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By Caroline Radnofsky and Suzanne Ciechalski
A Georgia man has been arrested after more than 700 dogs were found at a puppy mill in conditions that police described as “out of control and inhumane.”
Reason Craig Gray, 58, of Nashville, was facing charges of animal cruelty and obstruction, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement late Thursday.
Gray ran a licensed pet-breeding business known as Georgia Puppies. It sold sold miniature breeds including teacup Yorkies and toy poodles for up to $600 per dog.
Releash Atlanta, an organization caring for eight of the rescued animals, said they “flinch at the feeling of grass under their feet” and were used to sleeping standing up.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Atlanta Humane Society said the animals had been “living in crates their whole lives — one tiny crate stacked on top of another. They’re matted, covered in feces and have never been held or walked.”
The Humane Society previously named Gray on its “Horrible Hundred 2018” list of “problem puppy mills and puppy sellers in the United States.”
The Georgia Department of Agriculture inspected his facility last week. Gray initially voluntarily surrendered 630 of the dogs, but police say he admitted to subsequently bringing puppies back onto the property. An additional 85 dogs were rescued Thursday after a search warrant was obtained.
“There are many questions yet to be answered,” Berrien County Sheriff Ray Paulk added. “One huge one is how this licensed pet dealer was allowed to have an operation with this many beautiful creatures to be able to populate to the point of being out of control and inhumane.”
Caroline Radnofsky is a London-based reporter for NBC News.