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Are Pet Rescue Efforts Enough?

SophieI’ve been seeing a lot of Facebook posts and articles about rescue pets lately.  I’m glad so many people understand the importance of adopting these pets in need.  I’ve had three rescue dogs and they’re the best.  Here’s Sophie, my latest rescue.  She’s a Chihuahua from a busted puppy mill in Kansas.  Kansas has a lot of puppy mills.  Shame on Kansas.

On my way home from running errands today it occurred to me that we may be trying to use a bucket to empty a sinking boat without patching the hole first.

When I worked for the State of Kansas, I had a long discussion with someone who worked in the state office responsible for inspecting breeding operations.  They were under staffed and under funded.  And under appreciated.  This individual described horrific situations faced when their small staff  went into a puppy mill to close it down.  I will spare you the details.

They worked long hours and still couldn’t get the work done–it was just too big for their limited resources.  I’m reminded of the story of Sisyphus.  His punishment in hell was to push an immense boulder up a hill just to have it come crashing down on him again and again forever.  That must be how these inspectors feel.

As well as adopting a rescue pet, let’s also contact our state animal inspection offices (often called the Animal Health Office within the Department of Agriculture) and do some research.  These are some of the questions you might ask:

  • How many animal breeders are in the state and how often are they inspected
  • How many full and part-time staff are in the animal health inspection program
  • How many breeders are cited for deficiencies each year and how do inspectors follow up to be sure corrections are made
  • If found to be deficient or operating in a cruel manner, what is the penalty and how is it administered
  • Other questions?
Once armed with this information, contact your Governor’s office and your state legislators and tell them of any concerns you have  for animal welfare in breeding operations in your state.   Be sure to commend them for any positive and proactive measures they are taking as well.

Here’s an informative article that will give you a sense of the challenges at hand:

A Scathing Assessment of Missouri’s Puppy Mill Inspection Program

Comments Please.  What wisdom can you add to this situation?  How can we make a greater impact in patching the hole in the sinking boats we have in so many states?



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  1. Rita Wilson says:

    Cheryl, good evening, and I thank you for an excellent post today. I will do what I can to spread the word. I can’t understand anyone buying from a puppy mill. There is no need for such operations. I better end there.

    Thanks again.

    Rita Wilson

  2. Cheryl Miller says:

    Hi Rita – Puppy mills sell to pet shops so people don’t really see the circumstances of the breeding operation. Lots of bad karma being generated. Thanks for spreading the word.

  3. Monica says:

    Sophie’s adorable, Cheryl! And, I’m sure she is so grateful to have a loving home. When I was younger, I didn’t have a clue about backyard breeders and pet shop dogs. I’m so much smarter now. A large puppy mill was recently shut down in western Michigan. Just makes you sick when you see the conditions the animals were subjected to. I have no answers other than boycotting pet stores that sell dogs from mills and making sure the punishment for running a puppy mill is harsh.

  4. Cheryl Miller says:

    Hi Monica – nice to hear from you. BTW the shampoo/conditioner you recommended is really fantastic – really moisturizes.

    Yes we need to boycott pet stores but we also need to get involved in the regulation of the breeders – that’s where we can make the most difference. Having worked for the State of Kansas, I know it makes a big difference when people contact the Governor and their legislators. Makes them edgy….so let’s do more of that! Enjoy the weekend!

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