Monday, February 23, 2009
Last Friday, the Oprah Winfrey show highlighted the horrors of puppy mills. Recently, 90 plus Yorkies were saved from a despicable puppy mill thanks to the heroic efforts of the Humane Society of Missouri. Kathy Warnick, the group's President said that "some of the dogs couldn't even walk because their hair had grown so long and become so tangled with urine and feces. In some instances, it was so horrific that the matting constricted the use of their limbs, and it actually cut off the blood supply and their legs died. The bones died in their legs." Folks such as the dedicated members of the Humane Society of Missouri and local law enforcement deserve a tremendous round of applause for their actions. Rather than ignore the suffering, these lovely people took action and now these dogs finally have a chance to enjoy a happy life.
That said, taking action is something we can all do. The first step is to learn about puppy mills -- the source of the dogs you find in many of America's "pet stores." Almost every animal welfare organization has information on this shocking and terrible topic. Click here for the ASPCA, here for the Humane Society of the United States, and here for American Humane. Oprah Winfrey has joined the fight against puppy mills and her website contains a wealth of information and resources. None of this information is easy to watch or digest, but ignoring the problem only allows it to continue.
Next, read the ASPCA's 2008 legislation round up, which compiles and analyses federal and state animal welfare legislation. Look up your state: if you see laws that you like, call or write your legislator and say thank you. If your state isn't doing anything or enough to fight animal cruelty, call and write your legislator and demand action. National legislation is critical too. So, contact your senators and representatives in Washington D.C. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Finally, tell you friends about what you've learned. Many folks still have no idea that puppy mills exist. Surely, if people knew about them, they'd stop buying puppy mill dogs, which would help put the "people" (and we use the term loosely -- very loosely) who run these horrible places out of business.
Change comes when people make the decision to become involved -- and in this case, to paraphrase President Obama, we are the change that we've been waiting for. So go out and let people know the truth -- there are many, many dogs out there who will thank you for it.