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Life Arts

A N.Carolina Puppy Mill

By       Message Suzana Megles     Permalink

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Today it was -7 in the Greater Cleveland area. Sadly, we were not the only ones suffering this polar blast. The only good thing for me this morning while walking to my neighborhood church for the scheduled liturgy for my parents was the lack of a biting wind. I was also surprised to see at least 20 other hardy people making it to church on this sub zero first Friday of Lent, and the men were surprisingly in the majority. So unlike the years when I was growing up. The women always outnumbered the men.
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I worry a lot about who is suffering in this freezing weather, and of course, I am not only concerned about the homeless, but I worry about how this cold weather impacts the animal and bird world as well. I can't believe that there are cruel people who think it's all right to leave their dog out in below zero weather in minimal shelter. How many of them will freeze to death? The only cure for these heartless people is to have them camp out one night in sub zero weather with little shelter. I think they would soon get
the message re their cruelty and indifference to the needs of their dog.
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From caged dogs
caged dogs
(image by Life Lenses)

On a rainy day in Magnolia, N.C. HSUS' Animal Rescue Members Jennifer and Tia arrived at a mass dog-breeding facility. They would find -- as so often is the case in puppy mills-a variety of small-breed dogs suffering from severe untreated medical conditions. These included dental disease, infection, tumors, eye issues, and malnourishment.

Some of these poor dogs experienced such severe dental disease which ultimately had rotted their jaws. How terribly painful this must have been as the disease progressed. No relief came for them from the cruel puppy mill owner.

One little dog's eyes had such severe eye issues that one of her eyes had to be removed to alleviate the suffering she was experiencing.

Many dogs were underweight and sick -largely the result of their dental disease. They could not chew or swallow hard food. They would wait until the food had become soft and rancid to be able to eat this unsavory food or starve.

I didn't read anything about fines or imprisonment for the owner, which in my opinion, was warranted. Somehow the owner got away with only surrendering 58 dogs on the property. It seems to me that N. Carolina has no laws against cruelty to animals. Owners like this could get away scott free after horribly mistreating these poor dogs.

Eight dogs needed immediate hospital attention, and were taken to an animal hospital nearby. Jennifer tells how she removed Ricky Bobby, a small paralyzed dachshund from the facility. Poor "RB" was terrified and shaking when she picked him up. Little did he know then that it was an "angel' who wrapped her arms around him on that rainy and unforgettable day in N. Carolina.

RB was one of the dogs needing immediate treatment. As he had been dragging his back legs along a cement floor for so long-his underside had open sores, inflamed patches, callouses, and muscle atrophy. Nor was this bad enough -- but his hindquarters were covered in urine scalding from being confined to bedding soaked in urine and feces.

The one thing in his favor is that being a Dachshund sometimes means that their paralytic condition --if treated by a veterinarian early enough, can be reversed.

Sadly, my very dear Patty, a small German Shepherd mix was not so lucky. Afflicted with Degenerative Myelopathy in her back legs, I did get wheels for her, but she never seemed to get use to them. I believe that they were a poor fit and caused her discomfort and even pain when we used them. After awhile, I put them aside.

As long as I could help her down the front porch steps holding her hind quarters as she used her front legs, I was happy that we were able to take care of her bathroom needs this way. During warm weather I would even let her lay for a while on the front lawn in the cool of the evening. I smiled in appreciation when a car stopped by seeing her laying on the lawn thinking she was abandoned or in distress. I came out when I saw the car stop and thanked them for their concern but assured them that Patty was okay.

Then the day came when even her front legs wouldn't work anymore, and of course, I had to put her down. A terrible experience for me having to say good-by to yet another loving animal companion. It never gets easier.

Ricky Bobby's story has a happier ending. He was adopted by Megan, a veterinary technician from CareFirst, the veterinary hospital where he was treated. Megan made him a wheeled cart which enabled RB to get around without hurting his underside. She did a great job of cobbling together PC pipe, wheels from a large cart that didn't fit him, air tires, a small pet harness and a make-shift sling. This "contraption" helped RB to move around effortlessly. The description of his cart sounded so much better than the comercial one which I had bought for my Patty. I wish that Megan had been around when Patty need her wheels. In my opinion, the manufactured
one I got for her was a bust, and she never got use to it. It may have even caused her pain to use.

I wondered how N.Carolina's Congressional legislators did on animal welfare issues. Judge for yourself. Senator Burr scored 20 and Senator Kay Hagan --0. Of the 13 Representatives -- Walter Jones scored 87, David Price 100, Mike McIntyre 50. The remaining 10 all scored below 50.

"It's easy to get lost in the numbers when it comes to puppy mills-2 million plus dogs churned out every year, 14 raids in N. Carolina, and 3,000 mills just in Missouri with 600 shuttered in that state alone since Prop B passed there. But RB reminds us that it's all about individual creatures, and
how your support allows us to turn around lives and give them a new beginning."

And sadly, I believe it was last year that some reporter on the Today Show exposed the Westminster Dog Show's partnership or at least support of puppy mills. And then it was disheartening to find out that even some Amish engage in puppy mills, and they often prove just as cruel as any other puppy mills we have learned about.

I can never understand the public's infatuation for pure breeds, which of course, has spawned the proliferation of puppy mills. Every one of my 7 dogs was a mix of either: Sheltie, German Shepherd, Samoyed, Chihuahua, or Chow. I found them all wonderful dogs, and I am glad that wanting or needing a pure breed dog has never even entered into my mind.
And you too may have seen the segment on the Today Show last year where it was disclosed that the Westminster Dog Show officials support the idea of puppy mills. I hope if this is true --that for you who are fans of the show and disapprove of this stand -- you will let it be known to them that
this is a completely wrong and unacceptable position to have if they really care about dogs.


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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)

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