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Investigators raid suspected puppy mill, make arrest

Garland County investigators take close to 200 dogs from suspected puppy mill. They arrested the dogs' owner for felony animal cruelty.
GARLAND COUNTY, AR - "There's two right here guys," said an investigator as he pointed at two malnourished dogs. Alltogether, there are close to  200 of them all over this Garland County property. Some of the dogs are so sick, veterinarians had to wear hazmat suits to handle them.

"This guy here, he actually has been doing a lot of biting," said American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Vet Rhonda Windham. "When they're biting a lot their skin can be really thin and kind of patchy as well."

Garland County deputies arrested Pam Thomas before they raided her property. She owns Happy Times Kennel, also known as Rainbow Kennel and Spa City Pets, and now she's charged with three counts of felony animal cruelty.

"If you look really closely, especially on some of the whiter dogs, you can actually see fleas," said Windham. Fleas are a comparatively minor problem for some of the dogs though. Many have far worse conditions.

"They have really chronic conditions right now," said Windham, "really chronic conditions that were really preventable, like skin conditions and eye conditions."

Monday's raid is actually the culmination of a two-year investigation. Deputies say it started in 2009 when they hit Thomas with about 100 counts of violating the Arkansas Rabis Control Act. Most of those charges were dropped, but they helped get the ball rolling for Monday's raid.

"People started coming forward and talking more about it and filing reports," said Garland County Lt. James Martin. From there, investigators went to the business undercover, buying animals that weren't as healthy as they should've been.

Now the dogs are headed to a new home where they'll get the treatment they need.

"We hope to find homes for them, their forever homes," said Windham, "so they can be happy and really healthy and that sort of thing."
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