'Mutts' cartoonist gives props to HSUS, puppy mill survivors

Cartoonist Pat McDonnell, who pens the popular comic strip "Mutts," paid tribute recently to puppy mills dogs and one of their heroes  - Scotlund Haisley of the Humane Society of the United States.

Haisley, chief of the Animal Rescue Team for HSUS, has in 18 months on the job led raids on 13 puppy mills and freed 4,000 dogs from lives of misery. And that was before the events of last week, when HSUS, along with the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, raided one of Pennsylvania's most notorious kennels, Almost Heaven in Lehigh County, rescuing 216 dogs. The kennel has been permanently closed by the Department of Agriculture which revoked owner Derbe Eckhart's license in January.

Eckhart, who has served jail time two decades ago for unsanitary kennel conditions and faces trial on animal cruelty charges from a raid by the Pennsylvania SPCA last October, faces a raft of dog law violations and new animal cruelty charges.