Posts Tagged ‘kitty mills’

Puppy mill news we can all cheer about

October 25, 2012 9 comments

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a story on my Facebook page about work being done to ban the retail sale of animals in Los Angeles, California. Well, guess what? It passed!

On Wednesday of this week, the Los Angeles City Council (by a vote of 12-2) approved an ordinance that bans the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in the city.

This is really great news for many reasons, including:

  1. It stops the flow of puppy mill dogs into Los Angeles, and essentially closes down another avenue in which puppy and kitty mills can sell their dogs and cats.
  2. It increases the chance that a a dog sitting in a shelter, or being cared for by a rescue, will get adopted, thus finding homes for the dogs and cats who really need them most.
  3. It provides a model for how we may be able to stop puppy mills at a local level.

Already other cities and towns are calling to find out about the work done to pass an ordinance like this, and you can bet people are already thinking about how they can organize and pass one in their communities. Chicago, in particular, appears to be the next big municipality to consider such a progressive ordinance.

This definitely looks like a model for the future. One thing we know for sure, it will hit puppy mills right where it hurts them most – their pocketbooks.

Want to know more about how Best Friends and local Los Angeles city leaders led this change? Read “At long last, pet sales on the way out in L.A.”

My kudos to the Best Friends Animal Society, and most especially Elizabeth Oreck, for leading this work. I have great respect for all you do. You continue to lead the fight for animals in such new and creative ways. Thank you for leading from the front.


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 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:
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.


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.

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