
"I'd much rather do it this way."
The society -- happy to see Havens no longer in the puppy business.
"We want to see people educated, know they can go to a shelter and adopt and that they should not support mass breeders."
Kennel workers say this is where the puppies are born. The Humane Society will salvage what equipment it can and destroy the rest.
But Havens says if people think of his operation as a puppy mill, he asks them to think again.
"We don't go around saying all animal activists are terrorists. They shouldn't go around saying all people who raise puppies are puppy mills," he says.
No matter the past, Jill DeGrave says what lies ahead in this dog's life...
"This is a brand new experience," DeGrave says.
... is a family life ...
"We're confident we can provide these animals with a loving family for the rest of their lives," she says.
Havens says he's regulated by the USDA but says he supports state licensing.
The Wisconsin Puppy Mill project issued a statement:
"The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project applauds the freedom of hundreds of dogs from Wisconsin's largest puppy mill.
We do, however, want to remind the public and our legislators that there are still thousands of dogs suffering abuse, neglect and cruelty in unregulated puppy mill operations across the state. The conditions in the remaining dog breeding factories are, in many cases, far worse than Puppy Haven.
This industry remains totally unregulated in Wisconsin. Despite the mutually beneficial arrangement between Wisconsin Humane Society and the state's largest puppy mill, we need to remember the animals that continue to suffer. WHS is in a unique position to fund such a buy-out but this does not change the simple fact that humane societies and other humane organizations cannot be burdened with the task of cleaning up this for-profit industry. We simply cannot "buy" the problem out of existence."
The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project
You can learn more about the Wisconsin Humane Society at www.wihumane.org