artical about puppy mill auctions
i read this when i was looking at the english toy spaniel rescue website and i thought id post it.
The following article, written by a long-time rescuer
For The Dogs
A Missouri Dog Auction, Nov., 2000
I will never look at the world in the same way again.
I attended my first puppy mill auction in Missouri this weekend, determined to bring home from the auction as many of my breed as I possibly could. I was able to get six dogs. Six dogs pulled from a life of misery.
But that was only 6 out of 200+. I wanted them all. I wanted to run, ranting like a mad woman through the dirt isles of stacked cages, a screaming pied piper, opening and releasing every last one of those imprisoned souls. What I saw behind those latched doors broke my heart, and made it virtually impossible to maintain my equilibrium or my sanity.
I could do this, HAD to do this, for the dogs. For the dogs....
Some cages held one-eyed dogs, others held dogs with recent cuts, and old, ugly scars, dogs with toenails an inch long, dogs whose hair was one large mat, pregnant bitches close to delivery, dogs missing ears, legs, teeth.
There were no wagging tails, no yelps of delight; no bright, trusting eyes or barks of playful banter. Most cowered in the farthest corners of their cages, two or more huddled close together, as if their closeness would bring them some measure of comfort in dealing with their shared misery.
Dog after dog was auctioned to the highest bidder, often with such sales pitches as: "Missing an eye, but sees well enough to hit his mark": "This girl is only a year old, but she has earned her keep by already producing one litter - now she's got another on the way - a bonus for you"; "This bitch has had 19 pups in a year and a half - just the kind you want"; "Bitch only has three legs - big deal, she won't be passing that on." And on one male dog, who refused to stand on the table because of an injured foot, the auctioneer remarked, "Don't let that bother you, he can still get it on."
Dogs were often held high in the air for all to see, tails lifted to gauge whether they were in heat, mouths probed roughly to check their bites, and abdomens poked and prodded to check for pregnancy because "this one's been running with Jax - could give you a surprise."
My heart stopped, and my eyes welled when I saw the first, and only two females, in my breed brought to the auction table. Their eyes remained downcast, their tails tucked, their bodies postured with fear. The bidding on them often reached feverish levels, the bids coming so fast and furious, I was afraid I could not keep up. I hated bidding; I hated NOT bidding.
When I got the highest bid, the auctioneer said, "Which one do you want?" "I want them both," I replied. "Great," he said, "you're saving me time, little lady." When I got the final bid on the remaining, the last to be auctioned, I breathed a sigh of relief, and said a quiet thank-you to the man upstairs.
While waiting in line to get the dogs, a man approached us. “How many of that breed do you have back home?” “Only three,” was my reply. "Well," he said, "you are certainly in business now." Yes, I told him, I certainly am.
Rescuing just a few is worth the effort, worth the heartache, worth the dirt, stench, and barren desolate miles my husband and I endured. Six are safe, but so many more are not. Rescuing from these sleazy breeders is a necessary evil. It is only a drop in the bucket, I know, but it is SOMETHING.
For the dogs who are saved, it is everything.
Tell everyone you know about the horrors of puppy mills. Educate. Please educate. Relate my auction story, and the stories of other rescuers. We CANNOT stop the suffering bred in puppy mills without education of the public.
Find it in your heart to get involved with rescue, in whatever way you can. Attend an auction, donate your money, foster a rescue, or just encourage and support those battling in the trenches. You won't be sorry. Your heart may break, your eyes may be red-rimmed for days, but I promise you - you, too, will be forever changed.
Nina-Tri Colour Girl * Joey-Black & Tan Boy * Phoebe-Blenheim Girl * Holly-Ruby Girl *
Kira-Black & Tan Girl * Lewi-Black & Tan Charley Boy * Ella-Tri Colour Girl