PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Dozens of dogs rescued from commercial breeders now have a "new leash on life," thanks to the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL) in Phoenix.

[WATCH VIDEO: 50 dogs rescued from breeders taken in by AAWL]

[SEE PHOTOS:  Rescued dogs brought to AAWL]

National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) received calls to take in the animals, but didn't currently have the space for them. So AAWL volunteered to help. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, two vans belonging to the National Mill Dog Rescue brought the 50 dogs and puppies to be dropped off at the AAWL shelter. The pups were rescued from commercial breeders (also known as puppy mills) across the country, who breed animals again and again, often for sale at pet stores.

[RELATED STORY: 18 dogs rescued from cruel puppy mill, now under care of AAWL]

When the vans full of dogs arrived, three veterinarians and about a dozen volunteers and staff members helped with the initial intake of the animals. The shelter will now spend the next several days doing medical and behavioral evaluations of the dogs. Hopefully, they will soon be ready to be adopted into new, loving homes.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Pet and animal news]

About National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR)

When National Mill Dog Rescue was established in February 2007, its founders pledged to put an end to the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy mills. NMDR has rescued and placed more than 13,000 mill dogs since its inception. These dogs are now living as cherished family members across the United States.

National Mill Dog Rescue was established in honor of a little Italian Greyhound named Lily. Theresa Strader, NMDR’s Founder and Executive Director, rescued Lily from a dog auction in Missouri. Prior to that day, Lily had spent the first seven years of her life as a commercial breeding dog, a "puppy mill mom." Determined that her years of living in misery would not be in vain, Theresa started NMDR, giving a voice to mill dogs across the country.


The NMDR website tells Lily's story: "During her years as a breeding dog, Lily spent all of her days confined to a small, cold wire cage. She was never removed from her cage for exercise or socialization. In her dreary confines, Lily was forced to produce one litter after another with no respite. Like all commercial breeding dogs, she was a veritable breeding machine whose worth was measured in only one way – her ability to produce puppies."

Lily the dog

"During her years as a breeding dog, Lily spent all of her days confined to a small, cold wire cage."

Her story continues: "By seven years of age, Lily was worn out. Commonplace in the industry, she had received little to no veterinary care throughout her life, the result of which, for her, was terribly disturbing. Due to years of no dental care, poor quality food, rabbit bottle watering and no appropriate chew toys, the roof of Lily’s mouth and lower jaw, had rotted away. Her chest was riddled with mammary tumors and she was absolutely terrified of people. Theresa brought Lily and 12 others home from the auction and declares that even for a highly seasoned rescuer, the following months were the education of a lifetime in rehabilitation. That she would take up the cause for the mill dogs was never in question and the vision for National Mill Dog Rescue was born."


AAWL is the state’s largest and oldest no-kill shelter and has helped NMDR save more than 200 dogs from commercial breeders. Some of the dogs may have genetic and long-term medical issues, and AAWL says donations made to its Medical Miracle Fund will ensure they get the medical attention they deserve.

Over the last six years, AAWL has also helped rescue more than 170 puppy mill survivors from across the country, investing tens of thousands of dollars in medical care and thousands of hours into socializing and rehabilitating the dogs.

AAWL offers pet adoption, low-cost veterinary services, pet training, humane education classes, camps, workshops, and fun pet friendly events throughout the year.

Arizona Animal Welfare League

25 North 40th St.

Phoenix, AZ 85034

Phone: 602-273-6852

More information is available online or on Facebook.


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