Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Puppy Mill

I would like to write about my personal experience with a puppy mill. I responded to an ad in the local paper for parttime kennel help. I spoke with a very likeable old lady on the phone and with my experience there was no way she could turn me down. I showed up the next day at a nice home in a nice neighborhood. As soon as I stepped in the front door I knew there was going to be a problem. The stinch almost knocked me over and I couldn't even see or hear any dogs anywhere.

The old lady led me to her garage and I saw something that I'll never forget. There were rows and rows of cages piled 3 high full of 2 and 3 dogs minimum in each cage. The cages were on average 24x24. The woman apologized telling me that it had been a day or so since she had cleaned the cages. I knew from experience that some of those cages hadn't been cleaned in weeks. The excrement and urine from the top cages was running down the sides of the cages into the cages of the dogs underneath. The smell took my breath away and the fumes from the ammonia in the urine burned my eyes. I very nearly turned around and walked away thinking I had to go to the animal shelter about this but I also knew immediately that if I did at least 1/2 to 3/4 of these dogs would be put down. Their fur was badly matted or in some cases gone. There were blind dogs and dogs who couldn't even walk. I was speechless. In 13 years in the greyhound business I had seen some things I didn't like and even some outright abuse but never anything remotely on the scale of this!

She wasn't with me more than a couple of minutes when she excused herself-probably to breathe. I set about cleaning the raw sewage from the bottom of the cages. I was there 4 hours and I only managed to get to about 1/3 of the cages and I wasn't even disinfecting them. I was just cleaning out the uncrusted muck and shit soup trying to get as many cages clean as I could. There were at least 75 maltese stuck inside of about25 cages not to mention the yorkies and pappillions and a couple of other assorted dogs too. I knew that if I could get the lady to trust me that I could find homes for a lot of these dogs instead of a high percentage being put to sleep. That is exactly what happenned.

I stood there holding a couple of these dogs actually crying. I tried to take pictures when I went back but there was not enough light for the pictures to take. One dog in particular named Nikita(chinese crested) was there with 2 pups and she was just begging me with her eyes to help her. I vowed to get her a better home and I did, she came to live with me. I ended up finding homes for about 30 of those dogs and the lady contacted an adoption program in Virginia and gave away about 20 through them. I worked there for 1 1/2 years before I became disabled. They were getting more food because she was only feeding them every other day and I was tired of watching them eat their own poop so I started sneaking them food on the other days. She also bought new cages and other things that were needed for the kennel. Also she started giving them the grooming and attention that they so badly needed.

I worry about those dogs today but I know animal control has been called since I left and they won't do anything supposedly because the animals are outside of city limits. Another example of our government at work.

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