Category Archives: Whortonsville

Puppy Mill busted


Surprise raid targets Straight Road trailer

TCC083012001By Judith Lynch | Staff Writer

WHORTONSVILLE – Early Wednesday, Pamlico County fought back. A small army of local law enforcement issued a warrant at the Straight Road home of Melissa Joyner, seizing approximately 20 dogs, one cat, one ferret and a parrot, all housed in deplorable, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Pamlico County Animal Control Officer Berkley Hill coordinated the raid with a major assist from the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department. A host of animal rescue groups were also involved.

One observer described the operation as “making money from misery.”

NEWS1-Puppy-Mill-pic-1In a recent statement, a spokesperson from the Humane Society of the United States said: “Puppy mills house dogs in shockingly poor conditions. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are often killed, abandoned or sold cheaply to another mill to try and get ‘one more litter’ out of the dog.”

The house trailer at 560 Straight Road, between Piney Narrows Lane and Sanders Road, was the scene of the well-coordinated rescue raid — alive with law enforcement personnel and volunteer/saviors who placed the ailing animals into carriers, ferrying them outside one by one.

Animals inside the trailer were actively being bred, and in slightly better condition than dogs found in the back yard, who were living in filthy pens, suffering with eye and skin infections, and worse.

The barking, terrified animals (Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, a Sharpei, a Corgi, and a hodgepodge of other small dogs) were then placed side by side under the large, shady tent erected in the front yard, and their physical conditions quickly assessed and documented.

They would soon be transferred to a cavalcade of waiting vehicles and driven to the Sheriff’s Department in Bayboro, where they would be divided among the rescue groups and taken away.

Coordinating volunteer activities was the far-too-experienced Kim Alboum, North Carolina’s state director for The Humane Society of the United States. Two rescue groups from the Raleigh area — Saving Grace (, and PawFect Match Rescue ( — as well as our own Colonial Capital Humane Society in New Bern ( took in these small victims of abuse and neglect, and will do their best to help them recover.

Each non-profit rescue organization is responsible for providing veterinary care, rehabilitation, foster homes and eventual adoption for the ones who can be saved. To help in any way, please contact the organizations directly.

According to the Humane Society, this is the second puppy mill raid in a week in North Carolina, and the eleventh in the last 18 months.

“North Carolina desperately needs regulation to protect dogs like these and the countless others who are suffering from lack of proper care in puppy mills,” said Alboum. “The awful conditions at these facilities is the strongest possible call to action for state senators to put a bill forward in 2013.”

The state has no specific laws protecting dogs sold directly to the public or online by unscrupulous commercial breeders — not to be confused with responsible breeders who raise their animals with the intent to produce healthy, socialized dogs.

Females in puppy mills can be bred every time they are in heat to increase profits. After reaching four years old, the breeder dog is often worn out and no longer needed, so is killed.

With a lack of laws regulating such despicable breeding operations, law enforcement cannot prevent animal neglect until it reaches crisis proportions, as amply demonstrated by Wednesday’s raid.

By late afternoon, Hill – the county’s animal control officer — was writing up his findings and pouring over North Carolina animal laws that address what he and others found on Straight Road.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, exact charges were pending, and appropriate legal action is expected to follow shortly. Attempts to reach the Sheriff’s Department for comment were unsuccessful.