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Power, Peace, and Puppies: Common Sense and Nonviolence

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Photo: Brian Stemmler, Stemmler Photography

How humankind chooses to train and care for man’s best friend exposes deeper convictions about war and peace, dominance and submission, and joy and compassion.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~ Mohandas Gandhi

 

A Yelp for Help

Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue (www.mlar.org) wanted to get Oprah Winfrey’s attention. So he put up a billboard in Chicago several months ago that read, "Oprah: Do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need you." 


Billboard designed by Paul Harlacher
 

It worked! Oprah Winfrey did an exposé on puppy mills with internationally recognized investigator, Lisa Ling. [1] It gave the American public an unobstructed view of the canine concentration camps, breeding grounds of tragedy that dog world professionals have warned about for decades. [2]

Puppy mill dogs are continuously bred, typically spending their entire lives locked up in tiny, wire cages, undernourished, and plagued by flies, their coats matted with urine and feces. By the time they are rescued, some are just the tattered remnants of the misuse of power. And like humans and other animals, they can suffer from symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)[3] such as exaggerated startle response,  aggression, regressive housetraining behaviors, hyper-vigilance, difficulty relaxing or sleeping, difficulty adapting to new situations, and repetitive behaviors such as pacing,[4] among other symptoms. [5]

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Surprisingly, many puppy mills are nestled in Amish country, where a successful raid was conducted by the Pennsylvania SPCA on July 17th. A Pennsylvania Dutch farmer was arrested on multiple charges of animal cruelty, filmed live by the reality show Animal Cops, which will be continuing to trail the Pennsylvania SPCA for several more weeks.[6] Obscured by the picture-perfect façade of the simple life,[7] the exploitation has been protected, in part, by some of the local governments’ unwillingness to upset the tourist-trade apple cart.


Photo: www.susanweingartner.com

According to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), there may be as many as 10,000 puppy mills across the country. Public outcry has encouraged puppy mill raids, but even those dogs who are lucky enough to be rescued are just beginning their journey toward health and a happy home.

Rehabilitating the System by Telling the Tails

One canine concentration camp survivor has an inspiring story. She spent nine years imprisioned in a wire cage, continuously pumping out offspring, her vocal cords cut so she couldn't bark or whine.  Her tale is told by psychologist Jana Kohl in “A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere." (http://ararebreedoflove.com/)

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When she was too old to breed, and therefore deemed useless, “Breeder #94” was scheduled to be put down.  She was rescued in the nick of time—although not soon enough to save her left front leg, which had to be amputated as a result of her mistreatment. In spite of everything, “Baby” is now a happy, perky, unofficial spokesdog for the HSUS. She romps around the country as an animal rights activist, accompanied by her human. Kohl’s book features photos of Baby with celebrity supporters, from sports icons and actors to Barack Obama.

I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being. ~Abraham Lincoln 

Shelters and rescue organizations all around the country have stepped up to the plate to offer asylum to puppy mill rescues—which include the adult breeding dogs as well as puppies.

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http://www.merylannbutler.com

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had (more...)
 

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  I applaud you, Ms. Butler, on this well-wri... by Brian O'Moore on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 7:20:52 AM
And thanks to you, too, Brian!I would be THRILLED ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 12:30:41 PM
Wonderful article!!  I took the liberty of po... by Rebecca Schneider on Wednesday, Jul 30, 2008 at 4:25:19 PM
Great article. I only wish that National Geographi... by Georgianne Nienaber on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 7:55:23 AM
Thanks Georgianne!Well, I didn’t know that F... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 12:41:57 PM
Meryl, thank you, thank you for speaking so well f... by Suzana Megles on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 8:48:42 AM
Thanks Suzana, I am so glad you liked this, that m... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 12:55:20 PM
click here... by Georgianne Nienaber on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 1:29:36 PM
You might find it helpful to also accept comments.... by ear on Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 7:42:59 PM
Thank you, Meryl Ann. As I began reading I though... by Margaret Bassett on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 2:57:28 PM
I loved hearing about Brownie and about Joy's ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 3:43:43 PM
and I was glad to read that Arun is here in CA! we... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 1:59:12 AM
and for the time you invested to do so much intens... by Linda Milazzo on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 5:53:50 PM
Thanks, Linda! I watched your video those two... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 6:28:32 PM
from the comment because it didn't work when I... by Linda Milazzo on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 6:32:36 PM
i had to cut and paste the link - but I am on a ma... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 6:33:31 PM
it disappeared!LOL ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Monday, Jul 28, 2008 at 6:32:38 PM
Let us begin the trend to regard all people as one... by martinweiss on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 5:41:21 AM
Dear Martin,Thank you so much for your thoughtful ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 3:48:32 PM
information and topics covered in this article. I ... by shanti on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 6:20:52 AM
I am sorry for spelling your name wrong. Please fo... by shanti on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 6:50:51 AM
Shanti, you are right, of course , and I even had ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 3:51:11 PM
I always said: "You can tell a lot about a pe... by Bob Gormley on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 7:20:27 AM
Track that guy down for theft!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 3:55:47 PM
reminds us of our place on mother earth.... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:19:15 AM
It's lovely to get a comment from you! ;-)... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 3:57:22 PM
This is one of the most thoughtful, well written a... by Jan Baumgartner on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 11:56:35 AM
 I feel like you saw into my soul. I'm sp... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 4:00:16 PM
I LOVE my dogs, who are smarter than most people I... by shielah jones on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 12:34:10 PM
It sounds like you have a perfect pair!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 at 4:01:47 PM
Not only did I learn some valuable things myself, ... by ear on Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 6:49:49 PM
Good ratings keep the article exposed on the site ... by ear on Thursday, Jul 31, 2008 at 8:27:59 PM
hi ear!  thanks for your wonderful comments!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Saturday, Aug 2, 2008 at 1:28:27 PM
I consider this article to be something I would li... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Aug 2, 2008 at 1:45:40 PM
This is a great article that needs to be shared by... by Rebecca Schneider on Saturday, Aug 2, 2008 at 1:49:27 PM
I know St.Francis from heaven heartily approves M... by Suzana Megles on Saturday, Aug 2, 2008 at 2:15:45 PM
Comment from Ratings:   ... and an extre... by Brian O'Moore on Monday, Aug 11, 2008 at 2:41:18 PM