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Posts Tagged ‘AnimalFolksMN’

Blog the Change – Help Fight Minnesota Puppy Mills today!

January 14, 2013 27 comments

Blog the Change
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 stopthesuffering@yahoo.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!

Puppy mills-24 hours

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Favorite Video Friday – Pet Store Puppies

March 16, 2012 10 comments

In keeping with the puppy mill awareness theme this week, I am sharing a video that feels more like a public service announcement than a video meant to shock the mind and heart. I think it does a good job of showing the connection between pet stores and puppy mills. My hope is that you will share it with others (especially Minnesotans) so the message can be spread to those who don’t know.
Despite what most pet stores tell you, 99% OF THE PUPPIES AND KITTIES SOLD IN PET STORES COME FROM PUPPY MILLS.

So how can you help? Choose to do just TWO of the actions below.

1. SIGN the petition supporting dog and cat breeder regulation in Minnesota.

2. TWEET this post to your friends and family and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

3. SHARE this post with your friends and family on Facebook and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

4. ASK your veterinarian and his/her vet techs to sign the petition in support of this bill. Ask them to indicate they are a vet or vet tech in the last box on the petition. (You can also contact Cheryl@animalfolksmn.org and she will mail you the petition forms and literature on the bill.) 217 vets and vet techs have already signed the petition. Let’s double those numbers!

5. SHARE your own story about buying a cat or dog or rescuing a puppy mill dog. I welcome any and all of your stories here, whether inside Minnesota or out, but if from Minnesota please do share it on the AnimalFolksMN site. These will be used to show legislators why there is a need for a law to regulate puppy mills.

6. CONTACT your own Minnesota State Senator and Representative

To find out who represents you, go to: MN District Finder

This link is easy to use. Just type in your address and zip code. It will list who represents you based on where you live. Please contact your State legislators – your MN House Representative and your MN Senator. Click on their names and you will be linked to their phone number, email and address.

NOTE: In addition to the bills’ authors, some legislators have already expressed their support publicly by co-authoring the bills. To find out if your legislator is a co-author, go to: Authors and Co-Authors

7. CONTACT Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The bill must first pass through legislative committees and be voted on by the full House and Senate before it reaches the Governor to be signed into law. But we need the Governor to hear your voice now. Please contact Governor Mark Dayton and ask that he support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Fax: 651-797-1850
Email contact form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.

WHAT TO WRITE:

If you call, you’ll most likely reach voicemail or speak with an aide or assistant. Just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Keep it short and respectful.

NOTE: S.F. 462 is the bill in the Senate. H.F. 702 is the bill in the House.

Example for Senator:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Senator ________________ (name) support S.F. 462, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. Thank you.”

Example for Representative:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Representative ________________ (name) support H.F. 702, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. Thank you.

Example for Governor:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a Minnesota resident and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that Governor Mark Dayton support S.F. 462, authored by Senator Goodwin, and H.F. 702, authored by Representative Lesch. These bills will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. Thank you.”

For more information on this bill go to AnimalFolksMN.

Dog for Sale -Yes. I Walked Away

March 14, 2012 38 comments

I don’t tell this story to many people, partly because it’s not something I would share in a normal conversation, but mostly because I have such conflicting emotions about the choice I made.

It happened several years ago, shortly after my Sheltie, Alicia, had died at the ripe old age of fifteen. My family and I had been talking about getting another Sheltie for a while, when I saw an ad in the paper offering Shelties for sale. We had loved Alicia so much. She had had such a great little personality. We wanted another dog like her to fill the hole that had been left behind when she left us.

The ad provided a number and I called it. The woman said she was located in Princeton Minnesota, almost 60 miles from home, and gave me directions to her home. My sister and I agreed that we would make the trip and call my mother once we got there so she could offer some input in the decision.

Even though an hour away, we didn’t mind the drive. After all, we were going to get a new dog!

The lady had told me to go through downtown Princeton and keep going for a few miles and then look for a specific mailbox. We watched for the mailbox as soon as we left town and finally saw what we were looking for. As we turned into the dirt driveway, we noticed a ramshackle white mobile home. It was small and dirty and looked like it had not been well maintained. The yard was much the same.

Right away, we could hear lots of barking coming from inside. LOTS of barking. My heart sank a little. This did not seem like the place I had imagined. We pulled up to the house and watched as a lady came outside. hat I noticed right away was that she shut the door tightly behind her. No little Shelties came out with her. In fact, there were no other animals outside at all. Not one family pet running around to greet us. Maybe she didn’t want to create more chaos by letting her dogs out too?

Instead of leading us back to the house (where all the barking was coming from), she led us to a barn back behind the house. As we walked with her, she told us a little more about the dog we were about to see. She talked about the dog’s parents as if they were beloved family pets, but I know now that this was most likely a bunch of lies. A story she told people to make them think her dogs were coming from a loving family home (“family-raised”). The truth is, to her this was nothing more than a business transaction. She didn’t even seem all that emotionally affected by the fact that she would be losing a dog. A beloved family pet.

We walked into the barn and she led us to a stall. She waved her hand over the stall door at the little Sheltie standing inside. She was a beautiful sable Sheltie, not a puppy, but a grown dog. She looked very scared. There was also something odd about her. She was really, really quiet. She didn’t bark. She didn’t jump at the stable door trying to greet us. She didn’t even spin around in excitement in typical Sheltie manner. Instead, she just stood there. Silent. She had a look that in her eyes that I now know, having seen it in my own Daisy’s eyes, she was shut down. Not only was she not engaging with us, she wasn’t engaging with anybody, not even the woman who supposedly had cared for her in her home. Not what I would call “normal.”

We cooed over how pretty she was, but it was half-hearted on my part. I already had a sneaking suspicion that something was very wrong here. The woman told us a little about the Sheltie, but I don’t remember much about the conversation. My mind was already stewing over my suspicions and the conflict it presented.

I told the woman I needed to call my mother to get her input and approval, but my cell phone wouldn’t work. I tried it outside the barn, but no luck. I told my sister that I couldn’t seem to get a signal and then turned to the woman and told her I would need to go into town to see if I could get a signal so I could speak with my mother. Suddenly, the woman looked a little nervous. A red flag?

As we drove down the driveway, I turned to my sister and said “I think this is a puppy mill. I don’t think I can take this dog.” When she asked why, I told her that if I purchased this Sheltie I would be supporting a puppy mill. I just didn’t think I could do that. Could I?

I struggled to decide what to do as we drove back into town. What a decision. Rescue a Sheltie that was clearly in a bad situation and support a puppy mill? Or, leave the Sheltie behind and know that I had chosen not to give my money to a puppy miller? No wonder so many people choose to take the puppy. What kind of choice is that?

I wish I could say that I made the right choice that day. The truth is I don’t know if I did or not. What I do know is that I called my mother when we got back to town. That I shared my suspicions with her about the woman and the dog. I also told her I didn’t think I could buy the dog knowing I would be supporting a puppy mill. She supported my decision, knowing it was not an easy decision for me.

I didn’t drive back to the woman’s place that day, but instead drove home with a heavy heart, wondering if I made the right decision. To this day, I wonder about that little dog. What ever happened to her? Did she ever get a home? Did she die in that horrible place? Part of me wishes I knew the answers to those questions. But, maybe it is better not to know.

I share this story with you because I want you to know that I know what it’s like to walk away from a puppy in a mill. I know how hard a decision it is to leave a dog behind. Living with my decision is not easy, especially knowing I will never know what happened to that poor dog. That’s why I more motivated than most to change the laws in this state. No one should have to make that kind of decision, but more than that, no dog should have to live like this dog did.

That’s why I am asking my fellow Minnesotans to join me in asking our state legislators to change the laws. Animal welfare groups have been working for SEVEN years to change the laws in this state, to no avail, but my hope is that this year will be the year. Something needs to change and the only way that can happen is if all of us say “No more!” Will you join me?

So how can you help? Choose to do just TWO of the actions below.

1. SIGN the petition supporting dog and cat breeder regulation in Minnesota.

2. TWEET this post to your friends and family and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

3. SHARE this post with your friends and family on Facebook and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

4. ASK your veterinarian and his/her vet techs to sign the petition in support of this bill. Ask them to indicate they are a vet or vet tech in the last box on the petition. (You can also contact Cheryl@animalfolksmn.org and she will mail you the petition forms and literature on the bill.) 217 vets and vet techs have already signed the petition. Let’s double those numbers!

5. SHARE your own story about buying a cat or dog or rescuing a puppy mill dog. I welcome any and all of your stories here, whether inside Minnesota or out, but if from Minnesota please do share it on the AnimalFolksMN site. These will be used to show legislators why there is a need for a law to regulate puppy mills.

6. CONTACT your own Minnesota State Senator and Representative

To find out who represents you, go to: MN District Finder

This link is easy to use. Just type in your address and zip code. It will list who represents you based on where you live. Please contact your State legislators – your MN House Representative and your MN Senator. Click on their names and you will be linked to their phone number, email and address.

NOTE: In addition to the bills’ authors, some legislators have already expressed their support publicly by co-authoring the bills. To find out if your legislator is a co-author, go to: Authors and Co-Authors

7. CONTACT Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The bill must first pass through legislative committees and be voted on by the full House and Senate before it reaches the Governor to be signed into law. But we need the Governor to hear your voice now. Please contact Governor Mark Dayton and ask that he support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Fax: 651-797-1850
Email contact form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.

WHAT TO WRITE:

If you call, you’ll most likely reach voicemail or speak with an aide or assistant. Just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Keep it short and respectful.

NOTE: S.F. 462 is the bill in the Senate. H.F. 702 is the bill in the House.

Example for Senator:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Senator ________________ (name) support S.F. 462, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. Thank you.”

Example for Representative:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Representative ________________ (name) support H.F. 702, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. Thank you.

Example for Governor:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a Minnesota resident and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that Governor Mark Dayton support S.F. 462, authored by Senator Goodwin, and H.F. 702, authored by Representative Lesch. These bills will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. Thank you.”

For more information on this bill go to AnimalFolksMN.

Wordless Wednesday #82 (a little less wordless)

March 13, 2012 3 comments

This week I am focusing on creating more awareness about puppy mills and pet stores. I welcome your input, thoughts, experiences, etc., but more than anything I would like to ask for your voice. Why? Because we need the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) to pass. I need you to help me (and the many other individuals and groups who have been working on this legislation) to make this bill become a law. Without your voice, nothing will change in Minnesota. Unsuspecting pet owners will continue to buy cats and dogs from pet stores and have their hearts broken when their furry friend dies, or requires serious medical care. Breeder dogs, like Daisy, will continue to suffer, having more and more puppies until they can no longer breed, only to be killed (likely shot) to make room for the next breeding female. Puppy millers will continue to operate with little chance of being held to the humane standards afforded many pets in other states.

So how can you help? Choose to do just TWO of the actions below.

1. SIGN the petition supporting dog and cat breeder regulation in Minnesota.

2. TWEET this post to your friends and family and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

3. SHARE this post with your friends and family on Facebook and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

4. ASK your veterinarian and his/her vet techs to sign the petition in support of this bill. Ask them to indicate they are a vet or vet tech in the last box on the petition. (You can also contact Cheryl@animalfolksmn.org and she will mail you the petition forms and literature on the bill.) 217 vets and vet techs have already signed the petition. Let’s double those numbers!

5. SHARE your own story about buying a cat or dog or rescuing a puppy mill dog. I welcome any and all of your stories here, whether inside Minnesota or out, but if from Minnesota please do share it on the AnimalFolksMN site. These will be used to show legislators why there is a need for a law to regulate puppy mills.

6. CONTACT your own Minnesota State Senator and Representative

To find out who represents you, go to: MN District Finder

This link is easy to use. Just type in your address and zip code. It will list who represents you based on where you live. Please contact your State legislators – your MN House Representative and your MN Senator. Click on their names and you will be linked to their phone number, email and address.

NOTE: In addition to the bills’ authors, some legislators have already expressed their support publicly by co-authoring the bills. To find out if your legislator is a co-author, go to: Authors and Co-Authors

7. CONTACT Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The bill must first pass through legislative committees and be voted on by the full House and Senate before it reaches the Governor to be signed into law. But we need the Governor to hear your voice now. Please contact Governor Mark Dayton and ask that he support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Fax: 651-797-1850
Email contact form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.

WHAT TO WRITE:

If you call, you’ll most likely reach voicemail or speak with an aide or assistant. Just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Keep it short and respectful.

NOTE: S.F. 462 is the bill in the Senate. H.F. 702 is the bill in the House.

Example for Senator:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Senator ________________ (name) support S.F. 462, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. Thank you.”

Example for Representative:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Representative ________________ (name) support H.F. 702, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. Thank you.

Example for Governor:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a Minnesota resident and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that Governor Mark Dayton support S.F. 462, authored by Senator Goodwin, and H.F. 702, authored by Representative Lesch. These bills will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. Thank you.”

For more information on this bill go to AnimalFolksMN.

Yes Minnesota, you can defeat puppy mills. Here’s how.

March 11, 2012 22 comments

Daisy

For anyone who has rehabbed a puppy mill breeding dog, the experience is a life changing one. Not only do you learn a lot about yourself, but you learn a whole lot more about puppy mills and pet stores and the conditions in which your dog lived.

I was one of the lucky ones. Yes. Daisy was fearful when I first got her, so fearful she would go straight to the ground and cower when I approached, but she wasn’t sick and full of parasites like many other puppy mill dogs. I am sure the organization that rescued her took care of that before she came to me. But, for many pet owners who purchase a pet from a pet store, their puppy or kitty is not only full of parasites but also sick and genetically flawed in some way. Genetic disorders and illnesses like hip dysplasia, heart disease, epilepsy, eye problems, and respiratory disorders are just the tip of the iceberg for these puppies and kitties. Many new owners will also find that they have not only purchased sick dog, but a fearful one or one with behavioral issues.

This week I want to focus on creating more awareness about puppy mills and pet stores. I welcome your input, thoughts, experiences, etc., but more than anything I would like to ask for your voice. Why? Because we need the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) to pass. I need you to help me (and the many other individuals and groups who have been working on this legislation) to make this bill become a law. Without your voice, nothing will change in Minnesota. Unsuspecting pet owners will continue to buy cats and dogs from pet stores and have their hearts broken when their furry friend dies, or requires serious medical care. Breeder dogs, like Daisy, will continue to suffer, having more and more puppies until they can no longer breed, only to be killed (likely shot) to make room for the next breeding female. Puppy millers will continue to operate with little chance of being held to the humane standards afforded many pets in other states.

So how can you help? Choose to do just TWO of the actions below.

1. SIGN the petition supporting dog and cat breeder regulation in Minnesota.

2. TWEET this post to your friends and family and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

3. SHARE this post with your friends and family on Facebook and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

4. ASK your veterinarian and his/her vet techs to sign the petition in support of this bill. Ask them to indicate they are a vet or vet tech in the last box on the petition. (You can also contact Cheryl@animalfolksmn.org and she will mail you the petition forms and literature on the bill.) 217 vets and vet techs have already signed the petition. Let’s double those numbers!

5. SHARE your own story about buying a cat or dog or rescuing a puppy mill dog. I welcome any and all of your stories here, whether inside Minnesota or out, but if from Minnesota please do share it on the AnimalFolksMN site. These will be used to show legislators why there is a need for a law to regulate puppy mills.

6. CONTACT your own Minnesota State Senator and Representative

To find out who represents you, go to: MN District Finder

This link is easy to use. Just type in your address and zip code. It will list who represents you based on where you live. Please contact your State legislators – your MN House Representative and your MN Senator. Click on their names and you will be linked to their phone number, email and address.

NOTE: In addition to the bills’ authors, some legislators have already expressed their support publicly by co-authoring the bills. To find out if your legislator is a co-author, go to: Authors and Co-Authors

7. CONTACT Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The bill must first pass through legislative committees and be voted on by the full House and Senate before it reaches the Governor to be signed into law. But we need the Governor to hear your voice now. Please contact Governor Mark Dayton and ask that he support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Fax: 651-797-1850
Email contact form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.

WHAT TO WRITE:

If you call, you’ll most likely reach voicemail or speak with an aide or assistant. Just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Keep it short and respectful.

NOTE: S.F. 462 is the bill in the Senate. H.F. 702 is the bill in the House.

Example for Senator:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Senator ________________ (name) support S.F. 462, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. Thank you.”

Example for Representative:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Representative ________________ (name) support H.F. 702, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. Thank you.

Example for Governor:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a Minnesota resident and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that Governor Mark Dayton support S.F. 462, authored by Senator Goodwin, and H.F. 702, authored by Representative Lesch. These bills will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. Thank you.”

For more information on this bill go to AnimalFolksMN.

Puppy Mill Bill Kerfuffle and AnimalFolksMN

March 28, 2011 22 comments

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Take Action Day – a day dedicated to asking people to contact their state legislators to ask them to support puppy mill legislation (recently introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate). What I did not know at the time was that there was quite the kerfuffle developing in the Minnesota animal welfare community over the fact that two sets of bills (H.F. 388/S.F. 384 and H.F. 702/S.F. 462) had been introduced within a day of one another. Both sets of bills are aimed at the same goal – regulating and inspecting puppy mills, but with a few differing provisions.

I probably wouldn’t have even noticed that two sets of bills had even been introduced if not for the fact that one animal group decided to attack another, publicly, in an attempt to discredit them. They even went one step further and questioned the motives of the other group in introducing the second set of bills, and seemed to imply that they were some sort of “shadow” group of unknown people (see below).

A private individual apparently authors the web site AnimalFolksMN.org. She claims to represent a “broad coalition” of organizations, but has continually refused to say who they are. She has reportedly worked with the Humane Society of the United States. However, an email received today from the President of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, clearly states his organization has nothing to do with these competing bills. Furthermore, AnimalFolksMN.org does not appear to have a legal lobbying presence at the legislature.

So, the question remains: Who is AnimalFolksMN.org? Who are they representing? And why would they be working to sabotage the puppy mill bill?

The simple truth is that the group attacking the second group (AnimalFolksMN.org), knows very well who is behind the group and who they work with. How do I know this? Because I started poking around myself to find out what was going on. In my attempt to get at the truth, I spoke with the head of the group making the claims against AnimalFolksMN. During that conversation, he shared with me that he knew who was behind AnimalFolksMN and who he suspected had authored the second set of bills. Well, this was certainly a surprise to me since the blog post and Facebook postings seemed to imply otherwise.

Through the help of some friends, I was also able to speak with a few people from AnimalFolksMN.org and had all of my questions answered. Guess what? They are not some “shadow” group of unknown individuals. They did not introduce a second set of bills out of some ulterior motive to kill puppy mill legislation, in fact, quite the opposite. They aren’t even some group of ego-maniacs looking to get a lot of attention.

So who is AnimalFolksMN.org?

– They are a small group dedicated to researching inhumane dog and cat breeding in MN and collecting data and facts that can be used to help legislators and the public better understand this issue.

– They are also a resource for the media and the public on inhumane dog and cat breeding – they educate, provide legislative support (in the form of numbers, data, personal stories, etc.), and conduct research (i.e., sales tax revenue paid by breeders, tracking sales and shipments from MN breeders, collecting data on inhumane animal investigations, etc.). I have even used some of their data in the past to write some of my own blog posts.

– They are part of a large coalition of animal welfare groups across the state of Minnesota who support the second puppy mill bills introduced into the legislature (S.F. 462 / H.F. 702). The coalition includes: A Rotta Love Plus, Animal Folks MN, Animal Humane Society (AHS), Minnesota Animal Control Association, Minnesota Humane Society, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Minnkota Persian Rescue, Pet Haven of Minnesota, Prairie’s Edge Humane Society, Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM), Second Chance Animal Rescue, Tri-county Humane Society – plus numerous other supporters, including humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, veterinarians, law enforcement, students, legislators, businesses and community members representing the interests of Minnesota.

– They even go as far as to educate the public on how a bill becomes a law! Did you know that on average it takes about 7 years for a controversial bill to pass and become a law?

After speaking with AnimalFolksMN, I feel less concerned about who they are and what they are trying to accomplish – they’ve been at this for years and understand the legislative process thoroughly. But I was confused by the attacks. Why attack a group that is so focused on educating legislators and the public about inhumane breeding? Why question their motives and imply that they are somehow not on the up-and-up when you know this not to be the case? And, what about the assertion that by introducing competing bills you are killing any chance of legislation passing? Is that really the case? Not necessarily. Each bill is assigned to a committee (sometimes more than one) in each house of the legislature. The Committee Chair then determines whether each bill will be granted a hearing, at which point public and expert testimony can be given and amendments can (and likely will) be made. The reality is that anything can happen. One or both sets of bills could not get past the Committee Chair. Or, both bills could be heard and amendments made to incorporate the wording from one bill into another. This is the way our government works.

So if this isn’t really about the killing of puppy mill legislation in MN, what is it about? I simply can’t answer that question. Only one group can. I invite them to share their perspective (in a respectful way please).

As for AnimalFolksMN.org all I can say is that I have a renewed respect for a group that has continued to remain focused on the goal at hand – stopping inhumane breeding of cats and dogs. Not once during this whole kerfuffle have they made any disparaging remarks about the other group. They haven’t even engaged them. Why? Because they are focused on gathering the data and information needed to help the legislature and the public better understand why we need this legislation. I completely support that and AnimalFolksMN.org.

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