Puppy mill bust highlights call for new legislation in NC

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The recent rescue of 160 dogs from an alleged puppy mill in Stokes County, NC has prompted more calls for improved legislation in the state.

The Times-News notes North Carolina requires a license for breeders who sell to stores and research facilities. “” But about 90 percent or more of the state’s breeders sell directly to buyers through newspaper or Internet ads, said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “”

The Humane Society of North Carolina estimates there are between 250 to 300 commercial dog breeders operating in the state. In 2009, a bill that was basically a compromise – that no one could logically claim was overreaching – failed to make to the governor’s desk.

The typical players are still speaking out against regulations on breeders – from the American Kennel Club to hunting groups to agriculture organizations such as the N.C. Pork Council.

The concerns expressed by these groups usually cross the line into the completely absurd and unreasonable. The AKC for example always tries to claim that rules to require reasonable cage sizes and regular vet care and regular exercise for breeding dogs will hurt good breeders. But the good breeders already engage in these practices, which makes the push-back against new standards look like a move to protect those who don’t.

Let me be clear about this. Any group opposed to bringing all breeders up to the standards and practices the good breeders use is doing noting more than protecting the bad breeders and therefore are extending the suffering of the dogs housed in puppy mills.

It’s time to call out those opposed to shutting down puppy and kitten mills. There is no logic and no compassion in allowing so much suffering to continue by blocking new legislation with claims a few breeders might see an increase in costs. Those who can’t meet the minimum standards being proposed in North Carolina and other states really should not be breeding animals.

The dogs MUST be allowed play time outside of their cages, MUST get regular vet care and MUST be allowed ample space to move around in their cages.

Some in Missouri legislature looking to further weaken protections for animals

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For some elected officials in Missouri, it is not enough that a vote of the people to strengthen the state’s breeding regulation was gutted later by the state legislature; now they want to further weaken anti-cruelty regulations and make it tougher for people to vote for better regulations.

From an Associated Press article posted Saturday on Stl.Today.com:

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Rep. Tom Loehner is backing an amendment to the state constitution that would forbid voter-enacted laws governing how farmers raise cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, goats, horses and rabbits. He said his proposal is driven by concern that people in urban areas might construe some farming practices as cruel instead of economically necessary.

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That is a troubling statement – “cruel instead of economically necessary.” It’s bad enough to pick and choose where they don’t want the will of the people involved. But to weigh the extreme suffering of animals against what a few will deem as ‘economically necessary’ should sound alarm bells for the animal welfare side and voters in general.

Coming Soon: The Mentality Pack

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In an effort to bring some variety to the Pack Mentality Blog, I will be introducing soon a new, regular feature – The Mentality Pack.

This cartoon series will feature new characters and a somewhat more lighthearted slant to highlighting animal-welfare topics. I will still keep hammering away at the evils of the world, but I think it doesn’t have to be all negative all the time.

I’ll be up front in admitting I’m no skilled artist. I’ve done a little drawing over the years, but it’s nothing a 4-year-old Van Gogh would be impressed with. Hopefully I will improve with each passing episode. And hopefully, the topics will be more entertaining and informative than the artwork.


Petfinder playing off Westminister dog show to promote adoption

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Petfinder is using the upcoming Westminster Kennel Cub Dog Show to highlight the fact that purebred and mixed breed dogs are available for adoption all over the country.

From a press release – “” While a total of 185 breeds will compete in the Westminster Show this year, more than 170,000 dogs are available on Petfinder.com – 25 percent of which are purebred. “”

“Petfinder.com has just about any pet you can imagine; whether you want a four-legged friend who will snuggle up on the couch with you or a running partner,” said Betsy Banks Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com. “And when you tune into the Westminster Dog Show and see magnificent dogs strutting their stuff, remember you can train your adopted pooch too! With a few simple training techniques, dogs will come, sit and pay attention to you – just like the most award-winning ‘Best in Show’ dogs.”

For more tips and tricks on pet training, visit www.petfinder.com/pet-training. Information about different breeds’ characteristics and temperament can also be found on Petfinder.com in the breed directory.

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Pack Line Headlines: Puppy mills; greyhound racing; animal cruelty

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New York dog-breeding facility worries local residents: Residents in Gorham, NY are speaking out about the possible opening of a new dog breeding facility they rightfully worry could be a puppy mill.

Global Animal reports the breeder moved the operation after being cited for animal abuse violations in Seneca County. The owner needs another permit before officially opening. Hopefully, that permit will be denied, because the story indicates the breeder was charged by the USDA with failing to provide veterinary care.

The USDA report also noted – “it does not appear that the facility has enough employees to carry out an acceptable level of husbandry for these animals. This needs to be addressed for the welfare of the animals.”

Violations came between November 23, 2010 and January 5, 2011. So why was this breeder allowed to stay open for that long and why have they been allowed to even get this far in the process of moving to another location?

The Gorham Planning Board unanimously granted the breeder a special use permit to build the facility, for 200 to 600 dogs. It’s unbelievable.

More info on puppy van story: I posted Thursday about a van stopped in Illinois carrying dozens of puppies bound for pet stores. I found a follow-up piece today on Examiner.com that offers more information.

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Puppy mill busts out of NC and Iowa

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An alleged puppy mill operation in Stokes County, NC was raided recently and 130 of the dogs are being cared for at the nearby Guilford County Animal Shelter.

WGHP Fox 8 quotes Marsha Williams, the director of the shelter, as saying there are “zero” regulations on puppy mills in the state. Naysayers will claim there are animal-cruelty laws, but Williams is basically right. I’ve lived in North Carolina my entire life. The current laws only deal with cases after the face. There are no measures in place to make sure these facilities are regularly inspected and to work to stop the abuse before it reaches this level.

When a push goes out to regulate puppy mills here, groups join forces on the front line to block the legislation.

The Humane Society in Charlotte, NC is caring for 33 of the dogs rescued in Stokes County. Some of them reportedly are so bad off they cannot walk.

WCNC notes 35 other states have laws regulating breeders who sell to the public, but North Carolina is not in that group.
Charlotte Humane Society executive director Shelley Moore is quoted as saying – “That’s why it’s happening here. It’s not regulated. People know they can set up, stay under radar.”

In the Midwest, police in Chicago found 43 puppies stuffed inside a van. According to a Chicago Tribune story, the vehicle was headed from a suspected puppy mill in Iowa to stores in Chicago and New York.

We may never know which stores the puppies were headed to, but we can know one thing for sure – if a news outlet interviewed the store owners, they would all falsely claim their puppies are not from puppy mills and have the best of care. In reality, they only care about the profit from the sales.

Greyhound racing industry ramps up efforts to save itself

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We’re seeing a bit more in the way of odd and panicked statements from greyhound racing insiders, as the industry continues to see a decline in attendance and an increase in decoupling efforts in states such as Florida and Iowa.

KCTV out of Kansas City, Mo. ran a story this morning about the local REGAP group’s statements going after Skechers for promoting greyhound racing in its Super Bowl TV ad.

Skechers apparently did not want to be quoted for the story. But the American Greyhound Council had no problem with stepping into it – literally – with an e-mail to the station.

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“To suggest that greyhounds are ‘forced’ to race is so patently absurd that we wonder why anyone would believe such a statement. Greyhounds race and chase by instinct; the only thing their trainers teach them is how to follow the oval curve of the track during a race,” Marsha Kelly, with the American Greyhound Council, wrote in the email.

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Sick puppies walk into human hospital for help

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Two sick puppies walked through the automatic doors Friday at Christus Spohn Shoreline hospital in Corpus Cristi, Texas. Despite the fact that they carried no insurance cards, the two dogs did get some help from the compassionate folks at the facility – as reported by KIII TV.

What a great story. The pups will soon be ready for adoption.

Pack Line Headlines: Pit bull saves family; new adoption system; NC puppy mill bust

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Pit bull saves family during house fire: A Chicago pit bull alerted her family in the middle of the night that their house was on fire. The family got out safely and one family member rushed back into the home to save Moo Moo.

Once again, we see an example of the greatness of animals as our companions on Planet Earth. Yet, our society as a whole is still not offering them a level of protection from abuse and neglect that they deserve.

New adoption system helps match people and homeless pets: Emily Weiss, vice president of shelter research and development for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals developed Meet Your Match.

The Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals increased its adoption rate by nearly 20 percent of late, using the system. And the shelter is seeing fewer returns.

People looking for pets at local shelters answer 19 questions that touch on characteristics they are looking for. Dogs are graded on friendliness, playfulness, energy level, motivation and drive.

Guilford County Animal Shelter caring for 129 dogs rescued from NC puppy mill: WFMY News out of Greensboro, NC reports 129 dogs were rescued Tuesday from a puppy mill in Guilford County.