Stop Puppy Mills – Be The Change for Animals

by Mary Haight on January 16, 2011

Stop Puppy Mills
Image by Feral Indeed! via Flickr

There’s a lot of great work being done to “be the change you want to see in the world”* on behalf of animals that deserves more light.

I’ve had the luck to meet and/or speak to many people working to be the change for animals and rather than choose one, here’s a group of unrelated people and organizations focused on the same mission – to stop puppy mills. They work from different angles, through education, the arts, activism, government, sometimes all three.  So with fanfare and great appreciation, I offer:

Kyla Duffy uses her talent as a fabric aerialist and her Ups for Pups organization (501c3) to raise funds  to “improve the lives of mistreated domestic animals…through creative, memorable initiatives.”  Duffy works on many hands-on and educational aspects of rescue, including transport, fostering, and Happy Tails books, publishing a series of books filled with stories of rescue, rehabilitation, foster care and adoption.  She also has a free e-book, Mill Dog Manifesto, which gives the straight poop on puppy mills, pet shops, reputable breeders and much more.  As if all of the above were not enough, Duffy recently discovered a missing link in rescue work and is now working with more than 15 rescues to formulate useful standards and guidelines for success in rescue. 

Kyla Duffy choreographed and will be performing her new show “Don’t Kill Bill”, named after her rescued puppy mill dog, Feb 12 in Boulder, Co.  The show will include two aerialists, Clementine the dog, and tells the story of mill dogs through original music, film, and the cirque du soleil style aerial performance. Check Kim Clune’s This One Wild Life, Deborah Flick’s Boulder Dog and Hilary Lane’s Fang Shui Canines for ticket and more information.

***

Best Friends has been pushing for change by convincing pet shops to switch from puppy mill purveyors to working with shelter and rescue dogs instead, and has seen good success in the face of some major opposition.  The protests that are sometimes used as part of the process caused concern when at one peaceful but persistent protest action in Santa Monica, protesters  involved were shot at. 

Puppies Aren’t Products campaign seeks to address the pet overpopulation crisis by promoting adoption, relieving the burden on shelters through programs like Pup My Ride, educating the public and advocating for better legislation regarding commercial breeding and pet store/internet regulations within the pet trade.

We have seen significant success within each of these components, from pet store bans to the increase in rescue-only pet stores, to higher adoption rates, to a greater public awareness of puppy mills and the pet store connection.  We anticipate that these successes will continue, and we will continue our efforts until we have achieved our mission of No More Homeless Pets.” (Quoted from previous interview here)

***

Indiana recently took an interesting and useful tactic against puppy mills by using the same laws that brought Al Capone down. The State can claim all the animals as assets of the business and then go after them for tax evasion.  Pennsylvania passed laws that were stringent enough to have 60% of their puppy mills leave.

***

Debbie Jacobs of Fearful Dogs, trainer, blogger, author, and rescuer, just wrote a post on Saving Island Dogs talking about her yearly trips there and her work with the Satos of Puerto Rico – street dogs, starving, in need of medical attention. She brought up a topic that is not much discussed. Puppy mills are sending regular shipments of puppies to San Juan and all the other cities. This made my head spin.  Is it really all about supply and demand? 

You can donate time or dollars to all of the above, with the exception of the State initiatives mentioned, and if you weren’t aware of them before you are now, and that’s a good start!

*Mahatma Gandhi

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26 comments
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pet toys
pet toys

Thanks for this post, Mary! Approaching the puppy mill issue from several different angles may be what we need to bring them to an end. Great informative post! I didn't know Best Friends was doing that work. There was a puppy store, "The Puppy Palace" in my area that ended up closing because of all the protesters out there every weekend.

Donna and the Dogs
Donna and the Dogs

Thanks for speaking out against Puppy Mills and for highlighting these dedicated people. The only way to stop these horrific businesses is for people to STOP purchasing from them. If you want a pet - please consider adoption first. If you must purchase, please do your research and buy from a reputable breeder. And no matter what the store says, reputable breeders do NOT sell their puppies to stores.

Amy@GoPetFriendly
Amy@GoPetFriendly

Thanks for this post, Mary! Approaching the puppy mill issue from several different angles may be what we need to bring them to an end.

Naturaldogsupplement
Naturaldogsupplement

I also would like to tell the pet shops to stop buying puppies from puppy mills. They should get rescued dogs and dogs from animal shelters.

Sue M.
Sue M.

I love the idea of urging pet shops to stop working with puppy mills and start helping rescue dogs and shelter dogs. It's a win/win and it makes so much sense! Thanks for the article!

Kim
Kim

Great informative post! I didn't know Best Friends was doing that work. There was a puppy store, "The Puppy Palace" in my area that ended up closing because of all the protesters out there every weekend. They too got their puppies from puppy mills. Not that I like to see any business close but frankly, I'm against selling animals - period. I hope I live to see the day when it can no longer be allowed.

Kyla Duffy
Kyla Duffy

Mary, I didn't know about many of these initiatives. This is all great news! And as for the Don't Kill Bill show, I've had trouble explaining exactly what we're doing, and I think you've stated it better than I ever have. Thank you!

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Oh, you are too kind, Kyla! You may want to speak to someone at Best Friends though - not that I know anything, but it seems there should be some joint effort or event coming up where you could work them. Just a thought...

Kim Clune
Kim Clune

Thanks for the wonderful recap, Mary, and for mentioning Kyla as well as those of us promoting her. (I've said it before and I'll say it again. I have a serious crush on her rescue work.) I've only been through about 30 posts so far, having to prepare for today's BtC business, and yet the End Puppy Mills theme is really quite strong - not to mention creative. Thanks for sharing the tax solution! I hadn't heard of that before!

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

You are welcome Kim, and thanks for your work on Be The Change for Animals - excellent! First time I actually thought taxes were pretty cool, as Leo pointed out on that post:))

Agnes Green
Agnes Green

Puppy mills break my heart. And it doesn't stop when the puppy mill is busted. Our dog Annie, who is a puppy mill rescue had nightmares for months. Crying, howling bad dreams. She no longer has those, but she's still pretty fearful. She has to learn every single noise and thing and person whether it's threat or not. I wrote her story in Diary of a Puppy Mill Princess (http://www.diaryofapuppymillprincess.com). It's an ebook and I donate 25% to help even more. I cannot imagine the blackness of those souls who can treat animals with this kind of cruelty.

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Thanks for stopping in Agnes, and telling us about your dog's story!

@Kenzo_HW
@Kenzo_HW

A lot of posts focused on puppy mills, and on dog auctions too. Kyla Duffy brings the whole effort on a higher level. You also mentioned best friends, and the state of Indiana using tax laws to shut down mills. When you sum it all up ... the beginning of the end for the puppy mills?

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

That's what we all hope for...but the commerial mills are owned by the likes of Hunte Corp with many friends in Congress that will lobby for protection against the likes of you and me and everyone in the pet blogging community! Poor giant coporation getting picked on by pet lovers! But the more we get the word out, the bigger our voice gets. Thanks for stoppying by, Leo!

veryvizsla
veryvizsla

How clever of you to wait until the end of the day to do a handy recap! With all the talk of the Don't Kill Bill show, I want to go but it is too far away for me :(

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Ha! I wish I could claim that clever part! I was just waay too busy to get to it until the last second:) But I was hoping to be last for some weird reasons and two others crushed that idea!

Kyla Duffy
Kyla Duffy

We'll be putting it on a DVD! :)

Kristine
Kristine

Kyla Duffy, I can't believe I didn't know about her before! Her creativity and talent that she has put to use helping animals in such an innovative way, are just awesome! There needs to be more people in the world as clever and dedicated as she is. Clearly, the rest of the organisations you mentioned are just as important. All are deserving of some excellent publicity and can't be talked about enough. We need to talk about all of the positive work being done as well as the negative stuff we need to change.

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Glad to be one of the now many bloggers talking about Kyla Duffy\'\'s work:) And I agree it\'s really important to talk about all the good things people are trying to do - if we don\'t, we will all be bouncing off walls soon enough;-D

Kyla Duffy
Kyla Duffy

Thanks so much for your kind words, Kristine! Just doing what I can for the dogs. We'll be posting clips from the show, of course, and I just hope that people will share them, and the end result will be greater awareness about the terrible puppy mill problem.

Edie
Edie

Excellent resources, Mary! I wouldn't ordinarily jump the line -- yes, I've been trying to read all the amazing posts on the Be the Change Linky in order -- but for you...

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Hey, Edie - thanks;) What a nice think to do - and say! It's a very long list, this Linky! I was thinking I would be the last, but two more were even later than I! I'll take that as a good sign!

Lorie Huston, DVM
Lorie Huston, DVM

Nice post, Mary. I like your list very much. All great people/groups doing wonderful things for animals. I thought Indiana's approach to pursuing puppy mills was quite ingenous, using tax evasion to target them. There's something kind of poetic about that kind of justice, using their greed against them (assuming of course that the charges "stick".)

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Hi Lorie! Thanks for kicking off the conversation and I agree it was very clever of that public official to use tax law to stop puppy mills in their tracks - even after hemming and hawing through my post about the importance of the primacy of cruelty as the crime rather than that of skirting taxes:) I'm thinking those charges are built with the same formula that Al's were - will be interesting to see what new machinations the defense will employ to try to get them off. There are so many everyday heroes who make life better for animals, all so deserving of praise!

Hilary
Hilary

Great post, Mary! I'm so glad you pointed out several groups and individuals who do something about puppy mills. Thanks for writing about this topic!

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