Operation Rescue was the name give to our 2014 involvement in taking down a large scale Standard Poodle puppy mill breeding / hoarding situation right here in Michigan. Michigan Standard Poodle Rescue (MSPR) was in it's infancy and I had only re-homed 2 Standard Poodles when I got the anonymous email. There were dozens of dogs living (if you can call it that) in a dark windowless barn. They were contained in horse stalls that had been sealed up. They had no human interaction and they were riddled with medical issues. While it would have panicked the most seasoned professional rescue, a newbie like me didn't know what they were getting into and I tackled it head-on. Long story short, MSPR took in 12 dogs initially, which we nicknamed the dirty dozen. I put up my own money to rent space at a boarding kennel so that I could not only get the dogs medical care, but also the needed evidence to prosecute the person responsible. Animal Pal in Auburn, MI dropped everything and stayed into the wee hours to bath and groom 12 stinky, severely matted, unsocialized dogs. I actually put an ad on craigslist asking for help. Many amazing people stepped up to the plate. The Humane Society of Bay County helped with some funding. We eventually took in 3 more dogs for a total of 15 into my new little rescue that started as a one-man band. Six of the dogs MSPR took ended up going into the prison dog program known as MiPAWS at the Michigan Department of Corrections in Ionia. Since there were over 90 dogs in one county and another 30 in the neighboring county, other rescue organizations stepped up to the plate to handle the large volume of dogs. They were all vetted and adopted into responsible homes. My sister (who worked closed with the National Humane Society for advice, and the local county authorities) and I received recognition from the National Humane Society for presenting a solid case with enough evidence to bring charges against the owner/operator of this puppy mill.
The person responsible for was charged with animal cruelty and was put on 5 years probation. She was not allowed to own any animals during her probation period.
The dirty dozen will always have a special place in my heart :-)