Feb 24, 2008

On Puppy Mills, Rescue Dogs, and Righteous Zeal

Pictured on your left is Beatrice, an eight-year-old Pug who was rescued from the Fulton County pound by Planned Pethood. She was dumped at the pound by the owner of a breeding operation, ostensibly after he no longer had economic use for this older pooch.

We acted as the foster family for Beatrice, and I am happy to announce that she will be adopted today by a kind family from Catawba Island. However, even as an experienced canine foster, I was shocked at the condition of this beautiful dog when the breeder ended his working relationship with Beatrice.

This poor animal suffered from eye infections, ear infections, a cornea ulceration, whipworms, and a half-dozen rotted teeth that neded to be extracted. In addition, it is apparent that Beatrice has had little in the way of socialization in her life, and the dog is quite fearful of humans. It took her three weeks just to venture to the edge of the kitchen, where she spends her days, and even longer for Beatrice to take a treat from a human hand.

Her eyes were so clouded with infection that the poor creature fell down a step on our outdoor deck, as her blinded eyes were unable to recognize that there are two steps down to the ground.

Her health issues appear to be resolved, but Beatrice has a long way to go before she recovers from her long period of canine reproductive slavery. I know that animal rights activists are quick to slap the "puppy mill" label on breeders, but Beatrice is a prototypical example of the utter disregard for the needs of dogs exhibited by the worst sorts of irresponsible breeders.

Long denied basic health care and interaction, Beatrice will begin her life again with her adoptive family. I grew fond of her in the month that she has been with us, and I am glad that I could contribute to her recovery from her years of neglect and abuse.

Yet there is a part of me that rages like an Old Testament prophet at the evils of puppy mills. To white, here is a quote from the Book of Amos (8:4-7) that sums up my fire-and-brimstone mood:

Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,

saying, "When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?"—
skimping the measure, boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.

The Lord has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: "I will never forget anything they have done."
Or perhaps I should just have a cup of coffee, clip some Sports Authority coupons, and chase away the indignation. This kind of stuff will give me ulcers if I stew upon it too long.


Sandra said...

So sad, and Ohio is one of the worst states for puppy mills. Pretty much anything goes in Ohio, except for Michael Vick type stuff.

historymike said...

You are correct, Sandra. Ohio is among the worst states for puppy mills, and state legislators have been screwing around for years to pass some sort of legislation.

Here is the current status on Ohio's puppy mill legislation, which is still in committee.

Perhaps is state legislators were forced to sleep a few nights in feces-encrusted crates too small to turn around in, they might get off their arses and create a law with some teeth.

I'd also be interested to see if large breeding operations are making contributions to the recalcitrant Ohio lawmakers.

As a person familiar with rescuing and fostering puppy mill dogs (we've fostered three in the past two months), I can say that these are some of the most abused animals around. Some breeding dogs never see a vet, and dogs get discarded like rancid meat when they are no longer fit for breeding.

historymike said...

Oh, and "Michael Vick type stuff" is a lot more common in Ohio than you might think.

Anonymous said...

Hi historymike ~

Thank you for giving Beatrice a new life and your other fosters new lives. I used to live in Toledo and enjoyed it. I have family in Columbus and went to school at Miami U., but after finding out how poor Ohio's animal protection laws are, I don't think I could move back. You see, I am in involved in pit bull rescue and am the proud owner of a beautiful, sweet pittie girl, and I know that in Ohio, as in many other places, they are persona non grata. I hope Ohio gets it's act together soon! All states need very tough anti-cruelty and the puppy mills must be abolished.

Anonymous said...

YOU can help fight puppy mills!! Never, ever shop at a store that sells companion animals. Don't buy your pet food there and don't purchase your pet supplies from these businesses either.

Send these pet profiteers a strong message: if you continue to profit from the misery of animals, we'll see to it that you realize NO PROFITS WHATSOEVER.

Tell your friends and tell your family: Don't Shop At Stores That Sell Puppies!!

Give HOPE To the Mill Dogs
North Penn Puppy Mill Watch
Visit Us Online: NPPMWatch.com