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Q & A: Force for Good

Task force’s behind-the-scenes legwork makes dramatic puppy mill rescues possible

When you see video clips of animal welfare personnel carrying filthy, matted puppies and parent dogs out of the horrendous conditions in the cramped cages of a puppy mill, it often seems like the whole story: The rescuers have swooped in, saving the abused animals and starting them on a journey toward safety, love, and new lives. But a lot has to happen behind the scenes—often months of careful preparation, long before anyone steps foot onto the property—to make such scenes possible.

The major raids that result in the rescue of dogs from puppy mills typically begin not with dramatic stakeouts, but rather emerge from a flurry of phone calls, e-mails, and paperwork. Background information has to be gathered, cases have to be developed, and relationships forged with local law enforcement, veterinarians, and staff and volunteers from humane societies and rescue groups. And all the resources needed to execute a raid have to be assembled, so that everything’s ready to roll when the time is right. It takes experienced, specially trained people to make this happen.

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