(They Must Be Stopped)


compiled by Dee Finney



The Animal Rescue Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on
it daily to meet their quota of getting free food donated every day to abused
and neglected animals.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "feed an animal in
need" for free.

"Feed and Animal in Need"

This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use
the number of daily visits to donate food to abandoned/neglected animals in
exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.  


The owners were breeding the dogs, including Chihuahuas, Chinese cresteds, Lhasa apsos, terriers and Pomeranians, and offering them for sale. Authorities believe the case may have been an example of hoarding, a behavior exhibited by elderly people in which they are unable to part with the animals.

800 Dogs Seized From Mobile Home

Posted: 2008-03-13
TUCSON, Ariz. (March 12) - About 800 small dogs, including Chihuahuas, terriers and Pomeranians, were seized from a triple-wide mobile home whose occupants were overwhelmed trying to care for the animals, authorities said Wednesday.

Pima County. AZ sheriff's deputies and animal welfare officials who removed the dogs also found 82 caged parrots in the home in a rural area northwest of Tucson.

Some dogs were pregnant and giving birth as they were taken to shelters in Tucson, said Jenny Rose, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Ninety-six dogs were taken from the house Monday and another 700 on Wednesday, she said.

"The home was definitely in very bad condition, urine and feces all over the home, in the kitchen and bedroom, with a very strong odor," she said. "Obviously, 800 dogs in a triple-wide mobile home, they were packed in there. That being said, they were in pretty good shape."

The elderly owners, who have not been identified, were apparently overwhelmed but have cooperated with authorities, sheriff's Sgt. James Ogden said. No charges have been filed, but authorities continue to investigate.

The animals appeared to have had enough food, but a few were missing paws - some from having been attacked by other animals, others apparently having caught their feet in fencing outside, Rose said.

The breeds included Chinese cresteds and Lhasa apsos. The owners were breeding and offering the dogs for sale, Rose said, but she described it as a hoarding case, in which elderly people sometimes feel no one else can give their animals a good home and won't part with them.

Deputies were alerted this month after a woman who bought a Chihuahua at the home reported the conditions, Ogden said.

The dogs living inside the house apparently had free run of the premises, Ogden said. Others were found in other structures on the property.

Ogden described the living conditions as "horrible, filth everywhere ... probably one of the worst (situations) I've ever seen."

The animals will be offered for adoption soon, Rose said, adding that a rescue group from Phoenix had taken 100 of the dogs.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Idaho shelter treats 500 dogs seized in Oregon

Couple charged with neglect of animals in ‘deplorable’ conditions

Kim Hughes / The Idaho Statesman

Dogs are crowded inside one of many pens at the 2nd Chance Animal Shelter in Fruitland. More than 500 dogs were rescued Thursday from Barbara Erickson of Harper, Ore., who could be charged with up to that many counts of animal neglect. The shelter is overwhelmed by the number of dogs and is seeking volunteers and donations to help with the crisis.

• How to help - Donations can be made to the 2nd Chance Animal Shelter at accounts in the shelter´s name at any branch of Intermountain Community Bank or Farmers and Merchants Bank. More than 500 dogs are being cared for at the shelter but will not be available for adoption until they have received veterinary care. The shelter will notify the public when the animals can be adopted.  Volunteers are needed 24 hours a day at the shelter. To volunteer, call (208) 642-2790.

The shelter needs the following items:

Towels. Dog shampoo. Dry and canned dog food. Shovels. Large trash bags. Hydrogen peroxide. Dog clippers. Brushes, scissors and combs.

The Idaho Humane Society is collecting donations for the shelter and will deliver them early in the week. The Humane Society is at 4775 Dorman St. in Boise. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Sunday.

• Animal hoarding - The case of Barbara Erickson, who has repeatedly been cited for keeping hundreds of dogs, fits the description of a mental condition called animal hoarding, according to Barb Hutchinson, president of the 2nd Chance Animal Shelter in Fruitland. “They love their dogs,” Hutchinson said. “They honestly believe the dogs are better off living in those conditions, even when they get past the point when they can care for the animals.”

• Tufts University - ANIMAL HOARDING

Chereen Langrill

The Idaho Statesman

FRUITLAND — A team of volunteers will spend the weekend trying to save more than 500 dogs rescued Thursday from what authorities described as “deplorable” conditions at an eastern Oregon home.

Barking and piercing cries rang out Friday through a makeshift three-room animal shelter in Fruitland. Many workers inside the 2nd Chance Animal Shelter wore masks to block the powerful stench of ammonia, urine and feces. Visitors were told to wash their shoes with bleach before entering their homes because of the diseases shelter workers suspect many dogs carried.

More than 50 volunteers worked Friday amid the chaos. They built crates and pens for the dogs, held the animals and bathed them. Many of the dogs suffer from disease, malnutrition and severe neglect. Veterinarians worked through Friday night to treat 89 dogs, and shelter workers estimated six dogs were euthanized Friday.

Barbara Erickson, 76, was jailed on charges of misdemeanor animal neglect Friday morning, said Malheur County Sheriff Andrew Bentz; she also had been charged in 1996 in Idaho for hoarding dogs in Washington County. Her husband, Robert Erickson, 64, was cited on animal neglect charges Thursday night.

Police removed hundreds of dogs Thursday night and Friday morning from the Erickson home at 3369 U.S. 20 in Harper, Ore., about 20 miles west of Vale. They confiscated about 30 more dogs from a van driven by Barbara Erickson when she was arrested in Ontario Friday morning.

The shelter is set up like a medical triage unit. Healthier animals are confined to one room, where trembling dogs huddled together in corners on Friday. Unsocialized dogs are kept in the few crates available. Dogs covered in mud and feces are located in another room. Another pen holds about 20 dogs that are not expected to survive.

These critical cases include some dogs missing an eye, a dog with a broken jaw and dogs without fur because of severe mange. Other dogs are blind or suffer from seizures.

A ’madhouse’

Shelter Director Sarah Sharette answered a steady stream of calls on her cell phone Friday. She tried to convey the chaotic scene as she talked to one caller.

“It´s a madhouse down here. It´s a madhouse,” Sharette said.

About 20 people worked until 4 a.m. Friday collecting dogs at the Erickson home, Bentz said. Many dogs were wild and difficult to capture, he said.

When investigators arrived at the Erickson home, they discovered 300 more dogs than they expected to see when they obtained a search warrant Thursday morning. They found 200 dogs living inside the five-room house and nearly 300 outside. Barb Hutchinson, 2nd Chance president, who helped rescue dogs from the home, said there was a pile of dead dogs on the property.

Volunteers began arriving at the shelter Thursday night as news spread.

“Grab a dog and cuddle,” Hutchinson told volunteers who asked how they could help Friday.

Pamela Schuldt of Ontario arrived at midnight Thursday. On Friday, she cradled a small black dog wrapped in a towel and said she couldn´t sleep knowing there were dogs suffering at the shelter. As she sat alone in the shelter Thursday night, she said, she held one dog in her arms and watched it die.

“That´s when I lost it,” Schuldt said.

A signup sheet was posted in the shelter Friday afternoon to organize the approximately 50 volunteers into shifts.

Stephanie Wilcox of Boise took the day off from her job at the Family Advocate Program to help at the shelter. She cradled a trembling Chihuahua that had been vomiting Friday. She said she would return today to help again.

“It´s indescribable to me,” Wilcox said. “I just want to cry, but I´m not going to. I´m going to be strong.”

One man carried a small black dog through the shelter Friday. The dog´s back legs were gnarled and withered.

“Where are the critical ones?” he asked.

As he gently lowered the dog into the pen with the other critical cases, another volunteer cooed and spoke softly to the suffering creature. “We´re so sorry, little one,” she said. “We´re so sorry.”

Veterinarians from throughout Idaho and Eastern Oregon traveled to the shelter late Friday to begin treating the animals. Dog groomers offered free help to bathe and clip the dogs. Bags of dry dog food were piled near the front door. People carried in bags filled with blankets.

The shelter was being prepared to open in the coming months, Hutchinson said.

Now, the shelter designed to hold about 60 dogs is jammed with some 500 canines.

“I know the facility looks bad, but I´ll tell you what: This is paradise compared to what they were used to living in,” Hutchinson said.

To offer story ideas or comments, contact Chereen Langrill

cdlangrill@idahostatesman.com or 208-373-6617

Edition Date: 01-25-2003



What You Can Do

No one has more power to fight puppy mills than YOU, your kids, your co-workers,
your friends, and your relatives.. In each individual's hands is the ability to stop the cycle
of abuse that ends with the purchase of a puppy mill puppy at a pet store.

Don't Buy A Dog From A Pet Store

If you want a happy pet, shop here:  Petco
 At Petco, we put our heart into helping the homeless. 
In partnership with numerous animal welfare organizations nationwide, 
such as county animal shelters and local humane societies, 
Petco helps find homes for thousands of homeless pets every month.

or get your pet here:  Petsmart
Can you believe seven million dogs and cats are still being euthanized each year? 
That, unfortunately, is the estimate. PETsMART Charities is a 501 (c) (3) organization, 
formed by PETsMART Inc to help reduce this number and end the use of 
euthanasia as a means of pet population control.


It's that simple. Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Because it is
virtually impossible to determine the quality of the breeding facility listed on the puppy's
papers, the more humane option is simply not to buy the dog at all. Although the
consumer may be reassured that American Kennel Club (AKC) papers guarantee a
quality dog, in reality, nothing is further from the truth. After years of artfully dodging
the question of how AKC papers could be registered to dogs and puppies found in
the worst of puppy mills, the AKC itself is admitting the misconceptions that are
connected with purebred papers.

Pet stores aren't the only places who abuse AKC registration.  Even home breeders
abuse the privilege of having AKC registration by sending for papers for one dog that
actually belong to another dog.  There is NO guarantee that AKC is guaranteeing
anything at all.  AKC doesn't know any of these dogs listed on their papers. There is
no way for them to know this information. It is merely a tracking system of pedigrees
which aren't necessarily even true.  The only thing guaranteed by AKC papers is that
you will pay a high price for a dog that may not even be as nice or as friendly and
adorable as a puppy or older dog you can get at your local humane society and at the
same time, save a life.


West Nile Infects Four Louisiana Dogs



.c The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Four dogs with encephalitis-symptoms had the West Nile virus, state officials said in one of the first signs the disease may be  becoming more widespread in animals.

Three of the dogs died, state veterinarian Martha Littlefield said Friday. They had symptoms that included seizures, trouble walking, ``stargazing,'' and flinching at a gentle touch.

The virus may not have caused the disease, but veterinarians should consider West Nile as a possible cause of brain or central nervous system trouble in dogs, Littlefield said.

Mostly spread through mosquito bites, West Nile virus has infected 2,768 people in 34 states and Washington, D.C. so far this year and killed 146  people, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

It has also infected more than 110 species of birds, including the bald eagle and the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane. Horses have also been  susceptible. The American Veterinary Medical Association has estimated at least 40 percent of the horses infected with West Nile during a 1999 outbreak died.

But the disease has been rarer in dogs and cats. Officials at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reported last month the deaths of a 3-month-old wolf and an 8-year-old dog were linked to West Nile.

The American Veterinary Medical Association's Web site reported three cats who died in 1999 and 2000 were believed to be infected.

``The biggest thing right now is that so many people have been told it's not a big deal in dogs, so a lot of veterinarians don't look for it,'' Littlefield said.

None of the dogs in Louisiana was old or otherwise ill, she said.

The youngest was a 5-month-old German shepherd. The oldest, a 6-year-old Dalmatian, has recovered.

On the Net:

American Veterinary Medical Association

10/19/02 01:55 EDT


Proposed Puppy Rules Create Stir
Wed Apr 3, 2002


WASHINGTON - Hardly a whimper was heard when the Senate approved a Puppy Protection Act specifying how often dogs can be bred and how their puppies are to be treated. Happy puppies make better dogs, said backers of the rules.

  But the American Kennel Club is lobbying to stop them from becoming law, arguing that federal inspectors would be unleashed to poke around private homes all over the country. The group wants the rules stripped from the final version of a bill overhauling federal farm programs.

"If the people who are currently closest to dogs — breeders, veterinarians and animal behaviorists — don't have a consensus as to how is the best way to raise a dog, then how can the federal government have a way?" said AKC spokeswoman Stephanie Robinson.

The Puppy Protection Act, which the Senate passed on a voice vote, is one of several animal welfare provisions that were added to either the Senate or House versions of the farm bill, and they are all in trouble as negotiators write the final legislation. One measure would ban trafficking in bear parts, while others would forbid the interstate shipment of fighting birds and stop the marketing of sick and injured livestock.

The Agriculture Department regulates 3,400 breeders of dogs and other animals and inspects them about once a year to ensure they meet sanitary standards and other requirements.

The Puppy Protection Act would limit how often dogs could be bred and require that puppies be properly socialized by exposure to people. There's also a three-strikes-you're-out provision that would revoke a breeder's license after a third violation.

"We're talking about establishing a safety net to protect dogs, puppies, and the consumers who care about them against the poor treatment practices of the really bad dealers," said Sen. Richard Durbin  D-Ill.

USDA currently regulates only breeders whose puppies are sold through pet stores. But the rules could potentially be imposed on many more breeders if animal welfare groups are successful in winning a lawsuit. A federal judge ruled last year that the department should regulate breeders who sell directly to the public as well as to stores. The case is now on appeal. There would be an exemption for people who keep fewer than four female dogs.

On its Web site, AKC urges dog breeders to contact members of Congress about the legislation, warning it could require USDA "to go into hundreds of thousands of individual homes to inspect and regulate" how breeders and even ordinary pet owners treat their dogs.

Animal welfare groups say the rules are aimed at "puppy mills" that mass-produce puppies.

"It's real important that animals be properly socialized and be able to fit within the family setting and the community," said Lisa Weisberg, a senior vice president for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Although congressional aides and some lawmakers have been meeting on the animal welfare issues, it's premature to say what will happen to the measures, said Keith Williams, a spokesman for the House Agriculture Committee.

The American Kennel Club, which collects fees for registering dogs, says people who are considering buying a puppy should visit the breeder to check on the conditions.


The House and Senate bills are H.R. 2646 and S. 1731.


On the Net:

Information on the bills: http://thomas.loc.gov/

USDA: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/index.shtml

American Kennel Club: http://www.akc.org

ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org


Dog breeders, humane groups scrap over proposed new puppy rules
Wed Apr 3, 2:39 PM ET


WASHINGTON - Hardly a whimper was heard when the U.S. Senate approved a Puppy Protection Act specifying how often dogs can be bred and how their puppies are to be treated. Happy puppies make better dogs, said backers of the rules.


But the American Kennel Club is lobbying to stop them from becoming law, arguing that governnment inspectors would be unleashed to poke around private homes all over the country. The group wants the rules stripped from the final version of a bill overhauling federal farm programs.

"If the people who are currently closest to dogs — breeders, veterinarians and animal behaviorists — don't have a consensus as to how is the best way to raise a dog, then how can the federal government have a way?" said AKC spokeswoman Stephanie Robinson.

The Puppy Protection Act, which the Senate passed on a voice vote, is one of several animal welfare provisions that were added to either the Senate or House versions of the farm bill, and they are all in trouble as negotiators write the final legislation. One measure would ban trafficking in bear parts, while others would forbid the interstate shipment of fighting birds and stop the marketing of sick and injured livestock.

The Agriculture Department regulates 3,400 breeders of dogs and other animals and inspects them about once a year to ensure they meet sanitary standards and other requirements.

The Puppy Protection Act would limit how often dogs could be bred and require that puppies be properly socialized by exposure to people.

"We're talking about establishing a safety net to protect dogs, puppies, and the consumers who care about them against the poor treatment practices of the really bad dealers," said Sen. Richard Durbin.

USDA currently regulates only breeders whose puppies are sold through pet stores. But the rules could potentially be imposed on many more breeders if animal welfare groups are successful in winning a lawsuit.

On its Web site, AKC urges dog breeders to contact members of Congress about the legislation, warning it could require USDA "to go into hundreds of thousands of individual homes to inspect and regulate" how breeders and even ordinary pet owners treat their dogs.

Dogs, cats lived in squalor



(Published: Thursday, May 17, 2001)

MERCED, CA -- Deputies found more than 200 animals Wednesday morning at a rural Merced County home that had been the subject of neighbor complaints six months ago.

Deputies counted about 120 dogs, 50 cats, three snakes and a handful of birds inside the home. An additional 50 dogs were found in pens and an outlying barn on the Minturn Road property south of Le Grand.

The homeowner, Elizabeth Lindsay Thompson, 59, was arrested on a Solano County warrant charging her with animal cruelty. She was released on $5,000 bail Wednesday afternoon.

"We expect to arrest her on charges of felony animal cruelty when she comes back here," Merced County sheriff's detective Jim Johnson said.

Cages for the dogs were stacked throughout the four-bedroom home. In one small bedroom, 26 cages were found, some with as many as three dogs inside. Feces overflowed from some pens, and authorities had to ventilate the house before they entered.

"The ammonia levels inside were twice the level considered to be healthy," Sgt. Tom Cavallero said.

Kristi Garrett, operations supervisor for the Merced County Animal Shelter, said the animals received a quick examination and shots before being taken to new lodgings. Stanislaus County animal control workers assisted in the process.

Some dogs went to private kennels, while others were shipped to the Clovis Animal Shelter.

The dogs were in good health, considering their environment, Garrett said, but three had to be euthanized.

Six months ago, employees of a neighboring nut-processing plant reported noise from dogs tunneling through the fences and an overpowering stench when the wind shifted, Garrett said.

At the time, Thompson said she planned to obtain a kennel license, which is required anytime a county resident has more than four dogs in one location.

"We finally decided things weren't going to get any better, so we came back here today," Garrett said. More than 30 animal control officers and deputies raided the home at 8 a.m.

"In some of the kennels in the back there was no way for them to get out of their waste," she said. "One kennel had seven puppies in it. There was no food or water in any of them."

Even though she had an idea what was going on behind the closed doors, Garrett acknowledged, "I was more overwhelmed by what was inside than I thought I would be."

The dogs included whippets, basenjis, borzois, great Danes, cocker spaniels and basset hound mixes, she said.

All of the dogs will be observed to make sure they are healthy and can socialize with people. Garrett said Thompson has 14 days to compensate the county for its costs before the animals become county property.

"We're going to try to place in homes the ones we don't have to euthanize," she said. "We want to find homes for everyone."

The raid taxed the county's budget and facilities, Garrett said. "If the public would like to donate anything, we need it," she said.

Donations can be made by calling Garrett at 209 -385-7436. Immediate needs include money, blankets and food.

Shelter works to gain custody of abused dogs
Public outcry reverberates around the nation

Pinnacle Staff Writer

Hollister shelter officials spent the past week working through the courts to gain official ownership of 147 dogs confiscated in an alleged puppy mill.

The work has come as shelter officials also continue to investigate allegations of abuse against Ken Hershey Jr., accused of keeping the dogs and puppies in inhumane conditions at his ranch on San Juan Grade Road.

"We’re working as hard as we can," said Julie Carreiro, supervisor for Hollister’s animal control department. "This is the biggest investigation we’ve ever done."

The dogs are now in the custody of the Hollister Animal Control, but the shelter isn’t the only agency that is involved in the investigation of the animal cruelty case, which extends beyond state borders.

"This thing has more angles to it than a double pyramid," said District Attorney Harry Damkar, whose office is working with other agencies in the investigation. "A charging decision will be made very soon."

Damkar could not comment further because the investigation of the case is continuing.

The news of the April 11 dog raid at the Hershey Ranch near San Juan Bautista has resulted in an outpouring of outrage and donations from animal lovers, dog breeders, and folks just plain disgusted by the report of alleged massive dog abuse.

"To me, this is a case of blatant animal cruelty," said Cynthia Cutler, program director of the U.S. Humane Society, who participated in the raid.

The story resonated throughout the nation.

"We’ve received calls from Texas, Wyoming, Merced, and a couple from Greenfield donated $1,000," said Carreiro, who added that one call came from a man in Australia who had read the story on The Pinnacle web site.

The story also provoked long discussions in Internet chat rooms for dog breeders, and initiated e-mail messages expressing shock. An on-line chat room called The Breeder Supply Forums produced comments on the Hershey raid from one person who suspected that last week’s front-page photo depicting a matted, feces covered poodle was staged. Hundreds of others writing on the forum were thoroughly dismayed.

"Anyone who keeps even one animal in that condition should be in a jail cell," one person wrote.

Another wrote, "I think it should be stipulated this guy never owns another animal."

The local shelter was swamped with support after news reports that sheriff’s officers and animal control investigators seized 147 unlicensed and abused dogs and puppies in what is believed to be one of the biggest animal cruelty cases ever to occur in the county. Hershey is accused of running an illegal, unlicensed puppy mill.

The conditions the dogs lived in were so appalling Carreiro said it was the worst she had ever seen. Local animal control officers had to call in assistance from outside agencies, including the United States Humane Society, Salinas and Monterey Animal Controls, and Santa Clara’s Humane Society.

Eleven different breeds of dogs, including poodles, pomeranians, chihuahuas, and lots of Australian cattle dogs were living in filthy cramped quarters. Some were living in cages filled with feces, without food or water, and some had never had human contact other than a bad one. Some had cannibalized others to survive. Others were chained to trees.

No arrest has been made yet, but suspect Hershey filed for bankruptcy shortly after the two-day raid, and a meeting of his creditors will take place May 8 at the Salinas Quadrangle.

"So it sounds like we will be footing the bill for this," said Carreiro. "Which is good because I want these dogs. I don’t want him to get them back."

She explained that despite the generous $90,000 the Hollister City Council put in for the care of the dogs, the money is expected to last only through June, and disposition of the case should take longer than that.

Hershey failed to respond to a notice posted on his ranch gate that allowed him until 5 p.m. on Monday to reclaim the dogs or they would be relinquished to the City of Hollister, something on which Carreiro still was meeting at press time Wednesday. Giving up the dogs, however, does not end Hershey’s involvement in the matter. He is, by law, required to pay for the care of the dogs while they are in the city’s care, but his bankruptcy move apparently cancelled that out.

On Monday, Carreiro showed a detailed investigative report to City Attorney Elaine Cass, then delivered it to D.A. Damkar.

One Hollister man said he had a run-in with Hershey recently over a dog. Dave Alexander of Hollister said he was traveling last with his wife along the San Juan Grade Road near Hershey’s ranch when he noticed a dirty, stray dog.

"It was horrible," Alexander said. "He wasn’t afraid, but he got into the back of the truck because there was food."

As he started toward town, Alexander said that two men chased him down in a truck – one of them being someone he now recognizes as Hershey from a photo that ran last week in The Pinnacle. After Alexander told him was taking the dog to the pound, Hershey told him the dog was so matted because he used him as a sheep dog.

"He told me, ‘If you send it down there, they’ll neuter him,’ I remember that," Alexander said. "They both gave us an uneasy feeling. We were sure they had a gun and were ready for the next step."

Carreiro said that Hershey, as far as she knows, has never had a kennel license throughout his long career of alleged dog abuse.

Hershey had been arrested in at least two other states on charges of animal cruelty and fraudulent dog sales. In 1989, he was reported as having 30 aliases when he was arrested in Florida and fought extradition to Santa Clara County, where he was wanted for animal cruelty in a puppy mill. Then later in Houston, Hershey was arrested again for cruelty to 84 dogs.

The dogs that survived and were taken away from Hershey ranch, which he advertised as being "ranch raised" by his Wrangler Australian Cattle Dog Co. on the Internet, seem to be doing much better than when they were first discovered during the raid. At the Hollister shelter, they all had clean blankets, had been bathed and groomed, were getting nutritious food, and finally, a little TLC.

But most of the rescued dogs remain quiet and inanimate, as if shell-shocked and untrusting of people. They look up at humans from their kennels with wide eyes, and some will allow a pet on the head, but do not show much emotion aside from a tepid tail wag.

"That’s not normal for an Australian cattle dog," said shelter assistant Ann Azevedo. "They aren’t normally couch potatoes like this."

Azevedo has two Australian cattle dogs and knows the spunky spirit of the breed. She worries that when it comes time to adopt the rescued ones, people won’t understand the breed’s need for lots of room and exercise.

"They’re a herding breed," said Azevedo. "They’ll herd you, your children, even your cat."

While Hershey’s failure to respond to the notice has opened the door for eventual adoption of the abused dogs, the animals are far from ready to be placed in homes.

"Our goal isn’t just to get them out," said Carreira. "They are scared, need leash training and socialization. We want to rehabilitate them and find the best homes for them that we can."

Hershey not only has the bankruptcy hearing to face, but also is due in San Benito County Court on May 3 for charges of consumer fraud. An Ohio rancher filed a complaint that he paid Hershey for a Queensland Heeler, but never received the dog.

Carreira believes Hershey should be jailed for his numerous abuses.

"I’m really sad that the animals had to go through that, and that he’s done this over and over," she said. "But maybe this agency can put a stop to his abuse forever."

Thursday March 29, 2001

Animal Rescuers Make Gruesome Discovery

A recent case of animal abuse has been called the worst that they've ever seen, according to a local animal rescue organization, and they're trying to find out who's responsible.

  An animal rescue organization is trying to save the life of a small dog named Miracle, who's the victim of the abuse.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with animal officials about the 1-year-old Dachshund.

When members of Operation Peace rescued Miracle, the skin around her neck was cut down to her windpipe. Veterinarians said that her injuries are a result from being tied up with a Mason cord.

Lisa Shelton (pictured, below) of Operation Peace said that the dog was tied up at a construction site on Belews Lake near the Forsyth and Guilford county lines.

Veterinarians said that Miracle was rescued in the nick of time because the fly season is just around the corner.

"They said that it would have been very tragic," Shelton said. "There is no way she could have survived, so they think the cords were in there at least possibly since last fall."

Forsyth County deputies are looking for suspects.

Operation Peace said that the dog needs surgery.

"We have two couples already interested in adopting her, so we're going to make sure that she is going to be safe and happy for the rest of her life she deserves," Lori Smith (pictured, left) of Operation Peace said.


Saturday March 17 12:56 AM EST
Milwaukee, WI

Puppy Found Hanging From Tree

A puppy was found gasping for air hanging from a tree near 13th Street and Locust Avenue Friday afternoon.

A Milwaukee man driving by saw a group of children standing around the tree. He stopped when he noticed the children looking at something hanging from the tree. The puppy was hanging by a thick shoestring.

The animal was taken to the Humane Society, where he was put on an IV and Valium because of seizures.

A Humane Society veterinarian said that the dog has brain damage, and its prognosis is not good.

"The puppy has suffered a lot, although at this point he's really not feeling anything," veterinarian Randal Zeman said. "It's horrible because he's had to suffer a lot of pain."

The Humane Society is offering a $5,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of those responsible for the puppy's abuse.

Contact the Milwaukee Police Department with any information on the case.


 Pennsylvania News

Kennel owner guilty of cruelty to animals


BANGOR - A former Washington Township woman who has been investigated by animal protection and zoning code officials after poor conditions, dead dogs and animal carcasses that were found on her property pleaded guilty Friday to 27 counts of cruelty to animals.

Anna Frumina received a fine of $100 plus court costs by District Justice Todd Strohe.

An SPCA inspector and state dog warden inspected the RUSDOG kennel on Delaware Drive on Jan. 20, 2000. They found 57 dogs living in unsanitary conditions. They also found three dog carcasses and some deer carcasses.

According to zoning records, inspectors found garbage scattered throughout the inside and outside of the home, while the basement contained urine- and feces-soaked bedding. The records also say there was a urine stench on the first floor. The building was declared "unfit for human habitation," the records say.

Frumina surrendered her kennel license last year. By doing so, the limit to the number of dogs she could keep dropped from 50 to 25 under state law. But township regulations say that she could only have five.

At the time of the inspections, Frumina had been breeding rare dogs of Russian origin. One breed was the Caucasian Ovtcharka, which is used to protect flocks. It can weigh up to 200 pounds.

Frumina was charged with a section of the state’s animal cruelty law that prohibits the ill-treatment, neglect or abandonment of an animal. The section also forbids the withholding of a clean and adequate shelter for an animal.

© 2001 The Express Times. Used with permission.


Wednesday, February 21, 2001

49 dogs die in Chester County kennel fire

Kimbertal Kennels is a nationally known breeder whose customers include former Phillies pitchers Curt Schilling and Danny Jackson.

Eleven-month-old Rex, who was rescued by a firefighter, was the only dog who survived the fire in the rottweiler kennel. (Inquirer/Barbara Johnston)

By Benjamin Wallace-Wells

KIMBERTON - Forty-seven puppies and two adult dogs, all rottweilers, were killed today in a fast-moving fire at a Chester County kennel.

According to Robert Yarnall, the owner of the well-known Kimbertal Kennels, in Kimberton, Chester County, the blaze began around 11:30 and quickly spread through the building housing the rottweilers.

"I never thought this would happen," said Yarnall, who has operated the kennel for 37 years. "Then today, it happened.

"I was in the house with my wife and she saw the smoke. I went outside and I got within 10 feet and saw there was no way..."

The one-alarm fire was contained to one building. Other buildings on the grounds house Dobermans and others dogs bred by the kennel.

The puppies were all about seven weeks old, Yarnall said. One adult dog was rescued from the building.

Yarnall said three of the pups were to have been shipped to Canada tomorrow, having been sold for $1,800 a piece, which he said was a standard price.

Kimbertal Kennels is a nationally known breeder whose customers include former Phillies pitchers Curt Schilling and Danny Jackson.

The dogs were not insured, he said, but the building was insured for $50,000. He also said there were no sprinklers or alarms in the building.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Benjamin Wallace-wells's e-mail address is bwallace-wells@phillynews.com

  • Approximately 15 million dogs and nine million cats enter shelters throughout the US each year as strays.
  • Only 19% of dog owners and 3% of cat owners ever redeem their lost pets.


"From the Leash to the Laboratory"
July, 2000

Medical-research institutions draw on a thriving black market in stolen and fraudulently obtained pets

by Judith Reitman

If you're driving south on Missouri Highway 67 into Poplar Bluff, past acres of strip malls, a sharp left at Route 53 takes you into hardscrabble country, a place of violence and squalor in the southeastern part of the state. I made the drive on a saunalike morning in early August, reaching the Poplar Bluff Sale Barn around seven o'clock. Vendors had been arriving since dawn. On most days of the week livestock sales are held in the corrugated-tin auction barn. But Friday is Trade and Sale Day. Merchants were setting up folding tables under colorful umbrellas on the barn's dusty four-acre lot, across from the Gospel Rescue Mission and a dilapidated farmhouse hemmed in by the skeletons of junked cars. Some of the merchants were hawking homemade jams; others offered "emu juice" -- a supposedly medicinal broth -- or shotguns. Still others were "puppy-mill" breeders selling allegedly purebred dogs for $10 or $20 each.

But the big money, one vendor told me, is in the dogs sold to suppliers to medical-research labs. She pointed to the back lot, which was crowded with campers, station wagons, and pickups with license plates from Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. A number of the vehicles were fitted with "dog cabs," containing six or eight dogs crammed into small wooden crates. A red cattle trailer was packed with purebreds and mixed breeds. Men sweating under feed caps were pulling dogs out by their legs or muzzles. Many of the dogs were emaciated, their bellies swollen from worms or other parasites, their coats matted with their own feces and urine. The scene was hauntingly quiet. When a dog did bark, it was reproached with a swift kick.

Around eight-thirty a nondescript white van pulled onto the lot. The driver -- a registered dog dealer, licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- swung open the loading doors, revealing dozens of empty metal cages. About a hundred dogs were for sale on the lot. Soon sellers were clustered around the dealer's van. The day's trading had begun.

High-volume dealers like this one keep an inventory of 500 to 700 dogs in their kennels at any given time. They are supposed to buy dogs only from sellers who raised the animals themselves or bought them from "random sources" -- people who can prove that they raised them. Although USDA regulations call for dealers to obtain certain information from each seller, including a description of the animal being sold, many dealers will accept simply the seller's name, address, and signature as proof of ownership. "Hell, they don't raise those dogs," said a grizzled coon hunter who was observing the proceedings. "Some of them, they just pick up the dogs off the street and sell 'em. Make good money, too."

POPLAR Bluff sits in the heart of dog-dealing country. The Midwest's interstates and local roads are conduits for a vast network that transports stolen dogs from virtually every state for sale at trade days like this one. The number of dogs that go missing each year under suspicious circumstances has been conservatively estimated by shelters and pounds, animal-protection organizations, and veterinarians to be in the hundreds of thousands. Puppy-mill breeders and the organizers of dog fights buy their share, but the animals also end up as subjects in the biomedical-research industry, which pays top dollar. Although it is impossible to know how many dogs this is, Patricia Jensen, then a former USDA assistant secretary, testified in 1996 that "one of the most egregious problems in research" is the "introduction of stolen and fraudulently acquired pets into the process."

The clients who contribute to this trade include reputable medical schools across the country, where dogs are used in cardiovascular, bone, orthopedic, urological, burn, and dental research, in ballistics tests, in radiation and drug studies, and for dissection in physiology labs. Although federal law specifically prohibits the sale of stolen dogs, the agency charged with enforcing it -- the USDA, through the Animal Care program of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) -- has taken little effective action. And congressional initiatives, including virtually all attempts to pass stronger legislation, have failed.

The system for acquiring dogs for medical research is based on a complicated hierarchy, in which accountability is diffused. The system has remained largely the same since 1966, when Congress passed what soon became known as the Animal Welfare Act. The act set standards of treatment for medical-research animals and stipulated that labs can acquire them only from dealers who have been licensed by the Secretary of Agriculture -- a provision directly aimed at preventing the sale of stolen pets to labs. The USDA was not eager to assume responsibility for enforcing the act. When Congress proposed appointing the USDA to do so, the agency tried to be relieved of the duty; in a letter to Congress the Secretary of Agriculture suggested that an agency "more directly concerned" with the pet-theft issue should be considered for the task. That argument failed.

Any adult citizen of the United States, even a convicted felon, can acquire a USDA license to sell dogs to research institutions. There are two kinds of dealer licenses. Class A dealers, according to the broad terms of the act, breed dogs for sale. When they buy from Class A dealers, institutions have some assurance that they are buying dogs intended from the outset for research. But many institutions buy their dogs from both Class A and Class B dealers; the dogs sold by Class B dealers are less expensive and may offer a broader range of research subjects. This is where most problems lie.

Class B dealers are permitted to buy dogs from unlicensed sellers, known as "bunchers," as long as the bunchers can prove that they bred and raised the animals on their own premises or obtained them from someone who did. This restriction is aimed at ensuring that each dog can be traced to a legitimate owner -- that the animals are not stolen or obtained through fraudulent means. But for it to be enforceable dealers must keep and make available accurate records, and bunchers must give them accurate information. In its 1998 annual report to Congress, APHIS claimed that it was able to trace the original owners of more than 90 percent of the dogs sold for research. However, this number was derived by extrapolating from a very small sample. A random selection of inspection reports pertaining to five of the largest dealers shows that all have had record-keeping violations. Over the years there have been dealers who have not even allowed inspectors on their property.

In any given year as many as forty bunchers may supply a single high-volume dealer. For those unconcerned with the law, dogs are easy enough to come by. Bunchers may cruise neighborhood streets, picking up any dogs they encounter. They may obtain unclaimed dogs from veterinary clinics by offering to find homes for them, and may answer "free to good home" ads placed by owners trying to find someone to care for dogs they can no longer keep. Often a buncher answering such an ad brings along a child, in order to create a convincing picture of a welcoming home.

The price structure that has evolved puts certain breeds particularly at risk. The most valuable dogs are Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and shepherd mixes, Dalmatians, spaniels, golden retrievers, hounds, and border collies. Sometimes called "serum dogs," owing to backwoods folklore that a serum made from the blood of these dogs could cure cancer, they are prized by labs because they have large chests, which make them preferred subjects for cardiovascular research. Labs will pay a dealer as much as $800 apiece for them (the dealer has paid the buncher about $25 apiece). Serum dogs are generally guaranteed to remain alive for seven to ten days after purchase. Less-desirable breeds and mixes are sold by the pound, as "junk dogs" (usually guaranteed to live for a week) or "acute dogs" (guaranteed for only forty-eight hours).

AN Hannes, the sheriff of Cedar County, Iowa, dreads the spring. "That's when pet thieves come around," he says. The peak dog-stealing season extends through summer, with thefts occurring in state after state throughout the South and the Midwest. In August of 1998, during the Iowa State Fair, in Des Moines, some 350 dogs from the area were reported missing. Last summer an animal-welfare society in southeastern Missouri got calls about more than 200 missing dogs. Two years ago in Carroll County, Mississippi, several enraged hunters drove into a buncher's encampment, where they found their missing hounds; the hunters rammed the buncher's fence with their trucks and seized their dogs. Other Mississippi residents have found their dogs chained in bunchers' and dealers' kennels and at local trade days. "If you have a pet missing, the Ripley Trade and Sale Day is a good place to look," says Pete Samples, a criminal investigator with the police department of Ripley, in northern Mississippi, where one of the largest dog-trading events in the country is held. Last January more than 120 large purebred dogs were reported missing in southwestern Michigan. Vans purporting to represent an "animal-management service" had been seen cruising neighborhoods there. Similar vans have been associated with missing-pet episodes in Maryland and Alabama.

APHIS has broad authority to stop such thefts, by requiring dog dealers to comply with the law. It can assess and collect hefty fines and notify the sheriff's office about animals that are believed to be stolen. The agency is required by law to inspect and monitor kennels to ensure that the animals have been legally acquired. It is responsible for requesting the prosecution of any dealer who has stolen and sold a dog to a research facility, and is empowered to bring an injunction against any dealer it believes to be trading in stolen pets. However, the agency has taken few productive measures to halt the abuses. "We cannot be the on-site police," says Ron DeHaven, the deputy administrator of APHIS. "We can't be at every facility every day to make sure they are adhering to the regulations." It is difficult to prove that animals have been obtained through theft or fraud, DeHaven argues; the agency can usually prove only that dealers are keeping inaccurate or improper records.

In those instances when APHIS has gone after a dealer for record-keeping violations (a process that can take years, during which time the dealer may remain in business), it has generally reduced the penalties outlined by law, holding closed-door administrative hearings and allowing the dealers to stipulate to fines that are just a small fraction of what the Animal Welfare Act permits.

In a handful of instances APHIS has gathered enough proof of theft or so-called theft by deception to have dealers brought to criminal court. Even court-ordered penalties have typically not been severe. A case in point: APHIS placed an Oregon dealer, Betty Davis, and her husband under surveillance for fourteen months starting in December of 1994. During that time the couple sold ninety dogs to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, and the Los Angeles VA Medical Center. APHIS did not request a restraining order against the Davises, however. DeHaven told me that when the research institutions learned of the investigation, they "immediately ceased buying animals from [the Davises], so in essence [their] business stopped early in that two-year period." But court records show that the Davises continued buying and selling dogs until February of 1996, when the surveillance ended. Federal prosecutors subsequently filed charges. The Davises were indicted on eight counts, including defrauding the government and conspiring to obtain dogs through misrepresentation and deception -- from "free to good home" ads and veterinary clinics and off the streets. The matter was settled last year by a plea bargain, in which Betty Davis pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of conspiracy. The remaining counts of the indictment were dropped. The Davises were sentenced to just four to six months of detention in their own home. They were fined a total of $379.31-$354.31 to reimburse one research facility for returning some animals, and $25 for conspiracy.

A look at how APHIS handles dealer violations of all types may be instructive. "I have seen many instances where APHIS program officials are dismissing violation cases without the benefit of any investigation," one senior investigator, complaining of an "erosion of enforcement" within the agency, wrote in an internal memo in 1995. According to a 1995 report by the Office of the Inspector General, which oversees USDA practices, the fines collected by the agency during the previous year were no more than $300 per facility -- minimal amounts considering that many dealers report gross incomes of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Dealers view these fines as a "cost of doing business," the OIG concluded. "If we are talking about a small business and we are not putting them out of business, then any monetary penalties that we impose limit their ability to provide adequate care to the animals," DeHaven says.

In its 1998 report to Congress, APHIS boasted that its "stringent enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act" had helped to reduce the number of Class B dealers selling dogs for research from 104 in 1993 to thirty-three in 1998 (there are currently twenty-eight). Just as relevant, though, is the number of bunchers supplying these dealers -- a statistic the report does not give. However, in 1996 Michael Dunn, an assistant secretary for marketing at the USDA, told Congress that during the previous year the agency had searched for as many as 1,800 suppliers who were providing dogs to dealers, then forty in number. Furthermore, although there is a regulation that limits to twenty-four the number of dogs a buncher can sell each year, this is easy to get around. If dealers identify bunchers as "employees," those bunchers can legally obtain as many dogs for those dealers as their trucks can carry.

The USDA's leniency may reflect long-standing allegiances. APHIS has historically regarded institutions and their suppliers as its constituency. A 1995 Animal Care newsletter stated, "We exist to support our clients," referring to animal-welfare licensees. Top APHIS officials frequently go directly from the service to employment in the medical-research industry. For instance, James Glosser, the administrator of APHIS from 1988 to 1991, was subsequently hired as the assistant dean of veterinary medicine at the University of California at Davis. Conflicts of interest exist at lower levels of the agency as well. One former APHIS veterinarian told me, "Some inspectors talk about getting into dog dealing as good business when they retire." Others don't wait for retirement: at least two inspectors have themselves run breeding operations -- in one case a substandard one -- even while employed by APHIS to monitor kennels

Conscientious inspectors can't count on the agency's support. Some enforcement officers who have been relocated believe they were moved because of their zeal. Others -- for example, Marshall Smith, a former enforcement officer, who worked for the agency for almost twenty years -- tell of being ostracized for seeking punitive action against dealers.

Legislative action to halt pet trafficking has so far failed. In 1988 Senator Wendell Ford, of Kentucky, whose son's hound had been stolen, introduced the Pet Theft Act, which was intended to prohibit dealers from buying dogs and cats at trade days and increased the penalties for repeated pet theft violations. The act was defeated, owing in large part to opposition from the USDA and the National Association for Biomedical Research, a powerful lobbying organization, which argued that the bill would "inhibit research."

In October of 1993 Representatives George Brown and Charlie Rose, of California, sent a petition to the USDA, co-signed by twenty-seven of their colleagues, accusing the agency of "dereliction [of] duty" in the face of "evidence ... that USDA licensed animal dealers routinely buy and sell stolen family pets."In 1996 Representative John Fox, of Pennsylvania, introduced the Family Pet Protection Act, but this, too, was vigorously opposed by the NABR. In January of 1997 Representative Charles Canady, of Florida, introduced the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which was aimed at eliminating the entire random-source category. That bill did not make it out of committee; Canady reintroduced it last year.

In response to congressional outcries the USDA mounted a series of stolen-dog task forces. Their investigations resulted in little action. Two inspectors from a 1990 task force told me that when they examined the records of the leading midwestern dealers, they discovered rampant fraud. Dealers were listing suppliers who had long been dead, who did not exist, or who were obtaining animals from "free to good home" ads. The inspectors outlined these abuses in their reports. But instead of fining the dealers and revoking their licenses, the agency concluded that there was no evidence of pet theft and offered to license a large number of area bunchers as dealers. As for trade days, the agency deemed that they could be markets for "individuals desiring a quality pet."

In 1993, on the heels of the Brown-Rose petition, the USDA initiated another task force. According to Marshall Smith, the task force was quietly disbanded, with no action having been taken, even though there was indisputable evidence that dealers were falsifying records and breaking the law. The USDA commissioned yet another task force in 1994. This time dealers were not even questioned about their sources. Smith, who participated in several task forces, speaks of the agency's  "selective enforcement-case after case against dealers dismissed, and violators relicensed with barely a slap on the wrist." He describes the agency as having a "profound disdain for the Animal Welfare Act, for the public, and for Congress."  The USDA "provides a safe haven for criminals," Smith says.

The USDA and APHIS repeatedly point to their "concerted efforts" to address pet theft. For example, in a statement issued last February 13, in honor of Pet Theft Awareness Day, Michael Dunn spoke of the agency's firm stand on pet theft and its "significant progress in stopping the trafficking in stolen animals." The agency argues that its enforcement abilities, however, are limited by inadequate staff and funds. It maintains that most stolen dogs go to puppy-mill breeders or dog-fight organizers and that the likelihood of a stolen pet's being used in research is "remote." Nonetheless, the APHIS Web site advises pet owners whose animals are missing to get in touch with animal dealers and research facilities in their area -- an implicit acknowledgment that pets may end up there.

Are research institutions aware that they may be buying former pets? Dogs bearing tattoos and subcutaneous microchips -- unmistakable forms of identification -- were found in the kennel supplying the Universities of Iowa and Michigan. "I worry about the sources all the time, but we rely on enforcement by the USDA and on the integrity of the dealer," says John Harkness, who oversees the animals used in teaching at Mississippi State University. Harkness told me that he has tried tracing the origins of some of the university lab's dogs from dealers' records, "but it gets very murky." John Young, a lab-animal veterinarian at Cedars-Sinai, has also tried tracing the origins of animals he has bought. He says that he was given false information by Class B dealers and their bunchers, however, and that his lab was a "victim" of dealers who were obtaining animals through illegal means. As a result, Cedars-Sinai stopped buying from Class B dealers in 1995.

Other lab directors I spoke with readily acknowledged the poor health of the dogs they buy (several described receiving sick, dying, and dead dogs from suppliers to whom they nonetheless remain loyal), but were less forthcoming on the topic of pet theft. Some admitted knowing of record-keeping violations on the part of their dealers, but they appear to turn a blind eye, regarding the problem as a matter solely for the USDA. For example, the University of Missouri's primary dog dealer has a history of record-keeping violations that is documented both in APHIS inspection reports and in court records. But Leroy Anthony, the manager of the school's animal laboratory, says, "He's still in business, so he's doing something right." Ron Banks, the lab-animal veterinarian at the University of Colorado Health Science Center, told me that although he reviews inspection reports for suppliers who are new to the university and for those who have had violations, the overall responsibility lies elsewhere. "I worry about every part" of the system, he says, "but we have to rely on the USDA."

Institutions can afford to do business with dealers whose practices may be questionable: no laboratory has ever faced legal action for buying stolen pets. Some institutions have gone to court rather than reveal the sources of their animals. The State University of New York lost a two-year legal battle in 1998, when the New York Court of Appeals ordered it to disclose its records to a public-interest group.

The National Association for Biomedical Research maintains that pet theft is a "myth" and "an enduring falsehood," and continues to battle against restraints on dealers. The NABR Web site states that animal-rights activists use the "illusion that there is a demand by researchers for stolen pets" to generate "opposition to animal research in general." Pets that have disappeared, the group contends, are far more likely to have wandered off than to have been stolen. As for cases in which lab animals are obtained through "free to good home" ads, the Web site points out that "even in those instances the pets were turned over voluntarily -- they were not being stolen from owners who wanted to keep them." The site acknowledges that there have been "rare cases"in which family pets have ended up in research laboratories, but argues that USDA-mandated holding periods for pounds and dealers ensure that owners have adequate time to find a pet before it is sold for research.

By about 9:00 A.M. in Poplar Bluff the dealer was slamming shut his loading doors, muffling the barking of the dogs now crammed within. Only a few scraggly dogs remained on the lot. One buncher was preparing to haul his leftover dogs across the state, to an auction in Joplin. One was going to dump his dogs by the side of the road. Another talked about shooting his. Some of the small dogs were consigned to a "bait bin" on the lot, to be sold as live bait in organized dog fights. By ten o'clock the back lot was deserted -- a patch of dust under a flat sky. Several boys were combing the ground for coins and cigarette butts. But there was little to salvage: just a couple of dog collars attached to a metal chain.

Judith Reitman is the author of several books, including Stolen for Profit (1993) and Bad Blood (1996).

Copyright © 2000 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; July 2000; From the Leash to the Laboratory - 00.07 Volume 286.


What Tourists Don't See in Amish Country

by Bill Dolinger

A Reproduction of an article that appeared in Action Line, Fall 1994, pages 24 & 25

When you think of the Amish culture, chances are you bring to mind pastoral visions of a peaceful, reclusive people who have cast aside technology. The Amish life-style is perceived as one that mandates followers to strictly refrain from modern conveniences, but many Amish farmers have recently embraced one of the most cynical of modern phenomenon, the "puppy mill."

For years, the problem of puppy mills has been well-documented with public awareness being raised on the facilities in Midwestern states such as Missouri and Kansas. However, the number of puppy mills in Pennsylvania has grown exponentially in the past decade, with the highest concentration located in the heart of Amish-country. In 1991, Lancaster County records show a total of 41 USDA Class-A licensed dealers. The following year saw an additional 27 dealers registered in this Amish region.

Friends of Animals recently sent an investigative team into the field to visit these facilities and to interview several eyewitnesses and humane officers in an effort to research Pennsylvania's puppy mills. To the frustration of humane officers, the puppy mill circuit has become increasingly removed from public view.

These facilities are designed to mass-produce litters of puppies to be sold to pet stores or puppy-brokers. The focus is on profit, with the welfare of the animals given little or no consideration. Puppy mills typically confine large numbers of dogs in rows of overcrowded pens. The floors are constructed of wiring, to allow feces and urine to drop to the ground below. This can cause discomfort, and can allow an animal's paws to drop through the openings.

Many puppy mills show an alarming level of unsanitary conditions. Feces and urine is left to accumulate beneath the cages, producing strong odor and providing a breeding ground for bacteria and diseases. Another frequent observation is the lack of proper food and water. Our investigators noted several water bowls that had been allowed to freeze into solid blocks of ice.


In a complaint to the USDA regarding conditions at a Lancaster County puppy mill operated by Ivan Stolzfus, the witness states that "(We) witnessed a female Akita urinating. There was a remarkable concentration of blood in her urine." The complaint continues, "In addition, the darkest Chow (gender unknown) had open sores on his/her body with the meanest being on the left front paw. Overall the facility was in disgusting condition with feces accumulated under the cages, overturned water bowls, and dogs gone psychotic from their severe confinement."

The Amish have stated that they raise dogs using the same methods that they would use for "any other livestock." In addition to the abuses committed upon the animals, unforeseen anguish awaits the unwitting accomplices to this horror show--the pet store customers. The Pennsylvania puppy mills sell puppies in stores located in several northeastern states. The puppies being shuffled through this circuit are "tragedies waiting to happen." To understand the high rate of serious health problems and the behavioral and temperament complications seen in puppy-mill offspring, one needs to consider the irresponsibility of puppy mill breeding programs.

Considered nothing more than puppy-producing machines, the "breeding stock" are forced to have litters at an early age, and kept continually pregnant. Typically they are killed when no longer able to produce a sizable litter. With a limited "breeding stock," inbreeding leads to serious physical and psychological problems in the offspring. Unsanitary conditions and lack of proper veterinary care can lead to rampant disease.

Dotsie Keith of York County, Penn., has been documenting the medical and psychological problems in these animals through a consumer complaint form circulated to veterinarians in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware area. In conjunction with the Pennsylvania SPCA, Keith is hoping to aid in the passage of a bill, S.B. 447, the Dog Purchaser's Protection Act, introduced by Pennsylvania state Senator Stewart Greenleaf. The bill is similar to legislation that has already been passed in 10 other states.

The common policy is to replace the sick puppy, treating the animal more like a defective toaster than a new family member. If Senator Greenleaf's bill is passed, the seller will become responsible for the veterinary bills on any puppy purchased that was found to have physical or psychological complications. Pet stores would no longer find it profitable to deal with puppy mills, and the puppy mills themselves could be held responsible for disastrous breeding policies.


A multitude of problems have been documented through the Pennsylvania SPCA. Several complaints were filed regarding the health of animals purchased from Joyce Stolzfus, operator of "Puppy Love" in Lancaster Country. The list of problems include deformed jaws, hip dysplasia, retina disease, defective kidneys, chronic diarrhea, kennel cough and worms. One purchaser stated, "The puppy had spells where he seemed to almost go berserk racing back and forth from one corner of a room to another."

Another "Puppy Love" customer related the following incident regarding the return of a puppy suffering from "serious kennel cough and worms": "The sick puppy was put back outside in a chicken coop. Weather was bitter cold, during the January ice storm."

The Amish puppy mill operators have increased efforts to restrict their facilities from public view. In a frustrating legal "Catch 22," state anticruelty enforcers cannot inspect a kennel without the owner's permission or a warrant. To obtain the warrant, the officer must show probable cause. (Given the "puppy factory" mentality of the industry, the fact that the operation exists should be considered probable cause for abuse.)

The puppy mill operators have been less than hospitable toward inquisitive visitors. On one occasion, our investigator was being shown puppies by an Amish woman. He observed over 100 dogs crammed into tiny cages. After he looked though a window into a barn full of dogs, he was sprayed in the face with mace.

On another occasion, "Puppy Love" operator Joyce Stolzfus accosted our investigators while her son wielded a baseball bat. (Charges were filed with the Pennsylvania State Police, resulting in a guilty plea by Mrs. Stolzfus and a $96.00 fine.) The Amish puppy industry is terrified that the public is going to discover their shameful secret. Please help Friends of Animals in our efforts to end this disgrace.

- Bill Dollinger



1. Just one litter and we'll have fluffy spayed.

(Studies show that virtually the entire pet overpopulation stems from the "just one litter" mentality)

2. My dog doesn't run loose so he doesn't need to be fixed.

(Murphy's law says otherwise)

3. We always find homes for the puppies.

(And that means an equal number of puppies at the pound will be killed)

4. I want the children to witness the miracle of birth.

(Then watch Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel)

5. My dog is so wonderful and unique, there should be more of her.

(The shelters are full of wonderful and unique dogs, most of whom have a few days to live)

6. It's not natural.

(There hasn't been anything "natural" about dogs since we domesticated them thousands over years ago and took control of their training & reproduction)

7. I just couldn't look my dog in the eye if I had him castrated.

(Watch it, you're anthromorphising)

8. A female dog should have at least one litter for medical reasons.

(Medically, factually and ethically indefensible)

9. Neutering my dog will make him fat & lazy.

(Too much food and too little exercise make a dog fat & lazy)

10. Fixing my pet will change its personality.

(see #8)



 "The Truth About Dogs," by Stephen Budiansky
Recent explorations into the field of canine genetics are changing the way we think about man's best friend -- "man's best parasite" may be more like it -- and could help us repair the damage done by a century of inbreeding

"So Long to Bad Dogs," by Mark Derr (May, 1997)
Animal behaviorism is an infant science, but it has dramatically changed the way many dog owners understand their animals.

In Defense of Animals Campaigns: Pet Theft
A section of the In Defense of Animals Web site -- "working to protect the rights, welfare, and habitats of animals" -- devoted to the problem of pet theft.

"Pet theft: the myth lives on"
"An enduring falsehood put forth by those opposed to animal research is that pets are commonly snatched from owners' yards and sold to medical research facilities. The myth of shadowy figures who cruise around residential neighborhoods luring pets into vans and selling them to research labs persists as a kind of urban legend. It's also almost never true." An article posted by the Foundation for Biomedical Research.



















How Much Is That Doggie In the Window