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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota puppy mills’

Minnesota puppy mills: The fight goes on

August 11, 2015 8 comments

puppy mills 1There is one thing they don’t tell you when you get involved in animal welfare advocacy – the victories are short-lived, and perseverance is required to maintain the momentum.

The battle rarely ends with one victory. There are always those opposing forces to deal with, the ones who don’t want you to succeed: factory farms, big Ag, local communities and politicians, and the ones who may not care, the always underfunded and under-motivated government agencies charged with enforcing the change.

You can work hard to close all the loopholes and to ensure that animals are being saved, but one failure along the chain of implementation and suddenly the fight takes a few steps back, or is put right back to the beginning.

Last year, when we passed the Minnesota Dog and Cat Breeder Law, most people thought we had won the fight.  I think it would be more accurate to say we won ONE victory in the war against puppy mills and animal cruelty. Remember those opposing forces? They are always there, looking for ways to slow your roll. Progress is passing a law, but making that progress “stick” takes time, diligence and lots of dedication and follow-up.

As an example, take a look at who the Minnesota Board of Animal Health gave breeder licenses to this year:

  • Debbie Rowell of Country Pride Kennels – Debbie is the Pine River facility that was raided a couple of years ago. 130 dogs were seized in July 2013, including Maggie, my foster dog, and several other Shelties so damaged they will likely be in foster care for life. A Facebook page has been set up to keep an eye on Ms Rowell’s activities. We can’t know for sure, but given her past conviction, I suspect she will be in trouble again some day soon.

  • Wanda Kretzman of Clearwater Kennel, Inc. – This kennel was one of three kennels on the Humane Society of the United State’s (HSUS) Horrible Hundred 2015: Puppy Mills Exposed. Wanda’s kennel has had so many violations that the USDA filed an official complaint in March 2015.  She even made the worst list for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in 2013. Her violations go as far back as 1997.  The lovely Wanda has one of the largest puppy mills in the state (with more than 1000 dogs). Needless to say, it is hard to believe she passed an inspection by the MN Board of Animal Health. How does someone with this kind of history pass an inspection by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health? My mind is filled with theories.

  • John & Lyle Renner of Renner’s Kennel – Also on HSUS’ Horrible Hundred 2015: Puppy Mills Exposed. USDA inspectors have found numerous injured dogs in their facility, including swollen red skin, eye and dental issues, damaged paws, etc. This kennel is so bad that it has made HSUS’ list numerous times. And yet, they too got a license from the MN Board of Animal Health.

  • Michelle Sonnenberg – Also on HSUS’ Horrible Hundred 2015: Puppy Mills Exposed. Repeated health and sanitation violations litter Michelle’s dog kenneling history. Sounds like a place you want to get a puppy from doesn’t it? You have to wonder why she refused inspectors into her facility back in April of this year. Maybe she was cleaning things up in anticipation of a visit from the MN Board of Animal Health? Hmmm… maybe so. After all, she somehow was able to get a breeder license from them. Don’t you wonder how?

(Side note: Both Michelle Sonnenberg and Renner’s Kennels sell to the Hunte Corporation which is a broker for Petland stores.)

Eighty plus breeders have received licenses thus far.  They had to submit an application and go through an inspection in order to be licensed.

am3_1403_thumbYou can read what the inspector looks for when inspecting these facilities in the Commercial Dog or Cat Breeder Inspection Guidelines.

You’ve got to wonder how the 4 breeders above passed inspection for  item number 12, which states: “Exercise. All dogs and cats must be provided the opportunity for periodic exercise, either through free choice or through a forced work program, unless exercise is restricted by a licensed veterinarian. (346.39)”

How much you want to bet Wanda Kretzman didn’t pass that part of the inspection? I can’t imagine how she is exercising 1000 dogs, but hey she got a license, she must be exercising them right?

You probably can tell that I am disappointed in the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, but what I am not is surprised. Like I said, we only won the victory, not the battle.

What the opposition doesn’t understand is that time is on our side. More people are getting knowledgeable about puppy mills and how they work. Petlands, and other pets stores like them, are failing (the Petland in Shakopee closed last year and I am hoping the St Paul store isn’t far behind).

And, as more people get educated on what these places are like, they are also taking action. When people realized that Debbie Rowell was back in business, her Yelp profile and Better Business Bureau status took a hit. (If you think Walter Palmer, the dentist who killed Cecil, is an aberration, think again.) People are getting involved and when they do, they take action.

So, the fight goes on. The battle is not yet won. More work needs to be done. 

Want to help?

  • Share the information about this and other substandard kennels
  • Educate others that pet store puppies come from these kennels
  • Encourage friends to adopt
  • Contact legislators to support legislation with tougher penalties
  • Educate others about what responsible breeders do and don’t do
  • Volunteer with or donate to Animal Folks MN & share their posts
  • Volunteer with Minnesotans Exposing Petland & share their posts
  • Report substandard breeding kennels to the authorities
  • Do not shop at pet stores that sell animals of any kind
  • Support pet stores that support adoption
  • Contact the Minnesota Board of Animal Health: Phone: (651) 296-2942
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Puppy mills: The livestock argument

December 10, 2014 17 comments

puppy mills 1Long ago and far away, when crop yields were low and the American farmer was struggling to make ends meet, a government organization looked for a way to help them out. The government agency was the USDA. Their solution? Encourage farmers to raise a variety of livestock that could then be turned into a cash crop and allow them to thrive.

The “livestock” the USDA encouraged them to sell were dogs, cute and cuddly, little purebred puppies that could be sold to an ever-growing American middle class, who had begun to see the dog as a part of the American dream (a house, a fence, two kids and a dog).

What we couldn’t know then, but know now, is that this industry would grow and spread across the United States, and it would increase in scope and size and numbers. It would become a burgeoning industry that made farmers money and would feed an ever-growing American need for a dog – a purebred dog, a designer dog, an -orki and an -oodle, and every other kind of combination of dog possible.

Farmers, including the Amish, benefitted from this cash crop in tough times. They found  this type of farming appealing and one that could supplement their incomes and help their families. To them, dogs really were livestock. They were just like cattle or sheep, only smaller and cheaper to raise. They could be kept in cages and bred and their offspring could be sold to pet stores across the country. The adults could be harvested for their pups, and when too old to produce, could be sent off to the slaughterhouse, much like a dairy cow, only in their case the slaughterhouse was out back of the mill, the one in which they had lived for their whole life.

IMG_2486For years, the argument has been made that dogs raised in puppy mills are livestock, not pets. They are bred for one purpose, profit, and thus should not be afforded the same kind of care as a dog raised in home. Viewing puppy mill dogs as livestock and not as companion animals, allowed farmers (a.k.a. puppy millers) to argue that they should be treated the same as a farmer raising beef cattle. It allowed them to argue that additional regulations should not apply to them since it did not apply to farmers who raised cows and sheep.

And this argument has worked, for a very long time (and continues to do so, if you live in Missouri).

But in Minnesota, there is reason for hope. There is reason to believe that this argument (that puppy mill dogs are livestock) may be changing.

Recently, a dog breeder, Dayna Bell, was convicted for animal cruelty. And this year, she tried to make the argument that her breeding stock of dogs were not companion animals or pets, but in essence “livestock,” and thus she was not subject to the state statutes that were used to convict her of felony animal cruelty.

Unfortunately for her, the Minnesota State Court of Appeals disagreed.

You can read the full background and history on the case against and the conviction of Dayna Bell and the recent Minnesota State Court of Appeals opinion on the Animal Folks MN site, but here is an excerpt from the court papers.

….Under Bell’s interpretation, so long as her subjective “enjoyment” of a dog at her kennel amounts to use of the animal as a vessel for conceiving, birthing, and rearing puppies that would be sold as pets, the breeding dog would not qualify as a “pet or companion animal” under Minn. Stat. Sec. 343.20. We presume that the legislature does not intend results that are a “absurd, impossible of execution, or unreasonable.” Minn. Stat. 645.17(1)(2012). Just as a farm cat that is kept in a barn to kill mice or a hunting dog that is used to retrieve game can still be a pet, some of Bell’s dogs may have served incidental roles that imparted some economic benefit. But these animals continue to qualify as pet or companion animals under Minn. Stat. 343.20, subd. 6. In every objective sense, the dogs and puppies that Bell “enjoyed” at her kennel were small-breed, household dogs raised to be and treated as domesticated pets, and Bell sold many of them as pets. Each of these dogs, colloquially referred to as “man’s best friend,” qualifies as a pet or companion animal under the non-exhaustive definition of Minn. Stat. 343.20, subd.6, which is sufficiently definite such that “ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited.” State v. Newstrom, 371 N. W.2d 525, 528 (Minn. 1985) (quotation omitted).”

Puppy mill dogs are not livestock. They are pets and companion animals, and yes, man’s (and woman’s) best friend.

Do they look like livestock to you?

Silly dogs.

Former puppy mill breeding dogs – Daisy and Maggie

HSUS’ 101 Worst Puppy Mills – The Minnesotans who made the list

May 29, 2014 10 comments

IMG_8857The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has released it’s annual 101 Worst Puppy Mills list. Once again, it contains puppy mills from several familiar states, like Missouri.

It’s sad that even though Missouri passed a puppy mill bill four years ago, they remain one of the top states for bad breeders (22 of the top 100 are from Missouri this year).

Over the past few years, the Missouri puppy mill bill has been weakened by local by politicians, individuals who caved under the pressure of big Ag and the puppy millers themselves. The truth is one cannot be assured that passing a puppy mill bill will lead to an end of puppy mills or to animal cruelty in puppy mills. The battle may be won once a puppy bill passes, but the war goes on. There will always be those who prefer to take dollars from deep pockets than to do the right thing, and those deep pockets have no interest in keeping laws pertaining to puppy mills in place. They will do what they must to get rid of the bill or make it weaker so it is no longer effective. We must stay ever-vigilant if we want to see puppy mills go away.

Most of those who made the list were cited for extremely bad care and treatment of animals. According to HSUS, some of these citations included:

  • A breeder in Missouri who admitted to leaving a gravely injured and nearly unresponsive Pomeranian named “Woofie” lingering for three days without taking him to a vet (Johanna Steele);
  • Four breeders who listed gunshot as a method of euthanasia on their official veterinary plans (Barker in AR; Mamma’s Minis in CO; Tietz and Williams in NE);
  • A breeder in Illinois who had five beagles euthanized rather than providing them with warmer shelter as directed by his inspector (Melton Christiansen);
  • A breeder in Missouri who was found with a dead, four-week-old shih tzu puppy frozen solid in the outdoor portion of an enclosure when overnight temperatures had recently been as low as -9 degrees (Johnny Dake);
  • Breeders who left their dogs exposed to heat indexes as high as 109 degrees or bitter cold temperatures as low as one degree Fahrenheit (Hines in SD; Pesek in NE);
  • USDA inspectors photographed a Yorkie with an eye disorder at a facility owned by Andy Troyer in Fredericksburg, Ohio, in 2011 after the operator repeatedly failed to get adequate treatment for the dog. Additional problems were found at the same facility in 2014. /USDA 2011.
  • A breeder in Missouri who admitted to slaughtering downed cattle (cows unable to walk and who could be ill) from a local slaughterhouse in order to feed the raw meat to her dogs; rotting meat infested with maggots was found in her kennels (Barbara Neubert); and
  • A breeder in Nebraska (listed in our appendix because she was in last year’s Horrible Hundred report), who was found with no fewer than 54 dogs in need of veterinary care during a single USDA inspection (Linda Hager).

Yes. Lovely people aren’t they? I can’t imagine how one becomes okay with treating an animal this way, but I suspect your soul has to die off a bit first.

There were five Minnesotans that made the HSUS list this year. One of them is from Pine River, but strangely enough, it is not he one who ran the place Maggie came from (that one was run by Deborah Rowell). It makes me wonder – just how many puppy mills are in business in Pine River?

Here are the five Minnesota puppy mills that made the list:

  • Gloria Brouwer, Jasper, MN – Three dogs died after not being treated properly. Brouwer received an official
    warning from the USDA in February 2013 for failing to get proper care for three dogs who were observed to be sluggish with poor appetites in July 2011. A USDA Director of Investigative and Enforcement Services noted that Brouwer took the dogs inside when they seemed ill and attempted to treat them herself with Baytril. All three of the dogs died. The incident occurred in 2011 but the USDA did not publish its official warning until February 2013. In January 2013, the USDA cited Brouwer for several new problems, including expired veterinary drugs and unsafe housing. In February 2014, the USDA went to check on the kennel but was not given access, which is a violation. USDA #41-A-0364.
  • Paul and Sheila Haag, Valley View Kennel aka A Maze N Farmyard LLC, Eden Valley, MN – Mega mill, repeatedly cited for dogs with injuries. Although it passed one USDA inspection in 2013, Valley View Kennel was cited for violations during four previous inspections in a row, including repeat violations for lack of adequate veterinary care for issues such as limping dogs with swollen feet (common in facilities where dogs are forced to stand on wire cage floors), a dog with “a red ulcer-like mass in the eye,” unsafe and unsanitary housing, and numerous other problems. The Haags appear to have an enormous amount of dogs; in July 2013, the USDA counted more than 800 dogs and puppies on the property, indicating it may be one of the largest puppy mills in the country, and the second largest in the state next to Animal control officers found deplorable conditions at Chien d’Or Kennel in Farmington Hills, MI. The kennel has registered AKC breeding stock and sells online. In recent years, the AKC has opposed more than 100 bills designed to crack down on puppy mills. /Oakland County Animal Control, 2013. Clearwater Kennel in Cushing. The facility has not been inspected yet in 2014 (as of April 10). Concerned local advocates are calling for action via social media: facebook.com/pages/Shut-down-A-mazen- Farmyard/175238609266415. USDA #41-A-0281.
  • Sharon Lanz, Pine River, MN – Dogs in the freezing cold. In November 2013, USDA inspectors found a number of issues at Lanz’s kennel, including dogs outside in the cold without adequate protection when the temperature was only 29 degrees, expired vaccination drugs and accumulations of wastes and clutter. Records show that USDA inspectors attempted to re-inspect the kennel three times in February 2014 and made calls to the owner each time, but were not given access during any of their attempts, a repeat violation. Violations were also found in 2011 and 2012. USDA #41-A-0027.
  • Deloris and Dick Richards, Marshall, MN – Ten dogs found with injuries; dogs repeatedly exposed to freezing cold and walking in their own feces. In January 2014, USDA inspectors found three different repeat violations at the Richards’ kennel, including dogs without adequate protection from the bitter cold, safety issues and excessive feces. In August 2013, USDA inspectors found no fewer than ten dogs in need of veterinary care at the Richards’ kennel for issues such as hair loss, bleeding wounds and blackened scabs on their ears from fly bites. In addition, the Richards have been repeatedly cited by USDA inspectors for inadequate cleaning of feces in their dog runs (Jan. 2014, Dec. 2013, Aug. 2013, April 2013, and March 2011) and for dogs with inadequate protection from the weather. In December 2013, a USDA inspector noted that dogs were not properly sheltered when “the outdoor winter temperatures and wind chills are frequently falling below zero degrees,” and that some dog runs were so soiled with feces that “there were no clean areas for [the dogs] to step without coming into contact with the waste.” USDA #41-A-0016.
  • Michelle Sonnenberg, Detroit Lakes, MN – “A foul odor” and standing water was mixed with feces and maggots. USDA inspectors found multiple violations during five inspections in a row at Sonnenberg’s kennel between December 2011 and September 2013. In September 2013, inspectors noted a “foul odor” due to standing water mixed with feces and maggots, a “prevalent ammonia [urine] smell” that was “strong enough to make the inspector’s eyes burn,” dogs without adequate space, and sanitation problems. During the September 2013 visit, more than 430 dogs and puppies on the property. In February 2013 an inspector noted an “ammonia level strong enough to make the inspector cough and feel a burn in the back of the throat” and other problems. In December 2011, inspectors found underweight dogs, dogs with matted fur, numerous unsafe conditions and puppies with their legs falling through wire flooring, which, as the inspector noted, “risks malnourishment” because puppies whose legs are stuck through the wire gaps may not be able to reach their mother to feed. The HSUS has received two complaints from buyers who reportedly purchased sick puppies from the facility. USDA #41-A-0021.

Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States, 101 Puppy Mills: A Sampling of Problem Puppy Mills in the United States , May 2014.

Want to stop puppy mills? Don’t buy from a pet store. People who have started following and commenting on the FB group “Shut down A maze’n Farmyard” (the 2nd mill on the MN list), have mentioned buying sick puppies from a pet store that were sourced from this place. Buying a sick dog from a pet store may be saving THAT dog, but it is sentencing the parents to a continued life of misery, pain and cruelty. Just don’t do it.

Don’t shop, adopt.

Getting involved to regulate Minnesota puppy mills – Dog #201 is my motivation

February 25, 2013 10 comments

IMG_8860As 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 IMG_8824taking 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.

IMG_8857

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?

Daisy's tattoo - She was dog #201

Daisy’s tattoo – She was dog #201

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

Puppy Mills: Why is the number 60% so important?

October 7, 2012 14 comments

Last week I wrote about the minimum size requirements for puppy mill kennels. The key number in that post was “6” – as in the 6 inches of additional kennel space your dog is allowed in a USDA-licensed breeder’s facility.

This week I would like to share a new number with you. This number came to me courtesy of Animal Folks MN – an excellent resource for finding out more on puppy mills and the puppy mill bills and laws in the state of Minnesota.

The number? 60%

As in….

60% of the USDA-licensed breeders and brokers in MN have dropped their USDA license over the past 6 years. 

You might be asking yourself, “Why does that number matter?” or “Why should I care?”

Let me go back to something I wrote at the bottom of my post from last week:

Many mill owners like to tout their USDA license with unsuspecting buyers to give them an air of legitimacy. Don’t buy it. “USDA licensed” does not equal “responsible breeder”. Having a USDA license only means the puppy miller is required to meet certain minimum care standards. Puppy millers who sell over the internet do not have to be USDA-licensed (as of today). They are not subject to any minimum care standards at all. This is why we are seeing more and more puppy millers moving their business to an internet-based one. As sellers of puppies over the internet, puppy millers are not subject to USDA inspection, nor do they have to follow any minimum care instructions when it comes to their dogs.

When 60% of Minnesota’s USDA-licensed breeders and brokers drop their USDA license, people should take notice. This is not some arbitrary statistic, especially when Minnesota used to be in the top ten list for USDA-licensed breeders. This is a warning shot across the bow. This is a sign of what is to come. This is where the puppy mill business is going in Minnesota and throughout the United States. As dog lovers, we should all be worried.

In the past, much of the drive to stop puppy mills has been focused on stopping pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies. But, as the public has gotten more educated about the pet store-puppy mill connection, pet stores are finding it harder to sell their pups. Many are closing down or switching to hosting adoption events in place of selling puppies. This leaves puppy mill operators in the precarious position of trying to sell enough puppies to make a profit. Turning to the internet is the most a logical choice.

How convenient that there are very few, if any, state or federal regulations around the internet sales of puppies. As consumers, we all need to be aware.

Puppy mills who only sell over the internet:

  • Are not subject to any minimum care standards for the dogs they breed (unless they happen are in a state with strong breeder laws on the books – good luck on that one.).
  • Ship sick puppies to unsuspecting dog lovers who assume they are working with a “responsible” breeder. (Nothing could be further from the truth.)
  • Ship underage puppies.  (A responsible breeder will not ship a puppy and certainly not one that is under 8 weeks old. In many cases they will even wait until they are 9-12 weeks old.)
  • Will ask for a deposit before they ship and then never send the puppy at all.
  • Ship the wrong puppy or the wrong breed puppy to unsuspecting buyers.
  • Sell to anybody for any reason. (They do not care who buys their dogs because it’s not about the dogs, it’s about the money).
  • Sometimes import sick puppies from other countries and represent them as their own. (You can see more information on this at TheWrongPuppy.org.)

A puppy miller that drops their USDA license to avoid inspection is not someone I would ever want to trust with the care of my future puppy. How about you?

Please spread the word:

Every puppy someone purchases over the internet is a vote to support puppy mills.

Every puppy purchased over the internet is supporting puppy millers who are not subject to minimum care standards for their dogs.

Every decision made to buy a puppy from one of these places is supporting a cruel practice of keeping dogs in cages, with wire bottoms, and six inches to spare.

My continued thanks to Animal Folks and Animal Folks MN for always keeping me, and many other Minnesotans, updated on what is going on in our state. While the statistic I shared in this post is a horrible one, I am grateful for your continued work to educate the public and influence change in our state.

If you can donate money to help Animal Folks, please do. They are a small organization that is doing really big work. They have already researched many breeding facilities in Minnesota and have pictures and stories to share with you and our legislators, but they can only continue their work if you help. Don’t have a lot of money? How about $5? Every dollar counts.

Here is how Animal Folks MN will use your money:

  • conduct research (gather photos, stories, affidavits and documents to illustrate the problem);
  • file complaints against dog and cat breeders where animal neglect or abuse is suspected; and
  • educate authorities and the public throughout Minnesota about problematic dog and cat breeding.

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.

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