Beagles rescued from puppy mill arrive at Encinitas shelter

Rescue puppies
At the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, Andrea Brangwynne, left, works with a frightened female adult Beagle and Samantha Hogan works with another adult Beagle. Both dogs are believed to have been used in the breeding of puppies in a puppy mill operation.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune)

It was a tail-wagging morning Nov. 21 at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society where a bevy of barking beagles were making themselves at home after just arriving from a cross-country trip.

The 13 dogs, ranging from 4 months to 10 years old, were rescued from a puppy mill somewhere in the central United States where they were considered “excess inventory,” said shelter spokesman John Van Zante.

Forty-two dogs were taken from the large commercial breeding operation by National Puppy Mill Rescue on Nov. 18 when they began their trip to new homes and new lives.

Seven of the dogs, which were Pomeranians, were taken to a shelter in Las Vegas. All of the remaining dogs were beagles and, of those, nine had to be sent for medical care. The rest were divided between Rancho Coastal and Four Paws Coonhound Rescue in El Cajon, Van Zante said.


None of the animals had been vaccinated and two of the females are possibly pregnant.

Many of the dogs had spent their entire lives at the puppy mill and had never been outside their cages.

“They don’t know what it’s like to live in a house,” said Van Zante as the dogs howled and barked and explored their new surroundings.

Holding one of the tiny puppies, Van Zante said the pup and his litter mates had been running and jumping in their enclosure and that it was the biggest space the dogs had ever been in.


The breeding operation they were removed from was legal, but the animals did not have much a chance for a good life, Van Zante said. “If they stayed there, they don’t have much of a future,” he said. “But if they come here they become California dogs and they will find homes.”

This is not the first time the non-profit shelter has taken in beagles. Last year, the organization took in 35 of the popular breed after their owner gave them up.

“Every one of these is a life saved,” said Van Zante as he surveyed the now-full wing of the shelter. “At Rancho Coastal Humane Society we believe no dog should die because it was born in the wrong state.”

Some of latest new arrivals will be ready for adoption in as few as 10 days. Those interested in taking home a new best friend can find an application at

— Debbi Baker writes for The San Diego Union-Tribune

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