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Puppy Mills

Hearts United for Animals is one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against puppy mills. Since 1996 we have rescued over 10,000 dogs from puppy mills. The atrocities we see are staggering. The injuries we repair, both emotional and physical are beyond comprehension for most loving pet owners. With your help we fight for a day when dogs are no longer housed by the hundreds, stacked in wire cages, suffering from lack of medical care with no family to call their own, no beds, no blankets, no clean food or water and no concept of what it means to be loved and cared for. With your help we are gaining ground and winning the fight. Due to a combination of public education, legislation and enforcement there are 1,532 less USDA licensed breeders in the U.S. in 2013 than there were in the year 2010. There are still thousands of unscrupulous mills left to go and we will continue the fight until they are gone.


Please see our inspirational video by James Lipton, of Inside the Actor’s Studio on Bravo, for an inside view of some of our puppy mill rescue missions and meet a few of the dogs who have been rehabilitated at Hearts United for Animals.



things that you can do to help

  1. Support Hearts United for Animals in our efforts to shut down puppy mills and rescue the dogs. Monetary donations make it possible to rehabilitate the dogs we rescue from puppy mills. Our veterinary costs average $23,000 per month. It is not uncommon for one puppy mill dog’s initial expenses to total over $1,000. They often have hernias, fistulas from their jaws into the their sinus cavities from lack of water and oral health care, uterine infections, luxating patellas, eye and ear infections, feet cut on wire, tumors and severe mouth infections that cause them to lose many teeth, even at an early age.

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  2. Let everyone know about the suffering of the parents of pet store puppies. Even though "puppy mill" is becoming a more common term there are those who still don't understand. Let them know that buying puppies from pet stores and over the internet is the reason that puppy mills are still in business, and the reason that the parents of those puppies are still suffering year after year in pure misery. To help spread the word you can order our Prisoners of Greed brochures to pass out at events, local grooming shops, veterinary offices, pet supplies stores, etc. Just write to us at clinic@hua.org and we will be happy to send you some. They are a great way to illustrate the importance of everyone coming together to help the suffering animals who cannot speak for themselves. We can assist in taking the message to schools to educate the children and give you some fun ideas of what they can do to help – just write to us at hua@hua.org. We can also assist with ideas for protests of pet stores that sell puppies in your area. Protests have proven to be an effective way to spread the word and shut down pet stores.

  3. Let your state and local officials know you care. Let them know that you won't tolerate puppy mills in your state and if they vote against legislation that would help the dogs you will vote against them and tell all of your friends to do the same. It is hard to believe that anyone would vote against a bill to help animals, but in the Midwest we see it all the time. Puppy mill proprietors scare farmers into believing that if dogs are provided more comfort their agricultural practices might be next to be regulated. This is completely absurd, but unfortunately it has worked. Let the legislators know that companion animals are your concern. Over 60% of American households own at least one pet. We are collectively a huge voice…we just need to use it. Ask where they stand, track how they vote, inform everyone you know which legislators are for and which ones are against man's best friend. Look for voting bloc groups in your area. In Iowa you can sign up for legislative alerts here.

  4. Advertise. It could be as large as a billboard or as small as a bumper sticker. If you have the means to spread the word, large or small, please do it. The more visible the issue, the more people will talk and become educated. Do you have an idea and resources for a print ad? Perfect location and funding for a billboard? Write to us and we will be happy to help with design and details!

  5. Adopt a dog from HUA. For each dog adopted it makes space for another to be rescued. The requests are pouring in for us to take more dogs, but we can only do it if we find good homes for the ones currently residing at HUA. We will not overextend ourselves, as it isn't safe or fair to the dogs already in our care to have to live in an overcrowded environment. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful dogs for adoption. Each space that opens at the shelter means another life can be saved!


For those who don’t believe the problem exists, please show them our videos and photos. The facts are undeniable.

2013 Puppy Mill Facts & Figures

Published by HSUS

  • 10,000 – Estimated number of puppy mills in the United States (both licensed & unlicensed)
  • 176,088 – Estimated number of dogs kept solely for the purpose of breeding in USDA licensed facilities
  • 114,457 – Estimated number of female dogs kept for breeding at USDA licensed facilities (less than half breeders licensed by the State of Nebraska are USDA licensed)
  • 2,150,000 – Estimated number of puppies sold annually who originate from puppy mills – both USDA licensed and non-USDA licensed
  • 3,000,000 – estimated number of dogs and cats euthanized by shelters every year in the U.S.


Scenes from HUA Puppy Mill Rescues:

See more puppy mill rescue videos on the Hearts United for Animals YouTube channel.

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Broken Hearts from Louisiana
On October 13th, thirty eight dogs flew into Nebraska City from a flood-ravaged parish in southern Louisiana. These dogs had been in overcrowded shelters and when the flood waters hit, rescuers were forced to hastily make room for newly displaced dogs who had some hope of finding their families. If not, our precious cargo surely would have been euthanized. This rescue was different for the folks at HUA--no sick and terrified puppy mill dogs, no dogs abandoned or dumped, or no cases of abuse or neglect.  We met a happy, silly, bouncy bunch of pups ready to conquer the world!                                                             Then came the crushing blow.  Not surprisingly but quite unfortunately, over a quarter of the Louisianans have tested positive for heartworm disease, a terrible and potentially fatal disease.  We were prepared for the possibility that some of the dogs would be infected due to the massive mosquito population in the flooded areas, but were saddened at the high number.                      Treatment for heartworms is long, arduous, unpleasant and expensive. The average cost per dog is approximately $1000 and oftentimes higher. Antibiotics and steroids are administered, followed by at least 60 days in which the dog must receive a series of painful injections into the muscle. To make matters worse, the dog must be kept on strict rest in their playpens in order to prevent an increase in the rate at which heartworms can travel through the heart and lungs.   We were devastated to have to deliver the horrible news to these magical survivors that they will not be going home for the Holidays.  After all they've been through they deserve to live the best of all lives and they deserve a fresh, new start right now. Sadly,  they will have to tough it out before that can happen but we will be with them every step of the way.  We will climb into their comfortable playpens for long talks, we will provide extra treats, we will hold their paws when the needles hurt, we will love them back to health.                                                          If you would like to  help cover the cost of treatment for these precious souls please click to donate below.   All donations up to $50,000 from now until the end of the year will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to several amazing contributors!  We are deeply grateful for your support that allows us to continue with these missions of mercy.  If not for you, none of it would be possible.    TO MAKE A LIFE-CHANGING DONATION, PLEASE CLICK BELOW. If you prefer Paypal, it is accepted on our Razoo site at: http://www.razoo.com/hua     We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generous contributions that make these missions of mercy possible.     Hearts United for AnimalsPO Box 286    Auburn, NE  68305 Ph 402-274-36 hua@hua.org www.hua.org A national no-kill shelter & sanctuary, dedicated to the relief of suffering.
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October 13th Was a Beautiful Day
On the morning of October 13th, the HUA shelter received 38 very special deliveries.  Thanks in great part to Captain Peter Rork, co-founder of Dog Is My CoPilot (DIMC), and Take Paws Rescue in Louisiana, we were able to save these precious lives from certain death in over-crowded shelters in southern Louisiana.  The disastrous floods in August left hundreds of thousands of people and animals homeless.  Shelters were already bursting at the seams and the devastation put them far beyond capacity.  Stories in the news spoke of fast rising river waters causing animal shelters to hastily evacuate.  Horrified workers had no choice but to release dogs from kennels to let them swim onto rooftops. Foster homes were flooded as well and good people who adored their animals were forced to flee for their lives. The passage of the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards after Hurricane Katrina allows rescuers to save pets as they would people, but the numbers were staggering.                   It was a beauitful day for flying the friendly skies, and the wonderful Peter Pilot landed gently and safely.   HUA staff, volunteers and members of the press were at the Nebraska City Municipal Airport to greet the anxious passengers.  Crates were transferred from the privately-owned Cessna and loaded into three vans and two SUV's that were ready to head to the shelter.                                                   Once back at HUA, the dogs were carefully unloaded, given some cool, fresh water and were assigned their very own volunteers to take them for walks in the wide open fields.  They were thrilled to stretch their legs and smell all the new smells as we humans grinned from ear to ear watching these cuties having such fun out in the sunshine.                                                                                         The Louisianans had been in shelters prior to this massive effort and faced certain euthanasia.  They had been in the shelters long enough that there was no hope of reuniting them with their families.  Take Paws Animal Rescue pulled these dogs from the brink of death and Peter Pilot brought them safely to HUA.  Their kindness and determination are to be commended and we are overwhelmed with gratitude. We would also like to thank KETV, WOWT 6, KMTV and 1011 NEWS for reporting on this story, and Minda Haas Kuhlmann for her amazing photographs. This was a very different rescue experience for us here HUA.  No horribly sick or terrified puppy mill dogs, no dogs turned over by their families, no dogs that were out fending for themselves and starving in the streets.  The size of this group alone will make spaying and neutering costly.  Eighty percent of the dogs in the flood-affected parishes have heartworm disease and we expect to turn up quite a few positive tests.  Treatment for heartworms is long, ardous and expensive.  The good news is that the Louisanans are happy, silly, hopeful youngsters who are already having the times of their lives and receiving copious amounts of love. October 13, 2016, was a beautiful day, made even more so by people's dedication to and compassion for animals. As always, your support means the world to the dogs at HUA.  If you would like to help with the Louisianans' care, please click below.          If you prefer Paypal, it is accepted on our Razoo site at: http://www.razoo.com/hua     We extend our heartfelt gratitude for your generous contributions that make these missions of mercy possible.     Hearts United for AnimalsPO Box 286    Auburn, NE  68305 Ph 402-274-36 hua@hua.org www.hua.org A national no-kill shelter & sanctuary, dedicated to the relief of suffering.
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The Autumn Arrivals
September 29th was a beautiful day in central Nebraska, made even more so for HUA manager John and dedicated volunteer Trudy, who drove there to rescue 22 souls from lives of misery.  These precious dogs had finally escaped the horrors of a puppy mill.  The poor things were scared out of their minds but seemed to understand that help had arrived.                             Among the group were Yorkies, Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, a Schnauzer, and a Bull Terrier. The puppy miller did not discriminate and bred whatever she could get her hands on. Zoe, a tiny Yorkie weighing in at a mere three pounds, was brought to the vet for immediate medical attention.  Her right eye is dying due to previous trauma, and her left eye is severely dry.  Her patellas are very bad.  Her teeth are rotten and putrid. A paw is broken, and she has whipworms.                                                                                                         Sage, another very small Pomeranian, had one huge matt on his back side that pulled away from his body, leaving painful sores on both sides.                          Aster Schnauzer is emotionally broken.  He shakes and cringes and is terrified of human contact.                                                         Emotions always run high during puppy mill rescues.  The initial relief we feel at having the dogs in our arms is quickly overshadowed by feelings of frustration and disgust once we begin emotional and physical assessments.  Staff and volunteers have done this important work for many years and have learned to look for silver linings in every cloud to keep spirits boosted.   Over the weekend, tiny Goldie Pomeranian surprised us with something that gave us pause to consider                                      the miracles of rescue work.  These precious lives will never know a single moment of terror.  They will never be hungry, cold, ignored, or neglected.  They will grow into happy, cherished, spoiled members of their families and their mother will never again be forced to suffer through the pain of pregnancy and childbirth.  As always, your support is appreciated. If you would like to contribute toward the care of the Autumn Arrivals, please click below.  We will work tirelessly for as long as is needed to heal their bodies and their broken spirits, and that every day for the rest of their lives is spent making up for the years of suffering. If you prefer Paypal, it is accepted on our Razoo site at: http://www.razoo.com/hua  
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