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Posts Tagged ‘puppy mills’

Kathy Bauck

Kathy Bauck

Kathy Bauck, owner of Pick of the Litter Kennels in New York Mills, MN, was recently found guilty of four misdemeanors: one count of animal cruelty, and 3 counts of animal torture.  Her crimes involved dunking dogs into vats of insecticide and performing surgery on dogs without a license. Several dogs at the kennel were too weak and thin to stand up, and this woman has up to 1300 dogs in her “care” at a time. An officer of the ASPCA reported her to the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act back in 1998 and no action was taken.  Eleven years later, we finally get some kind of justice.

However, you might have noticed above that she was only convicted of misdemeanors – not felonies. In fact, she was cleared of all felony charges. Apparently animal TORTURE only ranks as a “misdemeanor”. In case you’re wondering what the definition of a misdemeanor is (as I was):  A crime punishable by less than a year of imprisonment in a county jail and/or a fine is considered a misdemeanor. Examples of misdemeanors include shoplifting, simple assault, disturbing the peace, and driving under the influence (provided no one is injured).

This monster tortured innocent animals, and will likely see no more than 20 days inside a jail cell. She is still allowed to keep her kennel and keep breeding animals. The only stipulation is that she has to agree to unannounced inspections.  By whom, I am wondering?  Clearly the USDA isn’t “on the ball” (yes, I realize they are understaffed, but it is their responsibility, and they let this go for 11 years!), so who exactly will be inspecting her and reporting her?  Who will do anything to make sure she doesn’t torture any more dogs?

I don’t have a lot of faith that any justice has actually been served and it is incredibly frustrating. It feels like the “victories” are so small sometimes, doesn’t it??

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Barack Obama & his daughters

President Elect Barack Obama’s two young daughters, Malia Anne (10) and Sasha (7), were promised that they could get a puppy if their father won the presidency.  Now that Obama has officially been elected (hooray!), it looks like these little girls will finally get their wish.  Now, I don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that most presidents of the past who have had dogs probably got fancy purebreds – “show quality” dogs.  I know a lot of smart & caring people who have gone to breeders or bought puppies at pet stores (ugh!) not realizing that essentially what they’re doing is condemning another dog who’s waiting in a shelter to death.  Until we stop creating demand from breeders and commercial breeders (puppy mills), this country will continue to euthanize millions of healthy, innocent dogs every year.

Obama knows this, and that’s why he has determined that his family’s first dog will be a rescue dog! I could not be happier.  The Obama family will be setting an example for families all across the nation, showing them that rescue is an option, and that you can find a wonderful pet at your local shelter.  Every dog in my family has come from local shelters, most as adults, and they all easily became a part of the family.

I can’t wait to see which lucky pup Malia and Sasha choose to join their family in the White House, and I hope all Americans see and follow Obama’s example!

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Ellie May

Ellie May

Update #1: A while back, I told you that my sister adopted a pug/french bulldog mix from the Humane Society. Ellie is a darling little girl with huge ears and a sweet disposition. Ellie was one of the pups rescued from Mystic Elegance Kennels in Olmsted County, MN. When we got her, she had had a cyst removed – it had been growing on her forehead and was left untreated. The owner of Mystic Elegance, Shelly Whelan, was selling pugs, boston terriers, french bulldogs and a few other breeds via the internet. At the time of the rescue, there were 131 live rabbits and 73 live adult dogs on the premises. There were also several rotting carcasses of dogs, rabbits and farm animals. Well, I am sad to report that Whelan did indeed regain custody of some of the animals: 15 adult rabbits and their litters, 1 goat with her 2 kids, and 25 adult dogs with their litters. She was fined $10,000 and ordered to keep the animals in more appropriate enclosures. I am so disheartened by this news. I think of little Ellie locked in a kennel all day long and it breaks my heart. She has such a sweet personality — one that has taken quite a while to come out after her unfortunate start in life — and I’m sure the animals Whelan recovered are the same way, and they will never know the joy of living with a loving family, stealing underwear and shoes, and peeing on carpets. They will only know loneliness and suffering. For more information, check out this website and the court order – and PLEASE don’t buy pets over the internet.

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Update #2: Regarding The Truth About Dolphins in Captivity: A letter to the editor of the Caribbean News Network from former dolphin trainer Richard O’Barry. 38 years ago, O’Barry left the captive dolphin industry and has been educating the public about its evils ever since. This letter is extremely well written and highlights many of the things I touched on in my post. O’Barry also wrote a book called Behind the Dolphin Smile.

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A couple weeks ago my sister and I took my Boston Terrier, Otis, and her new puppy mill rescue, Ellie, for a long walk around Lake Calhoun. It was something of a nightmare because Ellie still has no idea how to do normal dog things like “walk in a straight line”. She kept tangling us all in her leash again and again and again. I thought maybe she’d follow Otis’s lead, but no, she has her own ideas about how to walk and that’s that. She is making tremendous progress, however, and is even getting a little cuddly now with us! She still prefers other dogs, and that may always be the case, but she’s warming up. She is such a doll. Here are some photos of our walk:

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This past weekend my youngest sister adopted an 8 month old puppy from the local Humane Society. She is a French bulldog/pug mix (the dog, not my sister – har har!) and has been named Ellie May. Ellie, silly

Ellie was rescued a couple weeks ago here in Minnesota: “They were in a barn in wire cages with cobwebs everywhere, sitting in their own feces,” [a Humane Society Rep] said. Don’t puppy mills sound lovely!? Yes, they sound lovely to me too. In case you’re wondering, no, that’s not her brains you see in that picture. She had a rather large cyst removed, and while it looks pretty awful right now, it’ll heal, and hopefully look like this eventually (thank you, amateur Photoshop skills):

Ellie without sore

Anyway, back to this puppy mill business: Ellie May has escaped quite a horrible fate, and stepped into the lap of luxury in joining our family. She doesn’t know it yet, and still thinks we might be trying to hurt her at any given moment, but when she figures it out, I imagine she’ll be quite happy about the whole thing. In the meantime, she is a big hot mess. Potty training has been interesting to say the least. Having been confined in a filthy kennel every day of her whole life, she hasn’t quite figured out that “we don’t go potty inside”. In general she just doesn’t act like a “normal” dog—for example, she is so submissive that she shimmies along the floor on her belly – she hardly stands up at all. Her tail stays firmly tucked between her legs except when she is playing with other dogs (something she is just learning how to do). She doesn’t want humans to touch her, and positions herself in a room so that she always has her back to a corner and her eyes on everyone in the room. It is really quite depressing, and makes me wonder what the dogs who were at this place for YEARS are like if she’s developed these behavioral issues in 8 short months.

And guess what? The woman who is responsible for treating Ellie May and hundreds of other animals this way is going to get some of the animals back. Thank you, Criminal Justice System, this is a great idea. Don’t worry, she is only getting a total of 43 of them back. FORTY-THREE. Let me just say that I have a hard enough time adequately caring for my (albeit very high-maintenance) dog and cat, and she’s going to get 43 animals back to provide such wonderful care for again. It makes me so angry that people can treat animals like this and get chance after chance after chance to do it again.

So, what can you do? First of all, if you want to adopt a dog, please do so from your local shelter or some other rescue group – do NOT go to pet stores or backyard breeders. Give dogs like Ellie a second chance at life. My dog Otis came from the Humane Society and I really couldn’t ask for a better dog. A less demanding dog? Sure–but not a better dog. He is such a sweetheart. Secondly, go to this site and educate yourself about how these dogs are raised, then take the pledge to help stop commercial breeding. Go watch this video and see for yourself how awful these places are, and then get involved!
On that note, I’d like to bring it back around to Ellie, a sweet little girl who has escaped that fate and will live the rest of her life with my sister, who will just love her to pieces forever – even if that potty training thing doesn’t go so well!

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