|Tim at the Sound for the Hounds: Puppy Mill Awareness Concert|
Today I fell in love.
His name is Tim. He is a friendly, one-year old terrier mix available for adoption at Orphaned Pets, Inc. in West Caldwell, NJ.
I met Tim at the first annual Sound for the Hounds: Puppy Mill Awareness Concert at Brookdale Park in Montclair/Bloomfield, New Jersey. It was an educational and entertaining day in the park sponsored by United Against Puppy Mills with informative exhibits, animal shelter groups, jazz bands, games and prizes.
The goal of the concert was to promote the message: "You can stop puppy mills. Adopt don't shop."
Normally my blog is focused on cats, but I'm a big dog lover too. I grew up with a golden retriever named Beth. And I believe people should be aware that when you purchase a dog from a pet store you are supporting a puppy mill. Plus, I wanted to help spread the news about this important issue. And how could I not attend, the concert was in my neighborhood!
At the end of this post I list ways you can help puppy mill dogs as well as how to put an end to puppy mills.
When I arrived at the concert a little after 11:00 in the morning, some of the animal shelter organizations and vendors were still setting up their booths. The venue was centered around Brookdale Park's new dog park.
Attendees strolled through the wooded area with their leashed dogs, the pups happily greeting each other with nuzzles and occasional barks.
|Me: I'm the toughest looking one.|
Propped on the imposing bike's seat was Big Ant, a founding member of the organization. The Rescue Ink guys were happy to pose for pictures. I snapped a couple shots for some folks from Animal Rescue Corps who were big admirers of Rescue Ink's dog advocacy.
One of the women from Animal Rescue Corps took a shot of me with the tough guys who are real softies when it comes to animal rescue. She also presented me with a temporary tattoo of the Animal Rescue Corps logo. Now I can look like one of the Rescue Ink guys!
Later in the day the concert sponsored a Rescue Ink "Dog Look-A-Like Contest."
As I walked from table to table, I stopped and visited with the dogs. I asked a representative for Second Chance Pet Adoption League in Morris Plains, NJ if I could pet her dog. She was standing with Noelle, a gentle 6-year-old American Eskimo Dog, who is ready to be adopted.
|Noelle was saved from a puppy mill in Missouri.|
|Boomer from Bukowski/Bloomfield Animal Shelter loves people.|
|Kittycakes from Harvest Dog Organic Treats|
When I returned to the park, the percussionist King Errisson, who plays the congo drums, and his band were in full force inspiring everyone with their happy vibe. A woman stood swaying to the music.
|Volunteers show kids the unhappy life of a puppy mill dog|
And unfortunately because of my appointment, I missed all the presentations. Helen Ebersole, co-founder of United Against Puppy Mills, an organization founded and organized by residents of Lancaster County, spoke about "The Importance of Advocacy." Beautiful Lancaster County, home of the Amish, is the puppy mill capital of the United States.
Bill Smith founder and Director of Main Line Animal Rescue talked about a "Day in the Life of a Mill Dog." You can read about his work rescuing dogs from inhumane Amish puppy mills in People magazine.
Smith also got Oprah to do a show on puppy mill dogs by putting up a big billboard in Chicago that read, "Oprah: Do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need you."
|Jenny Stephens, Director of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch|
"I refuse to be politically correct," she said when she sees a dog like a teacup yorkie. "You know where he came from. And the problem (puppy mills) is not going away. "You have to admire her passion. Her message to "Be Their Voice" through the group's Saturday pet shop demonstrations. She is also an author of numerous articles on the issues affecting dogs in commercial breeding kennels. North Penn Puppy Mill Watch recommends you boycott stores that sell puppies and refuse to buy any products from them.
At the concert there were various vendors advocating for dogs welfare and representing animal shelters including:
- Animal Rescue Corps was recently founded by Scolund Haisley, dedicated to ending animal suffering through direct and compassionate action.
- Greyhound Adoption Program in Hampton, NJ finds homes for retired racing greyhounds.
- Buddy Rescue Foundation rescues abandoned or special needs animals.
- Hearts United for Animals a national no-kill sanctuary and animal shelter.
- Sit--Stay and Learn: to promote the humane treatment of dogs through the education of New Jersey's children.
|Aggie is sweet girl from Fox Terrier Rescue Northeast|
Thousands of wonderful dogs--like Tim, Noelle, Boomer and Aggie--in animal rescue shelters across the country, are looking for their forever homes.
Don't go to your local pet store and purchase a puppy mill dog. Go to your local animal shelter or to Petfinder.com and find the love of your life.
What is a Puppy Mill?
from North Penn Puppy Mill Watch
A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding operation whose sole purpose is to create inventory for pet stores and the public across the nation. They are facilities where profit is placed above the health and welfare of the dogs held hostage for their puppies.
Dogs at the mills:
- have minimal interaction with humans
- are rarely treated by a vet
- receive no socialization with other dogs
- live in overcrowded, filthy conditions
- are basically hidden from view
- are legally abused and exploited
How You Can Help Stop Puppy Mills
from the ASPCA
- Don't buy your pet from a pet store
- Adopt from your local shelters
- Learn to recognize a responsible breeder: a responsible breeder should screen you as much as you screen them
- See where your pet was born and bred: ask to meet the mother and see where the puppy was born
- Beware of buying a puppy on the internet
- Share you puppy mill story to work toward getting legislation to ban puppy mills
- Speak out
- Tell your friends
- Think globally
- Act locally
Volunteer or Make a Donation
Remember: Reputable pet breeders do not sell their dogs through pet stores.