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.  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. 
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) 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, among other symptoms. 
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. Obscured by the picture-perfect façade of the simple life, the exploitation has been protected, in part, by some of the local governments’ unwillingness to upset the tourist-trade apple cart.