Sunday, May 23, 2010

Time to Shower in Boiling Clorox

Homeless, or hot property?

Sitting here, freshly scrubbed after a wet, dirty day of SAR training, I started checking some ads in a regional agricultural newspaper's online site.

Way leads on to way, and impulsively googling phone numbers from some questionable dog ads in the livestock section led to roads I wish were less taken, especially by me.

The pets/dogs classifieds of the Holmes County Bargain Hunter -- which serves eastern Ohio's Amish country -- made my skin crawl off to hide. I need another shower already.

Commingled with a modest number of the usual backyard breeder and bailing pet-owner ads is the commercial narrative of the new rural economy, one of the few facets of animal agriculture that is not yet vertically integrated, the new millenium's Mortgage Lifter:

BROKER LOOKING FOR Toy breed puppies...any kind. 10 years experience. Have lots of references. Paying $150-$300. 814-331-0247.

KENNEL SELLOUT. YORKIES, Bichons, Pomeranians, King Charles, Poodle, and Shih-Tzu. 1-4yrs. old. (423)345-3042.

LOOKING FOR LITTERS of puppies, we could pay up to $60 a pup for pure or small breeds. Call us at (330)466-7276.

ONE 9MO OLD Pom male. One AKC Pom male. Two Pom females. (740)622-1109.

PUPPIES WANTED: BOOKING litters. Cavashon’s, Schnoodles, Cavapoo’s, Cavalier King Charles, Morkies, Shorkies, Cockapoos, Shihapoos, Bichon’s and Bichon mixes, Maltishons and Maltipoo’s, Maltese cross, Puggles, Havanese cross, Yorkipoos, Yorkie mixes. Small Poo breed mixes. Designer breeds. 330-280-4531.

PUPPIES WANTED: BUYING some now, and booking ahead. Pugs, Puggles, Yorkies and mixes, Morkies, Cavashons, Havanese and mixes, Shih-Tzu’s and mixes, Bulldogs and mixes, Bichons and mixes, Maltese and mixes. We always pay and we always pick up. 330-518-9516; 330-559-9211.

THIRTY 2-1/2’X4’ WIRE dog cages made by Raber Kennels. Six 16ft sections, two 12ft sections with automatic water nipples. Can deliver. (270)528-1537 or (270)531-3751.

WANTED TO BUY: Adult kennel breed sellout. Yorkies, Maltese, Pomeranians, Shih-Tzu’s. (330)359-0245.

WANTED: SOFT-COATED WHEATON, also Brussel Griffond adults and/or puppies. Also, someone to raise Bulldogs and I will supply the dogs. (724)254-4594 or (412)289-9498.

Bad enough, the brokers looking for $60 puppies that will miraculously appreciate ten or twenty-fold by the time they reach the deli case in a week or so, the sellouts of bulk-priced breeding stock, the indelible image branded on my brain of the thirty canine livestock who have and will spend their entire miserable existences in those banks of 30" x 48" cages (with water nipples). These ads infuriate, but do not surprise. Not like some others.

There's the famous canine repro specialist vet in Cleveland I keep hearing about.

Two hour seminar by world famous canine reproduction vet, Dr. Hutchinson. A rare opportunity to learn from one of the top Veterinarians in the country. Tuesday, May 18th at Farmstead Restaurant in Berlin at 7:00pm. For information call (330)674-0810.

I don't think we'll be taking our veterinary business to the good Doctor Hutchinson; courting the custom of the puppymilling community in and around Holmes County means he will be much too busy keeping those bitches profitably whelping away in their 30" x 48" cages to bring his full specialist attention to any AI's we might one day want to have done.

In addition to building vinyl storage units, the disembodied phone number that is organizing this meeting of minds has some six-week-old Australian shepherd pups for sale. Because those pups get stale if you let them sit on the shelf too long.

Then there's the new wrinkle on "rescue:"

AA1 RESCUE now accepting puppy litters. Call when young to assure placement. Will find loving homes and spay mom. (330)242-5137.

This one is fishy. I've never heard of a rescue placing an ad looking for dogs. It's not like there is, you know, a shortage of dogs and puppies in rural eastern Ohio. I have been to the pounds; they are well-populated, and many of them are only too eager to release animals to legitimate rescues.

AA1 Rescue does not have a Petfinder listing, nor a website, nor a mention on anyone else's website, nor is it registered as a 501(c)3 with the IRS.

The only place it turns up in a Google search is in this free ad in a Cleveland publication:

Lab mixed puppies, 6-8wks. SUPER SWEET, shots, dewormed. $100. 330.242.5137

The phone number, similarly, only appears in this ad. It is a cell phone in Medina, OH.

Like I said, fishy. The "rescue" that pays for ads looking for pups, but whose only web presence is in one free ad offering puppies for sale for $100. Presumably unneutered, as they don't specify the way they do for the $3 inoculation and the $.50 worming.

Then there's so-fishy-I-smell-low-tide:

Accepting puppies & dogs. We are a well-respected rescue with 12yrs. experience. We will pay up to $50 per puppy. (330)656-3524.

A rescue that pays a newspaper for an ad so they can buy puppies? At about the same price offered by the puppymill brokers in the same ad column?


In those twelve years of experience garnering respect, "Guardian Angel Rescue" has apparently not gotten around to getting registered as a tax-exempt charity; my fruitless search of the IRS dB reminded me, though, that there is a well-respected group in Canfield, OH, Angels for Animals, that helped out NESR with low-cost neutering on five English shepherds we once sprung from one of the rural pounds they serve.

There are Guardian Angel Rescues in Memphis, TN and Tampa, FL. Presumably not trolling rural Ohio for $50 puppies. Otherwise, no website, no Petfinder listing, no mention on anyone else's website.

The Northfield, OH cell phone that is the only point of contact for this and some similar puppy-solicitation ads, shows up on the other side as well, with paid ads that give some idea of the strict placement criteria and great care that Guardian Angel takes with its procured puppies:

A Big Puppy Sale FREE Shots. FREE Life Worming. Rescue Puppies. $35 up. 330-656-3524. 5/12/2010
There is more of the same in Akron-area ads, most of them coming up on Google but not properly cached.

Presumably, the $35 "bargain" puppies cost the guardian angels less than the $50 top price offered in the other ad. Or they are old and shopworn. The inclusion of "up" suggests that there may be no ceiling on the potential price for intact "Rescue Puppies."

I've long cautioned dog-shoppers to be as skeptical of rescues and shelters as they should be of breeders.

To make sure that the animals have had appropriate health care, that the facilities do not promote disease, that behavior and health assessments are performed appropriately and the results used to determine appropriate placements and also shared transparently with potential adopters, that dogs who need training to become adoptable receive it, that the rescue provides follow-up support as needed, including guaranteed take-back. To determine that the rescue is well-run, fiscally responsible, clear-headed as well as (reasonably) soft-hearted.

I had no idea how excessively high I was setting the bar, because I didn't know how low you could go.

I think we've got enough evidence to add, now -- Make sure the rescue is a rescue, and not a bottom-feeder among bottom-feeders, a cut-rate dog broker out to make a quick two bits on kyootness.


  1. Attention "rescues" in need of puppies: Come on down to the South! We have so many puppies in shelters here we are literally KILLING them for lack of "rescues". Bring your friends!

  2. Ugh. Even though there aren't the puppy mills down here in Cbus, we have plenty of BYB looking to make a buck...the Sunday pet section in the ads are almost a full page around certain holidays. The only one that really strikes me as an OBVIOUS miller is the Berlin Pets that advertises ONLY toy breeds and a whole lot of toy mixes. Then there are the repeats I see week after week after week...makes me wonder if they are either breeding over and over again, or if their mastadane pups just aren't worth what they're asking. And then there are the ads by sport dog trainers for AKC GSDs. Riiiight...and sadly, one of those breeders actually looked pretty good back when they had their website.

    On the other hand though, pertaining to rescues, I just wish that more people were more picky about the process they go through to adopt a dog. I can say with certainty that I will never darken the doorstep of any rescue that will refuse to adopt to me because I have an unfenced yard, or I will potentially own an intact dog, move into an apartment, or heaven forbid I use those awful awful training collars. I shouldn't need a million character references, vet references, have someone judge MY house/yard as suitable for THEIR dog with whom they can make random checks after it's paid for and in my home. Don't get me wrong, I understand why some of those rules are in effect...but I'll exercise my freedom of choice and either adopt from a rescue/shelter with a less stringent List O Qualifications, or buy from a reputable breeder. Which is DEFINITELY not going to be from out of the newspaper or from a "USDA-certified" breeder.

  3. As per rescue adoption requirements.

    Rigorous is not the same as inflexible. That cuts both ways.

    As for references, home checks, etc., and growly contracts ...

    Those of us who pour our hearts into dogs in rescue, as well as ethical breeders, have a right to assure ourselves that our hard work will not end with the dog chained to a stump in some asshat's back yard -- or joining the ranks of a sociopath's hoard -- and leave us with no recourse to make it right for that dog.

    A potential adopter has the right to go elsewhere if he doesn't like the contract and the adoption process. Go to Berlin Pets or Guardian Angel Rescue and have at it. But having done so, he loses the right to bitch about a rescue or breeder who didn't perform due diligence in evaluating and placing the dog with the right match, who stops returning phone calls as soon as the check clears, and who may, in fact, be a con artist.

    Another thing that cuts both ways.

  4. phI had a long talk with my vet and we agreed that a bitch that can't conceive should not be "forced" into having a litter just because she is in season. There no benefit, except to the good doctor and the breeder. Under a normal course of events I think that natural breeding shuts down lines with problems.

  5. HTTrainer, I agree.

    The only reason I would use an AI is to have access to a stud from far away (or a deceased one whose swimmers were frozen) for a bitch who had already raised a litter that was conceived naturally.

    That said, I've done one long road trip and one transcontinental flight to get natural cover, because I don't believe in breeding dogs who don't believe in breeding.

    Reproductive technology should enhance the project of breed conservation, not become a means of perpetuating what Nature does not wish to continue.

  6. Below is a copy of a post I sent to an email list in response to an article about the AKC now allowing mixed breeds to compete:

    Which I think is just swell.

    I used to do homecare for a little girl who lived with her mother in a small trailer on the grandparents' farm. Grandma had a bunch of little hairy mixed breed bitches and a Peke stud dog and bred every bitch every season, selling adorable little hairy puppies for $200 apiece as a cash crop. This was back in the day when I was convinced I could breed the greatest line of Dual Purpose Labradors to hit the ground since Mary Roslin Williams'. The whole situation caused me great psychic pain, but I digress.

    There once was one tiny little hairy bitch pup who was bright and animated and interactive and confident and ready to go out and meet the world. She was also REALLY stinkin' cute. Had she been eligible for AKC obedience competition, I would have forked over the cash. A good dog is, as Tony Ancheta (at least) once said, "A good dog is where you find him/her."

    This willingness to let the mixed breeds compete is a benefit to shelter and rescue dogs but also to those Amish and others who have ads in the paper every Sunday offering for cash just about every conceivable combination of small, hairy dogs. And to the 'Doodle breeders who now have one more way to convince the buyers that the AKC is just on the verge of accepting them as a pure breed. Assuming the main market for these pups is at all interested in performance sports. If not, and I suspect not, it's just the occasional weirdo like me to whom it would make any difference.
    I don't believe the issue is entirely cut and dried. If these dogs are good dogs, worthy of being given a home when taken from a "reputable" rescue, why should they be denied that coming out of the primary source? I'm not sure me taking a stand and refusing to support "puppy mills" or "pet shops" etc in an effort to make a statement to the source is necessarily good for the dogs.

  7. Well, Eleanor, I choose not to fund the seven or eight years of torture that the "good dog's" dam gets to enjoy, in that 30"x48" cage that she never leaves. Kind of like not buying a blood diamond, even if it's rilly rilly pritty.

    Because if no one bought them, no one would treat broodstock that way.

    A good dog may, indeed, be where you find him. They found Cole starving in a pile of shit under the floor of the trailer when they seized him and and his relatives. But everyone's motto is not "I got mine, bitch." I, for one, give a rat's ass about my dogs' parents.

    Two and a half feet by four feet. Wire floor. Their entire fecking lives. Not acceptable.

    As for the "rescues," they are merely lying to people for profit. Lying about the provenance of the puppies, and lying about being a "rescue." They are retailers, or possibly brokers.

    If it's not okay for the HSUS to tell a quite similar lie, why is it okay for Joe's Puppy Rescue and Storm Door Company?

  8. Heather, I'm in complete agreement that the squalid conditions, even if "just" the extreme confinement, are not acceptable. I kept up my reading of the rescue on the English Shepherd website and thru conversations with a friend. I offered what little financial support I could. Unfortunately, "my" breed, while not a "puppy mill" breed, has more than its share of rescue opportunities, and one's dollars only go so far.

    Still, with all that went on, if I'd have walked into that ES Hell Hole and seen a puppy that I really felt was the right dog for me, I'd have done what I needed to do to get him, and get him out of there. If writing the breeder a check was what was needed, I'd have done it. I still believe that removal from those circumstances as quickly as possible is best for the dog, and I can live with putting that first.

    You guys did some amazing work out there, but I'm not going to leave the right dog for me in a less than ideal situation to make a point on a principle that will ultimately make no difference.

    In whatever slight defense of "Grandma" that is appropriate, her dogs did live in the house and get to run along with her on her errands on the farm. They were not living their lives in cages or in filth.

    As to caring who my dogs' parents are, well... for their purposes, I'll put my dogs' pedigrees up against anyone's. One of my points, however, was that IF a dog is a "good dog" through a good rescue, he is just as good a dog from any other source and probably better served by being removed from the "bad" source in any way necessary.

    The other point was that as much as I am happy to see the AKC allow mixed breeds in competition, at least in one instance, it would have "made" a sale of a less than ideally bred dog thus potentially expanding the market for those breeders. My guess, though is that most YorkiePoo or Teddy Bear buyers don't care about whether they can compete in AKC obedience, so while it could potentially support the breeders of those designer dogs, it's probably not a significant detrimental effect.

  9. As to caring who my dogs' parents are, well... for their purposes, I'll put my dogs' pedigrees up against anyone's.

    Eleanor, I said I care about my dogs' parents. Not about "who they are."

    I care that I am not enjoying "the right dog for me" at the expense of his parents -- and their ultimate successors -- living lives of cold misery as machines for the production of profitable widgets.

    I'm glad that Kristen, the Force of Nature who finally put an end to Kapsa's charnel house, did what she did.

    She told me about a pup she saw Kapsa fling, bleeding from a bad needle stick, into a pen of other puppies, who immediately jumped him.

    How hard was it not to just throw a few hundred bucks at the perpetrator and take the puppy and run -- "saving" him?

    Probably about as hard as it was to hound the authorities for months to enforce the law so that sort of thing would not keep happening.

    We have no idea what happened to that pup. Of course I hope, for his sake, that he was sold. Maybe he was one of the terrified adolescents at ONB, now in a caring home. Maybe he was one of the frozen corpses on the manure pile. Maybe he was eaten by his relatives. We don't know what happened to that puppy, but we know what happened to scores of other pups -- pups who were born into a scene from Hieronymous Bosch only because some people provided their abuser with money to keep going.

    There are a lot of justifications and mental circus tricks that people use to justify paying an animal abuser to keep abusing animals. I reject all of them.

  10. "How hard was it not to just throw a few hundred bucks at the perpetrator and take the puppy and run -- "saving" him?"

    For me, it would have been impossible. I may just be a die-hard One Starfish person. I, too, am glad that Kristin is force of nature enough to clear the whole beach.

    I'm not sure how it can be hoped that for his sake, he was purchased and then have his purchase rejected as justification and mental circus tricks.

    It may be that both puchasing him to save him and hounding the authorities were mutually exlusive, but the reason isn't immediately clear to me.

    I think it's a complicated issue, perhaps impossible to reduce to black and white.

    I deeply respect you as a dogwoman, as a person of deep passion and principles, and for the work you did on this particular mission. It had to be beyond horrendous.

  11. I'm not sure how it can be hoped that for his sake, he was purchased and then have his purchase rejected as justification and mental circus tricks.

    The truth is, even "hoping for his sake" that he was sold is ethically indefensible. It is purely an indulgence in sentiment that is at best amoral, and presents a serious danger of leading one into sanctimonious self-indulgence.

    What makes that one puppy more important and worthy of our concern than the pen-full of other pups who pounced on him? Than his parents? Than the unborn ones incubating in the bitches hiding under old cars? Than the scores that were conceived after the criminal complaint?

    Of course it's sentiment that drives any effort to save some in a situation where one cannot save them all. Looking at that globally, while hundreds of people worked like rented mules to save a couple hundred abused dogs, many thousands of other dogs -- most of them much more suitable pets -- were killed elsewhere.

    The difference is, saving one set of dogs is not what put the other set of dogs in danger. The dogs killed in the Billings animal shelter, or in the Atlanta dog pound, or shot by an ACO in Alaska, did not die because people devoted themselves to saving a bunch of puppymill survivors in Montana.

    Handing money to a puppymiller ensures the creation and abuse of more victims. It is the demand side of the market.

    Handing money to a "rescue" that advertises that it buys puppies for about the same price offered by a pet shop broker is no different, despite the cognitive and emotional laundering. At least the first ad gives lip service to spaying the mother. (This can be a requirement dictated by legitimate rescue groups who agree to take an unwanted litter, or a pups from deliberately-bred litter that go unsold. It's a stopgap against enabling.) Do you imagine that someone who sells a litter of mongrels to a "rescue" for $500 won't be inviting over the neighbor's dog next time Sadie comes in heat, and making a phone call a few months later in anticipation of another windfall?

    Kapsa is a poor example, in fact, as there is no evidence that by summer 2008 she could have stopped puppy production, even if she was capable of processing the concept of "lack of demand."

    The dogs that will be living in those cages -- manufactured by the poobah of the Ohio "dog breeders'" association -- are much more tied to a microeconomics that is recognizable as "rational."

    Stop demand, stop supply, stop the machines of production. Convert those cages to rabbit runs.

  12. We quit using bleach in the kennel a while back, but after reading this post admit that Clorox is definitely called for.

    Keep the water running....

  13. "Handing money to a puppymiller ensures the creation and abuse of more victims. It is the demand side of the market."

    I've felt this way too.

    You only rescue when it's legit, not when there's an emotional need.

    If the money goes toward helping other dogs/animals in similar situations and finding them good homes, it's legit.

    If the money goes into someone's pocket for the perpetuation of the same ol', then there's something amiss.

    One does not rescue a puppy from the evils of a pet store, where the worst things are probably substandard medical care, living on wire and being kept in a confined space. One does not rescue an animal from a place that pays money to take them in who is not a 501(c)3. (On a similar note, I stumbled across this place and was notably disturbed for reasons I can't quite put into words...but hello warning bells!)

  14. "One does not rescue a puppy from the evils of a pet store, where the worst things are probably substandard medical care, living on wire and being kept in a confined space."

    True. What you're "rescuing" this puppy from is a deprivation of socialization, exposure, and early learning that may have future impact on his suitability as a pet.

    "One does not rescue an animal from a place that pays money to take them in who is not a 501(c)3."

    One does not "rescue" a dog from a 501(c)3, either. If you go to Montana and find dogs living in excrement under a trailer, you're rescuing them. If a local pound calls you at 4:30 and says they're euthanizing a dog at 5:00 if you can't take him, you're rescuing him.

    If he's living in a foster home, on the sofa, playing with the kids and other dogs, eating fine food at regular meals, you're purchasing him. Even from a 501(c)3.

    I did rescue on my own until local dog limit numbers stopped it. Never did become a 501(c)3. The vast majority of the dogs came from those last minute calls from the pound. At first, I'd place the dogs I'd rehabbed in permananent homes for free. Eventually I started charging $200 to recoup some of the expenses.

    Not a "real" rescue? OK. But there are 70+ dogs out there in permanent loving homes, each trained through Novice and declared by their owners as being "the best dog we've ever had!", who would have otherwise not gotten that chance. I'll put the quality of my foster dogs' up against most formal rescues. If that's an illegitimate operation I was running, for lack of a tax status, I can live with that.

    These issues are really not as cut and dried as people would have you believe.

  15. An interesting - and heart-wrenching - discussion, but I want to go back to an earlier comment.

    First some background - when I was young and naive (or ignorant - take your pick) and dinosaurs were still the main source of animal protein I didn't know any better than to look in a newspaper when I decided I wanted a purebred dog. And I didn't know how lucky I was that the crusty older woman (who was incidentally chastised by her local kennel club buddies) who advertised in the local paper was one of the top breeders of obedience-capable rough collies in a three state area.

    How are people who don't know how to find a reputable breeder going to find them if they don't advertise on the internet or in the paper etc. etc? It is still the buyers responsibility to do their homework. And the litter owner's responsibility to do theirs. But "responsible" breeders are not only not letting these people into the clubhouse - they're not even letting them know there's a club.

    Advertising a litter in the paper should not be an automatic red flag. That it is, is yet another AR-generated social stigma.

  16. Bealsie --

    "AR-generated stigma?"

    Uh, no.

    That one comes directly from the show-dog set, the show-dog snobs if you will. Credit where credit is due. You say so yourself in your own account. And it significantly predates the modern animal rights movement.

    I don't think advertising is uncouth or unethical.

    But the content of the ads, and sometimes their venue, gives anything from a strong hint to a slam-dunk about how much care has been taken in the breeding and raising of the pups, and how much care will be taken in their placement -- much less lifelong support.

    Individual breeders who ALWAYS have an ad or ads running for pups -- that sets off my bells.

    This is a bit of a straw man. There are very few breeders who don't at least have a free website.

    If you are selling all the pups you care to produce, to the kind of people who are best matched with them, without advertising, then I don't see how you have an obligation to advertise.

  17. Welcome to my nightmare, Heather.


    Under the new regulations of the CFIA (which controls imports of dogs into Canada, at least if the importer is a breeder, and even if a 'one litter every five years' hobby breeder), the ONLY acceptable source to import puppies from the US is a USDA licensed breeder.

    The contact Veterinarian at the CFIA that I interviewed actually said that this is because "We (the CFIA) know that are inspected and meet health regulations". Unlike, say, all of those horrid hobby breeders who let their puppies romp all over the living room.

    We're down the rabbit hole here, and the only viable answer (smuggle, forge paperwork, import in a friends name?) are all federal offenses.

    In a time when countries are calling for more infusions of outcross blood, Canada has effectively just shut its borders to any chance of increasing genetic diversity, at least from stateside bred dogs.

    I'm going to blog this, and your post is the main source I'm going to use to try to convince more people of how insane this all is.

  18. "AR-generated stigma?"

    Uh, no.

    You're right. I stand corrected. But the ARs have included it in their list of what makes a "responsible breeder".

    "Obligation to advertise" - no. No obligation. But if you do advertise it is an opportunity to educate. Whether you have puppies or not.

    I think according to AKC rules for clubs that AKC clubs are supposed to advertise at least once a year so as to suck people in and refer them to "reputable" breeders. I'm not sure that does much in the way of educating the non-"fancy", just-want-a-nice-dog, public in how to go about finding one though. And all the "information" about how to identify a puppy mill just makes those not in the know even more confused.

    I had no idea that answering a newspaper ad was not the way to go about finding a nice collie. I was lucky in the breeder I found. And I knew how to pick a puppy that was right for my family (I left a fair number of "home-bred" GSDs where I found them back in those days - much to the distress of my kids). But few people have even that much savvy.

    I don't know what the answer is. The information is certainly out there. I've gotten so that when a new-to-dogs person contacts me about a puppy, if they don't read all the stuff I tell them to and contact the local people I find for them, I don't take their money. Even dumbed-down show-bred (did I say that out loud?) aussies are not for the faint of heart - or for the easily manipulated!

  19. Oh, and we've been seeing the 'faux rescues' in Frenchies and Bulldogs for years.

    They get to dump their used up mill breeders, all at a higher price than they'd fetch at auction, and with NO health guarantee.

    They make me sick....

  20. I think according to AKC rules for clubs that AKC clubs are supposed to advertise at least once a year so as to suck people in and refer them to "reputable" breeders.

    'Suck people in'?

    Running a club ad in the newspaper is hardly some kind of advertising ploy. I've run them, and I've been the one who answers the phone calls. I've helped people who have sick dogs, answered temperament questions, steered people on to other breeds if ours doesn't seem right for them, and gritted my teeth while people ask where they can get a cheap pup for a surprise birthday present.

    We tell them the good, the bad and terrible.

    It's a public service that we do because we LOVE our breeds, and want to make sure the people who buy them do so as educated consumers, with the tools they need to make educated purchases.

    If that's 'sucking people in', then just call me a freakin' vacuum.

  21. Under the new regulations of the CFIA (which controls imports of dogs into Canada, at least if the importer is a breeder, and even if a 'one litter every five years' hobby breeder), the ONLY acceptable source to import puppies from the US is a USDA licensed breeder.

    Oh crap, Carol.

    I left a comment on your post; didn't notice that it was half a year old at first.

    Make sure to refer people to the full report on the USDA inspection process.

    I don't know why this meme is such a hard one to get rolling:

    "USDA-licensed IS a puppymill. EVERY TIME."


    I'm noticing a logical disconnect here. I got confused. Are they a "rescue" or a breeder?

  23. 'Suck people in'?

    Sorry - that was a little harsh. My only excuse is an incredibly bad day at work.

    As I said, I don't know what the answer is. The AKC requirement for clubs to do a little advertising for a minimal time period each year doesn't even make it up to a drop in the bucket.

    All the news reports and exposes etc. etc. about puppy mills for YEARS has made no difference to the buying public. It seems like they either don't believe puppy mills exist or they think anyone who has an intact dog is a puppy mill.

  24. I can only speak with any reasonable knowledge about show Labrador breeders, but I do know there are some who advertise regularly in their local papers, even if they don't currently have litters available, to get people to call them so they can do some education.

    Yes, this does often lead to the callers getting on the breeders' waiting lists. If it hooks up reputable breeders with good pups with appropriate homes, so be it.

    There is enough stigma in the "show" breeder world, however, that those who do this and offer that information publicly are few. The official party line, of course, is that you shouldn't breed a litter unless you have "x" number of people on your waiting list already.

  25. By the way, I just got around to reading that little document...OH WOW. Thanks for posting it, and definitely more people in the right places need to be reading this!

    There are simply no words to describe the sheer incompetence of some of those inspectors, and by association, the USDA. I have no kind words for puppy mills as it is, but these people are FAILING on basic animal care, and the owners who are making money off them are in no better position because hell, they're the ones MAKING the dogs live the way they do!

    Some of those other pictures were just gross as does one not suffocate with that much urine and feces in an enclosed area?

  26. I'm currently working with the Better Business Bureau to investigate the "Heaven to Earth Rescue" and their illegitimate side business "AA1 Rescue"- any chance you have any info you'd be willing to share like links to info about AA1, or anything tying them together? If so, I can be reached at


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