Friday, July 17, 2015

Angels Among Us

Those who love animals know how much happiness they can bring. Nala, the little poodle in the video, brings it on a grand scale. Watch the short video below and perhaps you will agree that this little dog was heaven sent.

#animaltherapy #dogtherapy #nursinghome #rescuedogs #animalrescue #poodle #Nala #pettherapy

Monday, July 13, 2015

Inside a Puppy Mill

Many of you have probably heard that you should never buy a puppy from a pet shop because it is very likely that it came from a puppy mill. The same is true about buying a puppy online or off Craigslist. When you think about it, this really shouldn't come as a surprise. Would a person who cares even a little bit about their puppies sell them to a stranger or pet shop, knowing full well that the pet shop will hand them over to anybody who will pay the sticker price? No way! And let the buyer beware: Dogs from puppy mills usually come with health problems (which may not be evident at the time of the sale) due to the substandard conditions they have lived in since birth.

One of the problems with puppy mills is that they are businesses in which animals are the commodity. Like all other businesses, the objective is to make money. In order to keep the profit margin as high as possible, the mill owners must keep the costs down. This is done by putting as little money into the dogs as possible. They receive low quality food, little (if any) veterinary care, inadequate housing, and often filthy conditions, all of which contribute to health issues.

Puppies from puppy mills will often be genetically inferior because quality pups are not the priority-- profit is. If you are set on a specific breed, you should buy directly from a reputable breeder (or better yet, contact a breed-specific rescue organization). A reputable breeder will let you come to their property and see not only the puppies but the puppies' mother (and the father, if it is on site). The breeder will be proud of their dogs and the conditions in which they are raised. If you are denied your request to see the puppies with their mother in the facility in which they were raised, the smartest thing you can do is turn around and walk away. Here is a tip that I consider to be common sense: A reputable breeder doesn't have a lot of breeding females. Who can provide clean food and water and a clean living environment to all those dogs and their puppies? Who has the time to socialize all the puppies so they will be used to interacting with people? The more dogs at the facility, the less attention each one will get and needs will go unmet.

The female breeding stock in puppy mills have a very sad existence. They are bred every heat cycle and have litter after litter until their bodies wear out. When they can no longer produce puppies (i.e. profit), they are no longer useful and many are killed. When you buy a puppy from a pet shop, the internet, or Craigslist, you are most likely keeping a puppy mill in business and condemning these breeder dogs to a life of misery.

By working together to spread the word about the origins of most puppies in pet shops and those available to buy online, I believe that in time we can put an end to the puppy mill industry.

#puppymill #puppymillraid #craigslist #petshop #petstore #puppiesforsale

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015: The Wall of Shame

There are estimated to be over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Missouri and Kansas take the prize once again in the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Horrible Hundred 2015 report on some of the worst puppy mills in the country. According to the report, for three years running these two states have had the highest number of problem puppy mills, with 23 in Missouri and 16 in Kansas. Below is a sampling of what can be found in the report:

Quoting from page 17 of the report: "Mary Foster and Cathy Griesbauer, Country Pets- Montgomery City, MO: Massive Puppy Mill Has More Than 1,000 Dogs; Received Official Warning From USDA For Failure To Provide Medical Care To Ten Dogs. Country Pets is one of the most massive, substandard puppy mills in the country, with more than 1,000 dogs. It has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for multiple problems at the facility, including failure to let inspectors in on multiple occasions, and health, safety and sanitation issues."

Page thirteen shows: "Marilyn Soukup, Wilson, KS- Unlawfully failed to let inspectors in for ten different visits since 2011." The report goes on to say "On the occasions the inspectors were able to access the facility between 2011 and 2015, Soukup was cited at every USDA inspection for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act" and "During her most recent USDA inspection in April 2015, eleven different violations were found, mostly related to unsafe housing and unsanitary conditions."

Why would anyone buy puppies born and raised in such unhealthy conditions? Because when they see the freshly-bathed and groomed puppies in pet store windows and look into those pleading eyes, they don't realize that most puppies sold in pet shops come from puppy mills.

What about buying puppies on the internet? As an example, I encourage you to go to the website of Heaven's Gate Kennels in Georgia at The first thing I notice is two awards, one of which was given by To earn the award bestowed upon Heaven's Gate, it simply says, "Please fill in the form below as [sic] and you will win the award." It goes on to say that people who see it "will understand that you take great care in the breeding of your dogs." Wow.

The owner of the kennel writes, "Being a breeder is my life's calling that I have pursued since I was a little girl. I am so blessed to be able to fulfill my dream of caring and nurturing God's creatures all the while, bringing joy, happiness, and a little bit of God's love into your life in the form of 4 furry legs and a wet nose!" The site also states "We have a reputation of excellence and quality companion animals."

The first time I heard of Heaven's Gate Kennels was in HSUS' Horrible Hundred 2015 report. Following her name and the name of the kennel is the headline "Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty After Botched Do-It-Yourself Surgeries On Puppies' Tails". The entry goes on to say that the Georgia Department of Agriculture ordered a "stop sale" order shortly after the charges were filed, which allowed the owner "to sell some animals currently on the premises, but not to breed any more litters." It is important to note that it is unknown if or when the order expired but that HSUS staff noticed that puppies were still being offered for sale on Heaven's Gate's website, it's Facebook page, and on (noted in the report as "a notorious site for unlicensed and questionable breeders"), as of March 2015. The last sentence of this entry says, "It also appeared that (the owner) did not have a USDA license to sell puppies online, even though her page on PuppyFind listed 16 puppies for sale as of April 14, 2015 and offers worldwide shipping." (UPDATE: Today I went to the Heaven's Gate website listed earlier in the article and it is no longer up).

I chose not to include the name of the owner of Heaven's Gate Kennels in this post because I do not feel it is necessary in order to make my point. You can go to the website at the address provided above (or by Googling it like I did) and form your own opinion. I encourage you to go to the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and perhaps Google a couple of other kennels on the list to see how they present themselves on their websites as well.

You can read the full report of the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 by going to the web address below. There are descriptions of dogs suffering in such deplorable conditions is heartbreaking to read. But I hope you WILL read it because once you are aware of how puppy mills are allowed to operate I believe that you, like me, will want to be part of the movement to put an end to this cruel business.

Disclaimer: I have no personal knowledge of Heaven's Gate Kennels. The information presented in this blog post was taken directly from the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and from the Heaven's Gate website.

#puppymills #HSUSHorribleHundred2015 #HorribleHundred

Animal Welfare In Your State

Although all states must meet the minimum standards set forth in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), each can enact additional laws and policies governing the treatment of animals within their state. According to the Animal Welfare Information Center website, "The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard."

I want to stress that the standards required by the Animal Welfare Act are so low that many consider them to be minimal standards for survival. If you take the time to read the AWA you may, like me, wonder how animals CAN survive in some of the conditions allowed--many don't. What makes me REALLY angry is that many puppy mills are repeatedly cited by inspectors for violating even these minimal standards, yet they continue to operate and their dogs continue to suffer. Oftentimes they are committing the same violations over and over, flagrantly thumbing their nose at the law. If someone is repeatedly cited for driving while intoxicated, are they allowed to keep their driver's license?

You can help animals by working to change the laws in your state. The following link will take you to the website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Information Center. I encourage you to go to this site and become familiar with YOUR state's animal cruelty laws.

This next link will make it easy to find the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) director for your state. You can sign up to receive action alerts and to learn how you can help animals in your state as well as nationally.

One important way we can all make a difference for animals is by calling our elected representatives to ask them to vote in favor of the humane treatment of animals. It is especially important to make a call when a bill affecting animals is coming up for a vote. Legislators know that their constituents put them in office and can also vote them out. If you are age 18 or older and currently not registered to vote, please don't wait any longer! Use the power of your vote to help animals.

#animalwelfare #puppymills #animalwelfareact #animalcruelty #HSUS #humanesocietyoftheunitedstates #helpanimals

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ag-gag Bills: Making It a Crime to Expose a Crime

Ag-gag bills are bills that have been introduced in some states by the agribusiness industry to deter—and in many cases, criminalize—the act of reporting animal abuse in factory farms. Although not all bills are the same, their purpose is: to keep the American public in the dark about animal abuse that occurs in agribusiness facilities by silencing potential whistleblowers and protecting the abusers.

To those of us who believe animals have the right to humane treatment, these ag-gag bills are just plain WRONG on so many different levels. But even those who callously claim, “They are just animals” should be concerned about these bills. Why? Because they affect the safety of our food supply.

A June 18, 2012 article by the Humane Society of the United States ( cites as an example their investigation of a slaughterhouse in California that prompted the largest recall of meat in our country’s history. The case also led to the implementation of a federal regulation banning the slaughter of adult downer cattle. In addition to animal cruelty and food safety issues, whistleblowers have also exposed unsafe working conditions and environmental problems on factory farms.
In my opinion, if the agribusiness industry has nothing to hide, why are they working so hard to make it a crime to report these abuses? Instead of putting money and effort towards correcting the problems, the industry is directing their resources towards keeping acts of cruelty hidden from the public.

Numerous studies show that there is a link between cruelty towards animals and violent crimes against humans. As a result of a decision by the FBI, animal cruelty crimes will soon be included within the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) - National Incident Based Reporting System. This will serve to better law enforcement officials’ understanding of this link and as a result, increase the likelihood that other crimes may be prevented. According to Sherry Ramsey in her article FBI Targets Animal Cruelty As a Serious Crime (, “...these cases may serve as an early warning to alert the criminal justice system to individuals who pose a future danger to the community.”

People who get pleasure from intentionally causing pain to another living being need psychological help. Making it a crime to report their abuse of animals while at work would serve to hide the red flag that so desperately needs to be exposed. Armed with the knowledge of a person’s history of animal abuse, law enforcement will be alerted to a person that should be on their radar.

Agribusiness does our society a great injustice by pushing bills meant to shield animal abusers from being held accountable for their actions. By protecting individuals that hurt those who have no voice and who feel no empathy for their victims, it in many cases enables them to continue abusing their spouse or children or commit other violent crimes. I am not saying that every individual who hurts animals also commits violent crimes against people, but I am saying there is a strong correlation between these behaviors. There is no place in the United States criminal justice system for laws that make it a crime to report a crime.

#Ag-gagbills #Ag-gaglaws #whistleblowers #animalabuse