Warning: the following may be upsetting – it sure upset me, which is why I had to post this here. The owner, Richard Swafford, has been notorious in the border collie world for a long time. Claiming to be a ‘rescue’ he’s a full-fledged puppy mill. He also claimed to sell registered, working border collies, yet the American Border Collie Association expelled him from their registry some time ago. In the rescue world I’d heard his name come up many times over the years. It’s heartbreaking that it took so long for the authorities to shut down this concentration camp for border collies.
From this press release:
“The Humane Society of the United States worked in conjunction with the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department to remove 108 border collies from squalid conditions at an alleged puppy mill in Portland, Tenn.”
The HSUS was called in by the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department to handle the removal, transport and placement of the animals and to help gather evidence. The Sheriff’s Department, worked with several law enforcement officials over the past year to investigate claims of inhumane conditions at All Around Border Collies made by current and former facility employees. The property owner breeds dogs for sale and runs Border Collie Rescue of Middle Tennessee. According to his Web site, the property owner takes in rescued border collies. But many of the dogs on the property were those the owner had bred and made available for sale on the Internet.
The dogs were housed in a dark, vermin-infested barn and filthy outdoor pens. Border collies are natural herding dogs, and require extensive exercise to maintain a healthy temperament and physique. Lack of exercise and socialization is especially devastating to this breed. It is possible that many of these neglected animals had never known life outside their cramped enclosures.
The property owner surrendered 68 of the dogs who The HSUS will transport to rescue groups and humane societies throughout the region, where they will be made available for adoption. The sheriff’s department seized another 40 who will be housed with local organizations pending a possible criminal investigation.
After Jan. 1, 2010, the recently passed Tennessee Commercial Breeder Act will require mass breeding facilities with more than 20 unaltered females to be licensed and meet humane standards of care.”
For a short video and news report of the bust, follow this link.
I’ve written in the past about the horrors of puppy mills and why it is so important to buy a dog directly from a breeder and visit the place where the puppy was born and raised so you know what your dollars are supporting. Swafford actually claimed to be running a rescue! No rescue sells dogs over the internet. No rescue sells pregnant bitches. Nor do they breed and sell puppies, or ship whole litters of puppies out to dealers. No caring breeder of dogs will sell through the internet or through a store. Anyone who needs a front such as a store or middle-man to sell their dogs and puppies, horrible conditions like those described above, and those depicted below, is likely what they are trying to hide.
Among the many rescue groups that have stepped up to the plate to take in these dogs, Glenhighland Farm has taken eight and they have just arrived at the farm. They will likely require extensive time and care in rescue to learn how to be border collies, something GHF excels at doing. To follow their story (or if you wish to make a contribution to their care), follow this link.