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Critically Ill “Puppy Mill” Dog on the Mend after Surgery

MSPCA-Angell Surgeons and Adoption Center Staff Team up to Give “Nelson” a Second Chance

BOSTON, Dec. 11, 2015 – An adorable nine-week-old puppy who was bought online and shipped from Missouri to Massachusetts by truck arrived in the state so ill he required emergency veterinary intervention at the MSPCA-Angell, the organization announced today. Now the pup—named “Nelson”—is on the mend and will be placed for adoption after he recovers.

The Shar Pei-Pug was brought by his former owner to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center on Monday, Dec. 7 suffering from lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Nelson had been in Massachusetts for only a week, having endured the 20-hour trip from Missouri in a small cage to reach the state.

Emergency Surgery

As it turned out Nelson’s intestines were entangled and Angell surgeons had to remove a large portion, re-positon and re-insert them into his tiny abdomen.

Alyssa Krieger, manager of the MSPCA’s animal care and adoption center, settled the puppy into the shelter after the owner surrendered him. “Thankfully Nelson arrived in our care just in time as he would have died without emergency surgery, which would have been doubly tragic given everything he’d already endured.

Nelson will be placed in foster care for two weeks, to continue recovering from surgery before he can be placed into a new home.

Puppy Buyers Beware

Nelson’s plight focuses a spotlight on the dangers of “online only” pet sales, in which buyers are not able to visit the breeder to inspect conditions or meet dogs before purchasing. “This was a classic puppy mill situation and it’s not surprising to us that Nelson was so sick—he was likely critically ill before he was even transported to Massachusetts,” said Krieger.

“We encourage everyone to please adopt vs. buying a new pet—but at the very least buyers should be able to inspect a breeder’s property to see first-hand how the animals are raised and treated before buying,” Krieger added.

Nelson’s surgery and hospitalization cost nearly $4,000 and was paid for via the Alison Irving Fund, which was established in memory of a former MSPCA-Angell employee.

The Road Ahead

Nelson will be ready for adoption around Christmas-time. Readers interested in adopting can email for more information.

The MSPCA-Angell’s three state-wide animal care and adoption centers take in, and place into new homes, thousands of homeless dogs, cats and other animals every year. Nelson represents just one of the many animals who arrive every day—and whose futures are brighter as a result of the care they receive. Readers can contribute directly toward the care of these animals by clicking here.


The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit and like us on Facebook at