Last Thursday the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came out with their “Horrible Hundred” – one hundred puppy mills it feels need closer scrutiny by state and federal authorities (“A Horrible Hundred: 100 Problem Puppy Mills“).
These are not necessarily the worst puppy mills in the country, but they are indicative of many puppy mills who provide inadequate and substandard care. Most of these facilities have been repeatedly cited by federal and local officials and have at least 100 dogs or more, including one in Minnesota with 1,100 dogs. Yes. 1,100 breeding dogs.
Many, if not all, of these facilities sell their dogs at pet stores (and over the internet) all across the country. One of the four puppy mills listed for Minnesota has been found to have sold dogs in pet stores in Michigan, Chicago, Ohio and California.
Want to see if any from your state are listed? Go here.
You can read a more detailed report on each of these mills here.
So which puppy mills were on the list from Minnesota?
Carole and Larry Harries/ Harries K-9 Ranch – Alpha, MN
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) investigated the Harries back in 2007 and called out issues with the wire mesh flooring, which allowed the dogs legs to slip through. They also documented dirty kennels, dirty water dishes, matted fur on several dogs, feces build up and up to 5 dogs per kennel in several kennels.
Apparently, not much has changed since 2007. In February 2013, the Harries were cited for a repeat violation by USDA inspectors for several dogs in need of veterinary care, including a shih tzu whose teeth were so rotted that the inspector could see the roots of her teeth, and two dogs with excessive matting around the tail with feces matted into the fur.
Ted Johnson / Funtime Kennels – Windom, MN
Ted appears to have a revolving door policy when it comes to his USDA licenses, often letting them lapse and then reapplying (maybe he couldn’t make it just selling over the internet or just trying to hide his business from people like me?). He has also had multiple violations at his kenneling facility.
Back in 2011, he was cited for failure to establish and maintain adequate veterinary care as is seen in this USDA inspection report.
In April 2013, USDA inspectors found two Maltese dogs his kennel that had such severe dental disease that they had lost most of their teeth. One of the dogs had only two teeth left, and one of her remaining two teeth “was loose and moved easily when touched.” The dog was seen “excessively licking its mouth with its tongue hanging out of its mouth most of the time,” according to the inspector. The USDA also noted that the ammonia (urine) smell in the facility “was strong enough to make the inspector’s eyes burn.”
John & Lyle Renner/ Renner’s Kennel – Detroit Lakes, MN
Renner’s Kennels have been cited multiple times for violations. This is one from 2004:
“One kennel that houses three golden retrievers (199, 176, 175) has an area of kennel wire that has turned inside the cage and the ends are poking out towards the dogs in the cage. Another kennel housing three huskies (238, 184, ?) has a pipe end that protrudes to the inside of the kennel that appears that the end of the pipe is sharp and may cause injury to the dogs.”
The most recent set of violations were received in January 2013, when they were “fined more than $5,000 by the USDA for repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act regulations.” Previous violations documented on USDA inspection reports include “dogs kept in small cages without the minimum required space; lack of proper cleaning and sanitization, violations for dogs needing vet care, including a husky who could not bear weight on his leg, a dog with a missing eye and discharge, dogs with swollen/oozing paws (common in puppy mills with wire flooring), dogs without adequate protection from extreme temperatures, strong odors and accumulations of feces.”
Wanda Kretzman / Clearwater Kennel Inc. – Cushing, MN (has 1,124 dogs as of February 2013)
According to Animal Folks MN, Wanda’s facility is THE LARGEST BREEDER/BROKER in MINNESOTA. She has over 1100 dogs and multiple violations covering several years, including violations for incomplete records, wire mesh floors that allow dogs’ feet to go through, not enough floor or head space in pens, and buildup of feces under kennels and in outdoor pens in 2006 (St Cloud Times, Mar 3, 2007) and violations in 2012 for seven dogs with bloody, inflamed and/or swollen feet, likely from straddling the painful wire flooring (HSUS, 100 Puppy Mills Report, May 2013).
Wanda’s puppy mill puppies have been sold in California, Chicago, Michigan and at dog auctions in Ohio. In an undercover video from the January 15, 2011 Farmerstown Dog Auction in Ohio, over 300 of the 504 dogs sold were from Clearwater Kennels (see the video below to learn more about dog auctions).
It’s hard not to see how this puppy mill ended up on the list is it?
Don’t see your state on the list? Chances are you will on a previous year’s report. HSUS has been highlighting some of these awful puppy mills for seven years now.
Want to stop puppy mills?
- Share with your friends. Pick just one person and educate them on where pet store and internet puppies come from and then ask them to share with just one friend. Spread the word.
- Send one tweet about puppy mills today.
- Post one story on Facebook today about puppy mills and let people know where pet store and internet puppies come from.
- Don’t buy puppies from pet stores or over the internet. Many puppy mills are turning to the internet to sell their dogs now because they are not required to have a USDA license nor are they subject to inspection.
- Get active. Write your legislator and ask him/her to support a law to tighten the standards of care for puppy mills.
Recently a friend shared the news that one of her dogs had tested positive for Lymes disease. She was completely devastated and felt awful that her dog had gotten it in the first place. I immediately felt the need to respond and reassure her. Why? Because one of my dogs had/has Lymes disease too.
Jasper was diagnosed with Lymes disease a few years ago. Although, I caught it fairly early, I was still devastated to know that he had gotten it in the first place. Had I missed a Frontline treatment>? Had I missed a day. I was pretty sure I had given all my dogs regular treatment, but somehow a tick had still gotten past it. Thankfully, Jasper was easily treated with antibiotics, but unfortunately it also left him with occasional flare ups. Something I still awful about.
When my friend shared her story, I expected to be the only one admitting that my dog also had also gotten Lymes. Instead, I was surprised to discover that not only was I not alone, but I was not even one among two or three friends. My jaw dropped open as friend after friend admitted that their dog(s) had also gotten Lymes.
To say I was shocked would be an understatement. It never occurred to me that so many people I knew would have dogs who at one time had had Lymes disease too. All this time I had kept my own sense of failure to myself, thinking I had somehow failed my dog, but as it turns out I was not even close to alone. The question is why? Are we all negligent owners? I find that hard to believe. Some people are more diligent than others in applying some sort of protection on their dogs. So, how is it possible that so many of us had dogs who had at one time had Lymes?
Maybe this story on a new study holds some answers: When Dogs Are Most Likely to Pick Up Ticks.
I encourage you to read the full story, but here is a brief synopsis of what was in the piece:
- Dogs are much more likely to pick up ticks when the temperatures rise.
- There are three species of ticks that are most common and each tends to flourish at different times of the year.
- Although the precise species of tick may vary with the seasons, dog owners need to pay attention to the possibility of ticks throughout the year, especially from March until November.
- Scientists discovered that the number of ticks per day on animals treated with an acaricide, either alone or together with a repellent, was not significantly lower than on untreated animals. Worryingly, the ticks were still capable of causing disease.
- Of the 90 dogs in the study, researcher Michael Leschnik was able to show that over half of them became infected with one or more of the pathogens during the study period. The chance of being infected did not seem to be reduced by the use of an acaricide.
- However, the researcher did mention that “the poor performance of the drugs in our study may relate to low owner compliance: many owners only applied the spot-on drugs after finding ticks and they did not use the drugs often enough. The efficiency is much higher under laboratory conditions, so we should try to raise the owners’ awareness of how to apply the products correctly.”
- Unlike on humans, where ticks tend to crawl to a warm and protected place and feed, on dogs ticks tended to largely confine themselves to a dog’s head, shoulder and chest, most likely latching on where they first arrived.
So is Jasper’s Lymes disease a result of my negligence? Or, were his chances of getting it just as likely as any other dog? I suppose I will never really know, but seeing this study, and knowing how many people I know with dogs who at one time had Lymes disease, makes me wonder. Maybe Frontline isn’t enough. Maybe checking each and every time we return from the park or from a walk is the only way to be certain. It certainly has me thinking.
What has become one of my favorite events of the year was held this past weekend – the annual Minnesota Sheltie Rescue Reunion. What a day!
Adopted Shelties came from far and wide to spend their Saturday afternoon with us (one group even came down from Fargo, ND!). It was so wonderful to see so many of the Shelties that have been adopted this past year, and in years past. I loved seeing some of the same people I had first met in the adoption process now with their new dogs and looking so happy.
The attendance was amazing this year. Probably one of the largest attendance crowds ever!
The day was chock full of things to do, including Sheltie games where dogs and owners could compete for prizes in the shell game, peanut butter lick off contest, pooch a smooth, egg walk and agility activities. Attendees could also get their professional pictures done, Ask the Trainer a training question, get a massage for their doggie and Speak with an Animal Communicator. There was an auction with some pretty awesome items up for bidding (I nabbed the cutest Sheltie flag on a pole that can be stuck in my garden.) and people could purchase fun games for their pups from Dog Prodigy and homemade jerky treats from Four Paws Gourmet or find out more about Top Dog Country Club, our sponsor for the event.
But the highlight of the day was the Sheltie Parade. So many Shelties took the walk with their new families. It was great to see them so happy. I saw a lot of pride and joy on Saturday as Shelties pranced alongside their owners.
I thought I would share just a few highlights of the day with you. I have to give full credit to my friend Cindy Dahl Smith for the majority of these pictures. I forgot my camera and all I had was my iPhone (all the fuzzy pictures are mine). Thanks Cindy!
For those of you who follow me on my Facebook page or follow the Lost Shelties MN page, you already know the good news. Sunny, the Sheltie lost in Maple Grove, Minnesota, is now safely home in Ohio. After 96 days and 23 miles, he was reunited with his dad on Friday evening. It was a very special moment and one I am sure Sunny’s dad and family won’t forget.
For those of you who don’t know the story, I think you will find this worth reading. It is a good example of how important it is to get the word out… AND just how to do it.
Before I share Sunny’s story from beginning to end (My thanks to Cindy from Lost Shelties MN and Mary McTie for letting me share this!), I would like to thank all of the people who helped in his successful return. I would love to name each and every one of you here, but there were so many of you that I am afraid I would forget someone!
Instead, let me just share some of the things you did to bring Sunny home:
- Offered support to Sunny’s family and coordinated the handing out of flyers (including updating the flyer map on numerous occasions so we knew where to go next).
- Updated the missing dog flyers so the latest information could be handed out in neighborhoods and posted in store windows.
- Placed, checked and moved traps in the frigid cold and deep snow – more times than we even know. (Trust me when I say this is hard work.)
- Managed the incoming calls with sightings of Sunny and handled inquiries from the general public (both on Facebook and over the phone).
- Made calls to local shelters, police departments and city managers in cities where Sunny was sighted.
- Monitored all the places that help lost dogs – AHS website, Lost Dogs – MN, Craigslist, in case Sunny was brought in as a stray.
- Called radio stations to ask them to ask the public to keep an eye out for Sunny.
- Handed out flyers over and over and over again – and then did it once again (many times in frigid cold).
- Contacted local newspapers and online news media outlets to alert them to Sunny’s story and the search for him.
- Placed ads in newspapers and posted info on Craigslist.
- Made signs to be placed in areas he was sighted.
- Kept all of the volunteers motivated week after week after week (you know who you are!).
- Shared Sunny’s picture and story on Facebook and asked friends to share.
- Prayed, sent good thoughts and hoped that Sunny would be reunited with his family.
- Called and reported each and every sighting, no matter when that sighting occurred.
A very special thanks to Patti and her husband for reporting that one final set of sightings that brought Sunny home and to Cindy from Lost Shelties MN who handled so much more than we know with absolute grace and charm.
So, without further ado, here is Sunny’s story as it was shared on the Lost Shelties MN Facebook page in Sunday. It still brings tears to my eyes.
Hi Everyone…This is long…I apologize…but it’s been a long journey for Sunny, his family and the rest of us. This is a story worth telling. Thank you all for EVERYTHING you have done to help this precious boy. A lot of hard work by all…but so very rewarding. Grab some coffee and enjoy. And please share this also, as I’m sure through the 96 days that Sunny was gone, there were a lot of people who have seen your likes & shares. Thank you…from the bottom of my heart.
(First, how Sunny was finally caught.) On March 20th, Sunny’s owner called to tell us he got a call from a lady who had seen Sunny. Her name is Patti and she lives in Vadnais Heights. Patti feeds stray cats and she and her husband have a live feed video camera near the bowls. They started to see a Sheltie come around about 11pm, he had been eating at the bowls at least eight times in the last week and a half. Patti checked Craigslist and was sure that dog was Sunny. We were cautiously optimistic. Almost 23 miles (via Interstate 694) from where Sunny went missing on Christmas Eve. If this was Sunny…he was heading for Ohio!
Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) volunteers brought a live trap over that night. Patti had a huge bowl of cut up hot dogs, another big bowl of chicken, along with cat kibble and a heated bowl for milk. We set up the trap with the chicken and hot dogs inside. We left the kibble and milk outside – usually we don’t want to leave food outside the trap but a big tomcat was watching the whole time and we figured we would probably catch him multiple times if we didn’t leave something out for him.
The first night, Patti’s husband stayed up til 2 a.m. watching the video…no dog! We set up a motion-activated camera. We thought if we at least saw him come around again, then we would put the word out for flyers in the area. But the dog stopped coming by (or at least he did not appear on the love camera or when anyone was watching the live feed). More days passed and no dog. We started thinking it must have been a neighbor dog, who was sometimes let out to stroll late at night. It started to seem like nothing was going to happen here.
March 28th – Patti called to say they caught a raccoon in the trap! Not good, but there’s always the thought that you have to catch something else before you catch the dog.
6:30 a.m. on March 29th – Patti calls to say they have the dog in the trap! What dog…must be a neighbor dog…some other dog that needs our help? Could it possibly be Sunny? Patti and her husband knew not to open the trap but they offered to bring it inside their garage until our volunteer Pat (another MNSR volunteer) could get there.
Pat and her granddaughter arrived, along with Sunny’s owners’ in-laws. The markings looked right, the size looked right, but there was that tiny bit of doubt that it was another Sheltie that looked a lot like Sunny. The dog sort of wagged his tail at the father-in-law. He was matted and full of burrs, but otherwise didn’t look too bad. They sent pictures to Sunny’s owner in Ohio, and he was on the road by mid-morning.
Sunny went to Karen’s for the day. Pat’s granddaughter spent some time picking burrs out of his coat and he was amazingly relaxed. He got a good nap for the rest of the morning.
At noon on Friday, March 29th, Sunny went to MNSR’s vet, he was checked out and overall opinion was that he is in pretty good shape (blood work results will take a day or two), not thin but obviously he was tired.
Sunny had to meet some more MNSR volunteers later in the afternoon, and he was quite calm for that too. He didn’t approach us, but he didn’t hide or cower. Maybe still somewhat in shock and maybe relief that he didn’t have to run anymore.
Friday evening about 7:00 p.m., Sunny’s owner, Dick, arrives at Karen’s. Sunny looked at him, walked over and sniffed him, and then his tail started to wag a little. He never left Dick after that. Dick sat on the step and talked and Sunny looked at him and listened. Dick would say familiar words and his ears would perk up. He relaxed and laid down at his feet for a while. We could tell that all was well in Sunny’s world again.
Sunny left Karen’s equipped with a Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR collar), a harness and was double leashed! After all that, Dick carried him out to the car anyway. Sunny and Dick are driving back to Ohio Saturday morning and should be back home by evening. (Update: Sunny is now home and his overall blood work was good.)
Thank you to everyone who helped in this 96 day search to get Sunny back home. The flyers, the Craigslist ads, the Maple Grove Patch and the City of Brooklyn Park, the sharing on Facebook, twitter and other social media. Thank you to Patti and her husband for feeding such good food to stray cats and a lost Sheltie from Ohio.
Sunny – you captured our hearts. Safe travels home, Sunny and Dick!
* * * * * *
Chronology of the search for Sunny
December 24 – Sunny, a Sheltie visiting with his family from Ohio, goes missing.
December 26th – Volunteers hit the streets of Maple Grove flyering the neighborhoods.
January 5th – Sunny sighting south of 85th, by Fleet Farm. Other Sunny sightings. (Major snowstorm January 4th.)
January 13th – Sunny sighting on the west side of the Coon Rapids Dam. Volunteers look on both sides of the dam, the area is heavily flyered.
January 15th – Three Rivers Park (Coon Rapids) police report seeing Sunny near West River Road and chase him into the park. MNSR live traps are set, something is eating the food out of the traps, but nothing is ever caught.
Mid- January – We get a couple reports of a Sheltie near highway 610 and also in Coon Rapids. (Temps the week of January 21st ranged from -30 to -20 degrees with -30 to -40 degree windchill.)
January 26th – A Sheltie is reported in Ham Lake near Constance and Urbank. Volunteers place signs in the area. The traps at the dam are still being checked.
Early February – We start to get multiple sightings in Blaine. Volunteers flyer the Blaine neighborhoods. People see us posting signs and tell us they got the flyer and are watching.
February 13th – Sighting back in Brooklyn Park at 104th and Douglas Drive. Volunteers are back distributing flyers in that neighborhood.
February 14th – 16th – Multiple reports of a Sheltie near Bunker Hills Golf Course. Volunteers flyer a large area in Blaine and Coon Rapids.
February 18th – A woman in Blaine catches the Sheltie in a garage. He is extremely underweight, tired and scared. He’s not Sunny, but he definitely needed us.
February 24th – A man calls to say he saw a flyer but that he saw the dog laying on the side of northbound highway 169. It was at least 2 weeks after he had the sighting. Karen from MNSR drives and walks the area, looking for the dog. Mary goes out March 2 to take one more look before the next big snowstorm. No sign of a dog.
March 11 – Another report of a sighting at 93rd and Noble in Brooklyn Park. Volunteers flyer the area.
March 19th – A sighting in Andover. A live trap is set in the backyard. (Major snowstorm March 18th.)
March 20th – A sighting in Vadnais Heights. A live trap is set next to the house.
March 27th – A report about a dead animal in Blaine. Started thinking the Vadnais Heights dog wasn’t Sunny.
March 28th – A racoon is caught in the Vadnais Heights trap.
March 29th – A dog is in the Vadnais Heights trap. A happy ending to a 96 day search for a lost Sheltie from Ohio.
Two more updates: Rumor has it that Sunny’s story may be featured on the John Williams radio show on WCCO on Monday between 3-6 p.m. and he is once again featured on the Maple Grove Patch (the first time was when he was still missing).
As many of you know, I am quite passionate about closing down puppy mills. Having three former mill dogs of my own has made me want to be more educated on this issue, and in turn, want to educate others.
Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend a rally to support the Breeder Bill currently meandering through the Minnesota State Senate and House of Representatives. House File 84 and Senate File 36 are two versions of the bill that will eventually become one, if they pass through the various committees that are required to review it and pass it on (with or without amendments).
I’m not usually a person who actively goes out and seeks to engage my legislators on any issue. The last time I did so was in college, when I was an idealistic student and unafraid of challenging my elders on issues that were important to me. But this one issue has me more engaged than I ever thought I could be. This year we have a good chance to pass a bill, one that could make a difference for dogs like Daisy, Cupcake and Jasper.
I’m sick of seeing these breeding facilities get away with a slap on the wrist while their dogs sit in small cages, covered in their own feces, and suffering all kinds of abuses. Their vet care is nil and if they do get any care it’s usually by the breeder in the most cruel of circumstances. They would never consider taking a puppy to a vet to get their dew claws removed. No. They would simply do it themselves, pulling the out with a pair of pliers (as Daisy likely had done to her), or leave them to get caught in their wire cages, like the German Shepherd a woman I met at the rally has in her home. Her puppy mill rescue dog’s dew claws dragged on the ground and inhibited his ability to walk. Can you imagine? He came from a Minnesota breeder – WHO IS STILL IN BUSINESS.
Besides all of the stories I heard at the rally, there was one other thing that really struck me in the gut. A picture of the kenneling requirements for a USDA-licensed breeder (BTW – USDA-licensed does not mean they are a responsible breeder). I thought I would include that picture for you to see. Even thought I wrote about this a couple of months ago (Puppy Mills: Do you know what size cage would your dog live in? I do), I think this picture may say so much more than I ever could.
My favorite requirement (sarcasm inferred) is the last one…
“If two or more dogs are housed together, no exercise plan is required. Up to twelve dogs can be housed in the same cage. Each dog must have the minimum of floor space. Interaction between two or more dogs is considered “positive physical contact” and no additional floor space or exercise plan is required.”
That must be how Daisy got all her scars – all that “positive physical contact”. Lucky her.
This is how puppy mill dogs live, and in Minnesota, where 600-1200 dogs living in one breeding facility is more common than not, this is how dogs live every day without any laws to protect them. This has got to change.
It’s why I decided to get involved in something for once. It’s why I am so passionate about this issue. It’s why I will continue to call each and every committee member as the bill goes before them. The time for change is now.
And, if ever I get a the least bit queasy or nervous or afraid to call one more state legislator and ask them to support this bill I have a good reminder why I need to stay on track and see this through…
The tattoo in Daisy’s ear. She was dog #201 in her puppy mill. Need I say more?
The report comprehensively surveys animal protection laws for all U.S. states and territories and then ranks those states and territories based on their laws.
“…the RANKINGS REPORT assesses the strength of each jurisdiction’s animal protection laws by examining over 4,000 pages of statutes. Each jurisdiction receives a raw score based on fifteen different categories of animal protection…”
Of course, I was curious to find out what categories they included in their ranking, and I wanted to know where my state stood amongst the group (Minnesota ranked #14).
I was disappointed to see that the detailed information in the report, like what put each state at that ranking and what they could do better, was confined to only the 5 best and 5 worst states. However, I thought the information was interesting enough to share a summary of their findings. I suspect that if you live in one of these states you already know where they would fall, but it’s still worth sharing. I encourage you to review the full report yourself. It’s quite interesting.
There were 15 categories used to determine a state’s ranking. These covered laws in the following areas:
- General prohibitions
- Mental health evaluations & counseling
- Protective orders
- Cost mitigation & recovery
- Forfeiture and post‐conviction possession
- Non‐animal agency reporting of suspected animal cruelty
- Veterinarian reporting of suspected animal cruelty
- Law enforcement policies
- Sexual assault
- Offender registration
- “Ag gag” legislation (New this year, this ranking takes into account states where laws – propagated by the agriculture lobby – aim to conceal animal abuse, food safety risks, and illegal working conditions from consumers by making it illegal to video record or photograph at agricultural facilities.)
The Best 5 States for animals are:
The Worst 5 states for animals are:
- New Mexico (#46)
- South Dakota (#47)
- Iowa (#48)
- North Dakota (#49)*
- Kentucky (#50)
*I thought it was interesting (but not surprising) to see North Dakota on the “worst” list. I wrote about them late last year after their citizens voted down a law that would have made animal cruelty a felony. It’s kind of hard to see them making the best list with that kind of news isn’t it? By the way, South Dakota has chosen not to make animal cruelty a felony as well. I can’t help but wonder why. Surely the people in these states love animals too. Right?
What was also interesting were the states that improved their ranking by more than 50%:
District of Columbia: 64%
What made their ranking change so significantly? They changed, added laws or strengthened their existing animal protection laws.
Some of the areas in which they made this happen include:
- Expanding the range of protections for animals
- Providing stiffer penalties for offenders
- Strengthening standards of care for animals
- Reporting of animal cruelty cases by veterinarians and other professionals
- Mitigating and recovering costs associated with the care of mistreated animals
- Requiring mental health evaluations and counseling for offenders
- Banning ownership of animals following convictions
- Including animals in domestic violence protective orders
- Prohibiting convicted abusers from gaining employment involving animal contact
- Strengthening provisions on the sale and possession of exotic animals
- Expanding humane officers’ powers to be the same as other peace officers
So where did your state fall on the list? Were you surprised?
Blog the Change is a chance for bloggers to write about something they are passionate about. I am passionate about a lot of animal welfare-related issues, but always at the top of my list are pet adoption and stopping puppy mills. Having adopted two former puppy mill breeding dogs and a former pet store puppy (who also came from a mill), I tend to be a little passionate about this issue.
Is it fate that caused Blog the Change to fall exactly one day after two new breeder bills were introduced in the Minnesota State House and Senate? I prefer to think not.
Yesterday, January 14th, 2013, Minnesota Senate by Senator John Marty (D-66) introduced S.F. 36 and House by Representative John Lesch (D-66B) introduced H.F. 84 . These two files (bills) address inhumane dog and cat breeding (also known as puppy/kitten mills) in Minnesota.
While Minnesota may not have the most puppy mills (Pennsylvania and Missouri claim those infamous positions), we are one of the top states to mass-produced puppies and kitties. We have some of the largest breeding kennels in the nation – many of them housing up to 300, 600 or over 1,000 dogs and puppies in one facility or “puppy mill.” I know of one facility o=in southern MN that has over 600 breeding pairs and only 7 people to care for them. Can you imagine? And yet, under current state law that is perfectly legal.
Clearly, we have a problem in Minnesota and now is the time to take action.
So what can you do?
1. Join me at the rally in support of S.F. 36/H.F. 84, the Minnesota Dog and Cat Breeder Bill on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY. 19, 2013, from 3-4pm at the STATE CAPITOL in ST. PAUL, MN.
2. Ask your vet to sign the online petition to ask our legislators to pass the breeder bills. Our goal is 500 signatures by the end of January!!! Ask your veterinarians, vet techs and vet assistants to sign the petition. The petition has been very effective in the past in garnering legislator attention on this issue. We would like to present a list of 500 signatures or more to our legislators as soon as possible. Please call your vet and ask them to support!
3. Educate your own State Senator and Representative on what goes on in Minnesota breeding facilities. This year there are many new legislators who have not heard from us. So, please, contact them. Even if they are back and heard from you last session, contact them again. The problem did not go away and new bills were introduced. Don’t Know Who Your Legislator is? Go to http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/
Be sure to tell them the bill numbers and authors’ names because conflicting bills may be introduced this session. Support S.F. 36 (authored by Senator John Marty) and H.F. 84 (authored by Representative John Lesch).
4. Learn more about the problem and sign the petition at: www.animalfolksmn.org in support of the breeder bills.
5. Add your name to a list of Minnesotans who want to take action on the legislation to regulate commercial breeders. You can email email@example.com and ask to be added to the database. You will be alerted when you should contact legislators asking them to support these bills.
6. Print out this PDF and share with all your friends and family and ask them to support the Minnesota breeder bill.
Now is the time to take action!
Without your help dogs like Daisy, Cupcake and Jasper will continue to suffer in Minnesota puppy mills. We need your help!
Seattle Dog Spot recently posted a story on their Facebook page (“Auburn Veterinary Hospital refuses to treat dying dog”) that left me shaking my head.
According to Seattle Dog Spot, a vet clinic refused emergency care to a dog that was in anaphylactic shock. after being stung by several bees. The owner, who had rushed his dog to this clinic because it listed itself as an emergency clinic on “prominently posted signs”, was told the vets were “too busy” to care for his dog. Thankfully, the owner was able to get his dog to his own vet and the dog was saved, but I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through the minds of the veterinarians and staff when they denied a dying dog care.
It brought to mind an incident that happened at my veterinarian’s office the last time I was there with Jasper.
We had arrived a little early only to be told, apologetically, that our appointment might be delayed because an emergency situation had come up. A family had come in with their seriously ill dog (if memory serves me right, they suspected the dog had ingested antifreeze while he had been lost) and my vet was trying to stabilize him so he could be transported to the University of Minnesota. Of course, I told the staff I could wait. I was more than willing to give her as much time as she needed. This sick dog needed her attention much more urgently than Jasper did.
A few minutes later, I watched as my vet and the staff carried the dog out to the owner’s waiting car to be transported to the U of M. Then, a few minutes later I watched as my vet and the staff rushed the dog back in the clinic when the dog crashed. I waited as they worked to save his life, but it was not to be. Thankfully, his owners were able to be at his side as he passed.
As I sat there in the office, I could not help but shed a tear for the owners, their dog, and my vet. How awful it must have felt to lose this dog after despite every attempt to save him. How sad it must have been to look into his owner’s eyes and say “I am so sorry.”
Reading the story from the Seattle Dog Spot, made me realize how much I really value my vet and her staff. I already know what awesome people they are, they provide such gentle care to my three fearful dogs, but what this story made me realize is how really fortunate I am to have a vet and staff who puts the dogs’ care first. Was it an inconvenience to me to have to wait while my vet tried to save another dog’s life. NO WAY. Instead, it was an affirmation that she is EXACTLY the kind of vet I would want for my dogs.
I can’t help but wonder how the clients of the Auburn Veterinary Hospital clinic feel today knowing their vet clinic turned away a dog in distress because they were “too busy.”
I am so thankful they are not my vet.
I am writing to you to express my deep disappointment in your company and, in my opinion, it’s clear lack of responsibility and concern for its customers and their pets.
On November 18th, I entered one of your stores with the sole purpose of purchasing some cat food and cat litter for my cat.
As I entered the store, I immediately noticed a colorful display featuring Christmas colors and decorations featuring chicken jerky treats made by Nestle-Purina. The bin containing the treats was huge (approximately 4′ x 4′ x4′) and had large signs posted all over it announcing a sale on the large bags of treats. It was conveniently located right behind the cash registers where people were bound to see it.
I am guessing that many an unsuspecting dog owner has been waiting in line and seen that conveniently placed large bin of treats and made a last-minute purchase for their pet, thinking it would be a nice “special’ treat to give them. Little did they know that in doing so they could be placing their pet’s life in danger. But, you did know, didn’t you?
I am embarrassed to say that I went ahead and got my cat supplies, instead of leaving immediately, and stood in line at the cash register, continuously looking at that bin of chicken jerky treats with disgust and disappointment.
I was so upset I even mentioned it to the cashier, telling her how disappointed I was that Petsmart was promoting a product that had been linked to so many dog illnesses and deaths. What she told me next was either a bald-faced lie or something she made up on her own. She said that the dogs who had gotten sick had only gotten sick because people were feeding them to their pets as meals and not treats. Seriously? Are you kidding me?
I was furious. I told her that she was wrong and that what she said wasn’t true. She didn’t respond any further, but I left your store absolutely fuming. What the hell???
I was so mad that I then posted this on my Facebook page:
“Wow Petsmart. Is that what you’re telling people now? The dogs that died from Chicken Jerky treats died because the owners were feeding them as meals. Really? Nice that you have them in a big sales display by the registers too. On sale. Ugh!!!!!”
I expected to have some of my dog blogging friends to comment on my post, but imagine my surprise when one of my friends mentioned she had been told the very same thing about a month before by another Petsmart employee in another state!
Kind of a strange coincidence don’t you think Petsmart? It makes me wonder… Are you purposely lying to your customers so they will spend money in your store regardless of the danger these treats pose to their pets? Or, are you selling these treats because you have some sort of contract with their maker that you must fulfill? Neither answer is a very good one for your customers is it? If they lose their pet, you still make money. If they lose their pet, the company making the treats still makes money too. But, is it worth losing a customer and their money?
Because you just lost me. You may choose to sell these products for the almighty dollar, but you will never see my dollars gracing your store again. You can choose to be honest with your customers and tell them the truth AND stop selling these treats, OR you can choose to put money before the pets you so actively claim to care about, but you can’t do both. I won’t support a company that tells its customers that the only dogs impacted by these treats were the ones who were fed it as “a meal.” You know it’s not true and so do I.
By the way…
That same day, another friend who also happens to be a pet sitter told me about a dog client who almost died after her client fed them to her dog. Luckily, my friend was aware of the dangers of these treats and alerted her client immediately. The dog spent a week in the care of university veterinarians and almost didn’t make it.
A week later, a friend contacted me because both her dogs were ill. They were throwing up, had diarrhea and were lethargic. My first thought was to ask her if she had given them any of these treats. She had. Imagine her horror at discovering the treats could have killed her cherished companions? Fortunately for her, her dogs recovered, but so many have not.
Your former customer
For Pet Owners:
Canadian Video Exposes the Dangers of Chinese Chicken Jerky Treats (Dog Food Advisor)
FDA Reports 360 Dogs, 1 Cat Dead After Eating Chicken Jerky Treats (NBCBayArea.com)
Dogs Still Dying of Chinese Made Jerky Treats, Enough is Enough (Steve Dale, ChicagoNow)
FDA warns about US-made chicken jerky pet treats (NBCNews.com)