New animal shelter opens just in time to house rescued pets

Alleged puppy mill raid
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. -- Some of the pets rescued from an alleged puppy mill Tuesday may be moving into a brand new building.

A state of-the-art animal shelter opened in Aiken County Thursday, and it could be just in the nick of time.

Gary Willoughby, director of the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken County, says they will be taking in some of those pets.

"We could end up with as many as 50 dogs, just depending on if we can handle that many at this time. But that's what we're looking like, and they probably would get here sometime next week," he said.

But it may be a little longer than a week before that happens.

"Depending on whether the owner signs them all over to the Humane Society or whether they choose to go through the court system, it may be a while before they're all ready for adoption," he said.

The recent bust has a lot of pet lovers like Trudy Gaughran furious.

"I thought it was just absolutely terrible, and I'm sure it's not an isolated incident in this area," she said.

And unfortunately, she's right.

"We've dealt with several puppy mills over the years, we took in 25 or 30 dogs from Orangeburg a couple of years ago," Willoughby said.

There are no laws against puppy mills in South Carolina, something Willoughby says his team is working to change.

"This is another example of why it's so necessary to have some regulations and controls over this. It's just inhumane," he said.

They've already had a lot of questions about adopting the rescued pets, but he says there is a way you can help those pets right now.

"In the meantime, there are a lot of other great dogs needing homes right now, which will help us even be able to rescue more from the puppy mills if they can consider adopting faster," Willoughby said.

If you are interested in adopting a pet from the Aiken SPCA, its new location is on Willow Run Road in Aiken. They are open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To visit the Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in Aiken County website, click here.

At the moment, the rescued puppy mill animals are not able to be adopted. News 12 will keep you updated of any changes on their adoption status.

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