Dog auctions: Where puppy millers do their dirty business

March 29, 2011

If only I were a fiction writer and the details within this blog post were a product of my imagination. Unfortunately dog auctions are a painful and despicable fact of life.

In case you are unfamiliar with dog auctions, let me fill you in. Envision rooms filled floor to ceiling with crates and cages each housing dogs whose sole purpose in life is to make puppies.

Every dog in the room is identified by the number on the auction tag hanging round his or her neck. There are purebreds of multiple varieties, although some might not be recognizable as such given their lack of health care and horrifically overgrown hair coats.

And, of course, there are plenty of “designer hybrids,” the mutts that are purposefully planned because they are “all the rage” and their litters will earn big bucks for some lucky puppy miller.

Some of the rooms filled with dogs are eerily quiet; these are animals with broken spirits, too scared to vocally protest and too disassociated from their miserable existences to invite attention from the humans peering into their cages.

Six auctions are held every year in Farmerstown, Ohio. In fact, the next one, of 351 dogs, is on April 2.

If you happen to live near Farmerstown, I encourage you to attend. You will be surrounded by puppy millers and their ilk who have come to socialize, discuss their trade, and buy and sell “livestock.” You will also find folks from breed rescue organizations hoping to place some winning bids that will alter the dismal fate of as many dogs as is affordable.

Don’t take a camera with you; it will be confiscated. You see, these are rather covert affairs; journalists and photographers are not allowed. The photographic images accompanying this post were obtained undercover.

On average, 300 to 500 dogs trade hands on any given auction day. The dogs who fetch the highest prices are those with proven fertility records; bitches already pregnant are highly valued. Details about each dog’s breeding behavior and previous litter sizes are provided, but information about basic temperament or breed-specific inherited diseases within the family tree is unavailable because it is deemed unimportant. After all, naive puppy buyers don’t request such information.

If you attend the auction in Farmerstown, be sure to look for Mary O’Connor-Shaver. You will find her at the peaceful protest that is a visible presence on each and every auction day. In my mind Mary is a hero, working tirelessly to convince Ohio legislators to ban dog auctions from her state. I hope you will visit her website. Mary has been a huge source of information and inspiration for me.

What can you do to help eradicate dog auctions and put an end to puppy mills? Here are some suggestions:

1.Educate your friends and family to boycott puppy mills and stores that sell puppies. Let them know that this means never ever purchasing a puppy from a pet store or from an on line source (site and sight unseen). Encourage them to visit their local shelter and contact local breed-specific rescue organizations, or to purchase a puppy from a responsible breeder.

2. If you live in a state that sanctions dog auctions (Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri), write your legislators and appeal to them to stop this madness. And if there are efforts within your state to create legislation banning dog auctions, please pitch in. This might involve organizing rallies, writing letters, and gathering signatures of support.

3. If you don’t reside in a state that sanctions dog auctions, write letters to the governors and legislators of the eight states that do. Let them know you will no longer support their state in terms of travel and commerce until their dog auctions cease to exist.

4. Let your veterinarian know how you feel about dog auctions and puppy mills, and encourage him or her to take a public stance against them. Goodness knows, we see first hand the horrific health issues and accompanying heartbreak produced by puppy mills.

5. If you are a teacher, educate your students about puppy mills and dog auctions. Teach them about responsible ways to acquire a dog. I believe in my heart of hearts that educating children about these issues is the key to success.

6. Please share this post with anyone and everyone you know who loves a dog, and encourage them to take action.

My youngest child attends college in Athens, Ohio. During a recent visit we checked out Petland, the largest pet store in Athens. We found no fewer than three dozen utterly adorable purebred and designer hybrid puppies, undoubtedly puppy mill progeny.

There were plenty of customers in the store that day interacting with the pups and contemplating buying one. I chatted with the store manager about the Boxer pup on display, and asked to see the paperwork documenting if Boxer cardiomyopathy existed in the pup’s lineage. Boxer cardiomyopathy is an inherited heart condition that can prematurely snuff out the life of an afflicted dog.

She responded by saying, “No, we don’t have that paperwork, but no problem because Petland guarantees full refunds on any dogs that develop symptoms caused by an inherited disease.” No problem for Petland, that is. It’s a different story for the dog, or the people who love him.

What are you willing to do to help stop this madness?

Photos taken by an undercover photographer who has asked to be unnamed to preserve his or her ability to continue to do this work. Used with permission.

Filed under: pets, connected — Dr. Nancy Kay @ 5:16 am

39 Comments »

  1. I cannot make the Saturday auction this time.

    But by borrowing a friend’s vehicle I can blend in and not appear to be who I am. I have the costume. (I don’t think my Honda with the search and rescue and dog-trainer stickers would pass muster the way my farm clothes do.)

    In general I have an issue with rescue groups buying dogs at the auction. It perpetuates the production cycle just as buying the same dogs’ offspring at Petland does.

    Either the rescuers outbid the buying millers for the young, profitable stock — so profit to the seller — or they throw a few bucks to the seller for “worn out” animals that otherwise would not have gotten bids — so profit to the seller.

    I have heard, but cannot verify, that millers who used to give their worn-out dogs to rescues now bring them to auction and sell them to different rescues.

    I know this is not a popular opinion. But you cannot destroy a system by pouring money into it.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 29, 2011 @ 7:30 am

  2. Are the men in the picture Amish? Are many Amish farmers puppy millers? I get the impression that they as a culture do not consider dogs as anything other than livestock.

    Comment by Applegarth — March 29, 2011 @ 7:34 am

  3. While the well-intentioned rescuers who purchase dogs at auctions obviously improve the quality of life for the individual dogs they remove from that life – aren’t they also giving financial support to the people selling those dogs?

    Comment by Janeen — March 29, 2011 @ 7:35 am

  4. The only way to stop this is to move our pets beyond the legal status of property. I am trying to elevate the legal status of our pets. Please sign the petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Gracies-Law-Pets-are-not-Property/ See the home page link to the Fox 13 news story at http://www.meetmeattherainbowbridge.com What is your pet worth? The veterinary profession has benefitted from the human animal bond, yet remains opposed to moving our pet children beyond property status. Dr Becker would be a graet ally in the fight. Tell Dr Becker to support Gracies Law

    Comment by Kenneth Newman, DVM — March 29, 2011 @ 7:39 am

  5. I agree with Heather; despite pure intentions, rescues buying puppy mill dogs at auction is just as pernicious in its effects as buying puppies at Petland.

    Applegarth, yes, many Amish are puppy millers.

    Dr. Newman, being my dog’s owner allows me to make my own decisions about what is best for her, and not have a state agency of Pet Protective Services second-guessing my vaccination, training, grooming, and exercise choices. And having those rights remain with me rather than with a state agency doesn’t prevent us from having animal welfare laws prohibiting abuse and neglect. Nor did the states which have banned dog auctions have to take dogs out of the category of “property” in order to do it.

    Comment by Lis — March 29, 2011 @ 8:28 am

  6. My animals are not children.

    Please refrain from insulting them.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 29, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  7. I would put it another way. Many puppymillers are Amish (or Mennonite.) That’s driven by economic factors, not cultural factors. There are more “English” puppymillers than Amish. Many animal welfare workers fall into the trap of slurring an entire religion/subculture based on the economic activities of some members. This can become rabid and quite offensive. Meanwhile, the non-Amish millers are not taken as representative of the larger culture, but as individuals responsible for their own ethical shortcomings.

    Puppymilling is more profitable than raising broiler chickens, and less regulated. It can be done in the same space with less work. People see it as a way to keep the farm.

    In parts of the country where land prices are skyrocketing, farmers will seek out “crops” that have a high return per acre.

    While I am in favor of banning dog auctions (as does my state) and regulating the living shit out of — ahem — “high volume breeders” — to force them to attend to the welfare of their dogs and to protect public health, the solution to the cruelty of puppy mills lies entirely on the demand side.

    Stop giving them money, they will stop doing it.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 29, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  8. Stop giving them money, they will stop doing it.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 29, 2011

    Word. I have looked at every legislative or regulatory “solution” that has come down the pike, and the collateral damage to farmers, reputable breeders, working dog kennels and our heritage breeds has been unacceptable — and won’t stop sub-par, high-volume breeding at all.

    When puppy-milling stops being profitable because people don’t buy these dogs through pet-stores or internet sites, the people running the puppy mills move on to something else. Period.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — March 29, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  9. H. Houlihan is correct. The only way to stop them is to stop the demand. We need to educate more people about puppy mills and get them to care about where their dogs come from instead of impulse buying. I wrote and published a book last year called Puppy Mills Dogs SPEAK! Happy Stories and Helpful Advice. As more people read the book, I am hoping they will give it to their friends and educate others.

    Comment by Chris Shaughness — March 29, 2011 @ 9:31 am

  10. My kid has a friend who got a Chi-x puppy from her daddy. Well, when said puppy accidentally fell down the stairs and died, daddy went back “to the farm” and got another puppy. He saw the conditions and said that “the mother looked like s%@t, but the puppies seemed ok” and paid that “farmer” another $400 like the last time.

    I couldn’t believe it. He knows on some level that he just paid that man hundreds of dollars to keep doing what he’s doing, but it’s ok because he got his little girl (20 yrs old, btw) a new puppy?

    I don’t understand how people do that.

    Comment by mikken — March 29, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  11. I don’t understand how people do that.

    Comment by mikken — March 29, 2011 @ 10:29 am

    I think it’s because people who read blogs like this one on a regular basis, or who spend a lot of discretional time doing animal things (training or shelter volunteering, etc.) are not normal people. The general normal person on the street does not understand the whole ecosystem of cruelty or how their behavior keeps it humming along.

    I just found out that the nicest, NICEST people from my church “mated” dogs they bought from a woman in Ohio, in a parking lot. I happened to run into her the day the puppies were being born and she was so excited.

    I controlled myself, for the most part.

    I spend a lot of time trying to educate very nice but uneducated people. I have no clue what the “average animal knowledge IQ” is out there in themasses … but I think it’s pretty low.

    Most people don’t even want to know what’s in their food. I don’t expect them to work too hard at the pet acquisition thing. “lalala can’t hear it can’t see it lala buying a puppy for my girl …”

    Comment by Mary Mary — March 29, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  12. “discretional time.”

    Yes, I have my own language.

    Comment by Mary Mary — March 29, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  13. I’m with Lis and Heather.

    I do not have “pet children” *gag*. I have a dog and three cats. If I’d wanted a homo sapien, I would have gotten one of those instead.

    And while I wouldn’t mind it if the laws were changed to grant an acknowledgment that companion animals are not the equivalent of a sofa or a motorbike but are sentient beings, I also have no interest in giving up my right to care for my animal family members as I see fit.

    I also agree that drying up the demand side is ultimately the only way to put the puppy mills out of business.

    Comment by Susan Fox — March 29, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  14. The problem we have in Ohio is that PETA & HSUS work to craft legislation that tends to lump the selling of dogs at these auctions with the selling of dogs by reputable breeders, and by members of the fancy who might breed a litter couple of years. So while I would like this horrific practice of puppy millers (who give reputable breeders a bad name) to go away, I worry about the consequences of any potential legislation.

    Comment by Monica — March 29, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  15. Monica, do you have an example of anti-dog-auction legislation that PETA and/or HSUS crafted that would have also targeted selling of dogs, whether by good breeders OR millers? Because it seems fairly straightfoward, to outlaw AUCTIONING of dogs. And while I’m aware of a lot of legislation intended/purported to target millers that ends up targeting responsible breeders, I’m not aware of any aimed at auctions. Can you share more information?

    Comment by Christie Keith — March 29, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  16. If we could let common sense reign we could all come together to push for the banning of dog auctions. Then you get the PETA and HSUS and others who want to elevate animal rights to the point where they cannot be ‘owned’ fracturing the effort to stop animal abuse.

    Comment by Sandy Shacklett — March 29, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  17. Christie,

    How would that work? What could be illegal about auctioning animals? If a farmer is selling an animal solo or in groups of five or 50 … what about that transaction could be made illegal?

    Comment by Mary Mary — March 29, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  18. Mary, since it’s illegal in several states, but selling dogs isn’t, clearly, it can be done. And an auction isn’t just about selling in lots, it’s about the bidding process. However, I have never looked at any of the anti-dog-auction laws.

    Comment by Christie Keith — March 29, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  19. Given that we all know people who have made puppy mill purchases- people we respect and enjoy in other facets of our lives- the best bet is to educate the next generation. How can we cleverly manage to incorporate the puppy mill issue into children’s mainstream education?

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — March 29, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  20. Mary, iirc, they separate dogs from livestock when prohibiting dogs from auctions. I don’t remember the details, but the issue came up in NY (more than once!) about a charity wanting to auction a puppy, and the auction law was already in place to prohibit that. I think it was something about ‘domesticated’ animal vs livestock.

    Comment by straybaby — March 29, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

  21. Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — March 29, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

    How can we cleverly manage to incorporate the puppy mill issue into children’s mainstream education?

    I’m afraid we’d be playing “catch-up” with some larger and much more well-funded organizations that have agendas which we may or may not agree with:

    http://www.teachkind.org/
    http://www.humanesociety.org/parents_educators/
    http://www.guardiancampaign.com/educators.html
    http://www.indefenseofanimals.org/make-a-difference/become_an_activist/high_school_organizing.php
    http://www.indefenseofanimals.org/make-a-difference/become_an_activist/student_projects.php

    Comment by The OTHER Pat — March 30, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  22. We have received confirmation from a very reliable source that this will be the last Ohio dog auction. The owner of the Ohio Dog Auction, Harold Neuhart, has not stated what his plans will be for the future, and we do not have any additional information concerning the status of these sales. Much of this decision was in large part due to the extensive media coverage received from our 2012 ballot initiative campaign (, in particular the television segments aired by WKRC Local 12 (Cincinnati) and WTOV 9 (all of which can be viewed on the Media Releases page of our website), and the peaceful rallies which have taken place in Millersburg and Charm (heart of Amish country) over the past year.

    Dog auctions are a tragic embarrassment to Ohio and it’s humane-minded citizens. We have been asked if people should “buy” or “rescue” these dogs. We are asking for an all-out boycott of this event. We have studied the numbers from past auctions and believe that the dogs being offered at this auction are not mill cast-offs but were, in many cases, purposely bred to supply auction buyers, including rescue groups. Buying at the auction will simply mean that it will be profitable. If it is profitable, it will continue and moredogs will be bred for sale at future Ohio Dog Auctions. That said, we do understand compassion for the dogs being sold on April 2 and know that there will be some who will buy. We understand both sides of the situation, and hope that in the long run, not buying will produce the best outcome to end these auctions altogether.

    Comment by Mary Shaver — March 30, 2011 @ 5:57 am

  23. For whatever it’s worth, dogs can no longer be auctioned on eBay, although, much to my chagrin, they can still be sold via the eBay general classifieds.

    Comment by Dr. Nancy Kay — March 30, 2011 @ 6:10 am

  24. I don’t think eBay ever allowed live animal auctions of any kind, pet or exotic or livestock. In fact, there’s been controversy over the auctioning of hatching eggs there. (Got crazy, because there was no problem auctioning eggs for eating, decorative use, throwing at the neighbors’ house, but a stink if they were sold for hatching.)

    Kijiji, OTOH, is where puppymillers settle to the bottom and ferment.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 30, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  25. PA dog law on auctions is clear as mud:

    459-603. Selling, bartering or trading dogs

    (A) ILLEGAL TRANSFERS.– It shall be unlawful to offer a dog as an inducement to purchase a product, commodity or service. The sale of a dog by a licensed kennel shall not be considered to be an inducement.

    (B) ILLEGAL TO TRANSFER OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN PUPPIES.– It shall be unlawful to barter, trade, raffle, sell, auction or in any way transfer ownership of a dog under seven weeks of age, unless the dog has been orphaned and it becomes necessary to transfer ownership of the orphaned dog to a nonprofit kennel, or from a nonprofit kennel with approval by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.

    (C) ILLEGAL FOR CERTAIN PERSONS TO TRANSFER DOGS.– It shall be unlawful for any person to buy, sell, transfer, barter, trade, raffle, auction or rent a dog at any public place in this Commonwealth other than a kennel licensed pursuant to this act, or a dog show or field trial sponsored by a recognized breed or kennel association. If a purchase, sale, transfer, barter, trade, raffle, auction or rental of a dog occurs at or on the premises of a kennel, the transaction shall be unlawful unless one of the parties to the transaction is an employee, volunteer or other person acting as an authorized representative of the kennel.

    The key here is “public place.”

    It is completely legal for an owner to sell puppies in her back yard.

    Not legal to sell them from a box in front of WalMart, or at a flea market (another great Ohio tradition.)

    It appears that it would be legal for a kennel to auction its own dogs on its premises, but not to hold an auction where others brought dogs.

    This law has been interpreted to define an auction as a “public place.”

    I once, years ago, got into it with a Pittsburgh charity — some highbrow black tie crap, I don’t even remember which now — that was auctioning a highline German shepherd puppy from a local show breeder (Gail Kirkwood, kennel name von Kirchenwald) along with the spa days and restaurant meals and other rich people BS. Explained that it was wrong, and why, they were quite sure that Mrs. Kirkwood knew better. Explained it was illegal. They didn’t care. Others tried to get the dog law enforced, to no avail; shades of Olde Pittsburgh, where the robber barons do as they wish. Mrs. Kirkwood got her picture on the deb page, and complained that the pup sold for much less than the usual going price. No word on whether the penguin suit who bought it was a suitable home.

    But that is the only time I have heard of a dog being auctioned in Pennsylvania.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 30, 2011 @ 7:09 am

  26. PA’s law WRT auctions:
    http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stuspa3ps459_502.htm
    § 459-603
    c) Illegal for certain persons to transfer dogs.–It shall be unlawful for any person to buy, sell, offer to sell, transfer, barter, trade, raffle, auction or rent a dog at any public place in this Commonwealth other than a kennel licensed pursuant to this act, or a dog show, performance event or field trial sponsored by a recognized breed or kennel association or transfer by a rescue network kennel within its own network or to another rescue network kennel. If a purchase, sale, transfer, barter, trade, raffle, auction or rental of a dog occurs at or on the premises of a kennel, the transaction shall be unlawful unless one of the parties to the transaction is an employee, volunteer or other person acting as an authorized representative of the kennel.

    OK, have a question. In FL, every pet animal sold has to have the proper vaccinations, inspections, be free of parasites and cannot be sold at an age less than 8 weeks (though I’m not crazy about the requirement of a couple of those dog vax):

    http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ai/main/pet_main.shtml

    This OH bill was introduced to the Senate on March 22, 2011. Might be a good time to hit them with revisions/objections, not only to the health of puppies being sold, but the care and welfare of the adult breeders.
    It seems to indicate puppy millers (termed high volume breeders) do not have to vaccinate puppies until 3 months of age, which means never if they’re selling them at 8 weeks.

    http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_SB_130

    Sec. 956.08.(AA) Fail to provide each puppy that is three months of age or older with appropriate phase-in booster vaccines as recommended by a veterinarian;”

    I only saw a couple of references to health certificates. Perhaps definition of what’s needed is elsewhere in the laws. Don’t have time to look right now, though what I found indicates that no health certificates are needed, unless the critter is shipped INTO the state (way to protect your millers!):
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/955.50

    Section Sec. 956.03 deals with high volume breeders and appears to be new. Perhaps someone with a high tolerance of legalese can look at this legislation.

    I also noted that they’re trying to make the USDA uphold cage requirements. Good one!

    And finally the question! Do all these puppies being sold at auction have health certificates (if they’re even needed). Who signed them? Where is the AVMA on the issue of puppy mill veterinarians who give the health of the animals a pass? If vets actually go to the breeding facility and see the conditions, why don’t they report animal cruelty to the nearest official?

    OH and other states must be made to uphold the laws on their books WRT puppy millers for one. If the laws are inadequate they should be changed.

    Another part of the problem, as has already been noted in this blog, is that the final arbiter, USDA, is not doing it’s job. I have no idea what their actual regs are, but if they are not sufficient, they need to be changed so dogs and cats are not livestock.

    At the other end of the spectrum – state laws regulating pet stores that sell animals:
    http://www.petstoreabuse.com/laws.html

    So I think there’s more than one way to get to a good endpoint.

    Comment by CathyA — March 30, 2011 @ 8:19 am

  27. Mary, iirc, they separate dogs from livestock when prohibiting dogs from auctions. I don’t remember the details, but the issue came up in NY (more than once!) about a charity wanting to auction a puppy, and the auction law was already in place to prohibit that. I think it was something about ‘domesticated’ animal vs livestock.

    Comment by straybaby — March 29, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

    ———————-

    Interesting. The animals who sleep beside my bed, who run through the house, who use the litterbox, who cost me a fortune at the vet, who get organic greens from the garden that I plant for them, are “livestock.” I wonder how long it will take to influence better treatment of rabbits when it’s taken so long (and continuing) to win the same for dogs.

    Comment by Mary Mary — March 30, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  28. Mary, dogs were never considered livestock in common law or tradition. Nor cats. They started from a different place, legally and culturally.

    In the past, that meant fewer or no protections for them, as the dog was considered without value, while the cow’s owner could collect. Even early humane injunctions (by early I mean, like, Old Testament — though shalt not muzzle the ox who treads the corn and that sort of thing) gave a pass.

    My goats are livestock; my neighbor’s goats are pets. My chickens are livestock; a show-chicken fancier often has them as pets. (I’ve seen them getting pictures with Santa at a pet store, seriously.)

    The chicken you had in a sandwich for lunch was not someone’s pet. That doesn’t make anyone’s pet chicken less of a companion.

    My livestock are well-treated, some of them have names, some of them will never be eaten, all of them have species-appropriate husbandry that far exceeds “industry standards,” and I reserve the right to make pets of any of them — but they are not the same as the dogs and cats.

    There’s a big problem with making fine legal distinctions between species when it comes to animal welfare.

    There’s an ENORMOUS problem with making legal distinctions WITHIN species.

    I would say it’s impossible.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 30, 2011 @ 10:30 am

  29. Heather,

    Thanks for that feedback.

    Comment by Mary Mary — March 30, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  30. You know, that said:

    There are laws about selling baby chicks in pet stores. Because that’s cruel. So the law DOES try to make some distinctions.

    Tractor Supply will only sell poultry in multiples. I don’t know if that’s the law or their policy, but it’s clearly for humane/husbandry reasons.

    Last week I tried to convince an idiot that it would be a bad idea to buy Cornish cross broiler chicks as pets for her kids. (That’s all they had left at TSC on Sunday; I suggested they come back on Tuesday when a nice selection of chicks come in.) She said they knew all about chickens and it would be fine, but she had no idea what a Cornish cross was. I invoked a sad life of obesity followed by death by heart attack at twelve weeks of age and was told I had made that up. (I really can’t convey what a hostile and vacant cow this woman was, with her whinging brats in tow. So much for trying to be helpful.)

    So I mentioned it to an employee, and he assured me that he would refuse the sale.

    On the other hand, same store is selling rabbits for $15, “for agricultural purposes,” but they are medium-sized, rather scrawny mixed-breed rabbits, not meat rabbits. They seem to come from some local child, based on the hand-scrawled sign.

    I think the rabbit sales are meant to drive sales of hutches and accessories.

    Maybe I’m wrong about these distinctions being impossible to make within species — but they sure enough are incoherent.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — March 30, 2011 @ 10:56 am

  31. Perhaps some of the dogs at the upcoming auction were purposely bred to be sold at auction, and, in the case of the “Back To The Kennel” auction it’s possible that most of the dogs were purposely bred to be sold at the auction. In general, however, this is simply not true.

    I have gotten dogs from the OH auction in the past; most of them are 5+ years old and either “surplus” breeding stock (usually males) or bred-out females who can no longer conceive or carry litters to term. In January, I got two females – 8 and 8.5 years old – of a breed that was once a big seller in pet stores but has now faded in popularity. Each of these dogs was $5. Mine was the only bid. Had I NOT bid on these dogs they would be dead now, as are their sisters who didn’t fetch even $5 and went unsold. Instead, for the first time in their lives, they are living cage-free, have the freedom to run and play in the sunshine, and are learning the skills they’ll need to be placed into homes as beloved companions.

    Most of the puppymill dogs I take in are the ones that breeders release directly to rescue, and most of the ones I’ll speak up for are the ones that are offered free. But yes, once in a while, I’ll pay $5-10 for dogs at auction, and I have no ethical qualms about doing so. Nobody’s getting rich on that, it’s not enough that the sellers can turn around and buy more breeding stock, and it gives these precious little souls a chance to be free. Better than a shovel to the back of the head and being unceremoniously dumped in a pit somewhere.

    Comment by PM Dog Rescuer — March 30, 2011 @ 3:02 pm

  32. From all the data I have reviewed, I strongly disagree with PM Dog Rescuer. Even paying one dollar is too much and continues the vicious cycle of puppy mill breeding! These dogs are part of cost accounting under rules for agriculture; the mere fact that someone pays even one dollar gives them a profit margin! There is absolutely no reason why these breeder dogs cannot be surrendered without a ‘bounty’ fee. True, the breeders may not be getting rich, but it is enough that the they can turn around and buy more breeding stock – I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes! They are laughing all the way to the bank each and every time a rescue person puchases dogs at auction. They know you these people will purchase with their heart rather than their head. In the end, many more dogs die even though they may have saved a few. Also, I would like to know what the PM rescue people are doing to help shut down these breeders – are they working with local, state and/or federal authorities on investigations or are they just purchasing dogs and looking the other way for fear that if you get involved the breeder will no longer sell them dogs? I have found most of the rescues who buy at auction look the other way!

    Comment by Lisa H. from Indiana — March 31, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  33. To the PM Rescue Person, if the two females you purchased were only $5 and you were the only bidder, why didn’t you just wait until after the auction, approach the breeder and ask if he or she would surrender them to you at no cost?

    Comment by Lisa H. from Indiana — March 31, 2011 @ 5:40 am

  34. Saturday’s Ohio dog auction was blessed with 31 supporters who joined us at the Millersburg Courthouse to serve as a strong voice for the dogs! A SPECIAL THANKS to Tammy and Kevin who drove seven hours round trip from Butler and Greene counties to join our pack of dedicated animal advocates!

    The highlight of yesterday’s rally was a double bonus; receiving recognition from a Holmes county resident (with his mill dog rescue, Harper) who confirmed that our campaign to raise awareness of Ohio dog auctions and their relationship to puppy mill breeding is gaining tremendous support from the locals, and rescuing three beautiful companions (a white boxer, pomeranian and schnauzer mix) as part of our undercover investigation to be included in a portfolio which will be presented to legislators in January 2012 (upon certification of all our signatures from registered voters)!

    Given the tremednous outpouring of support following Dr. Nancy Kay’s excellent article on dog auctions, we wanted to encourage those of you outside of Ohio to write to the following elected officials asking them to support a ban on Ohio dog auctions. Emphasize that you will not be spending any dollars in Holmes County until this event no longer takes place in their community!

    1. Holmes County Commissioners (Joe D. Miller, Ray Eyler and Robert L. Ault)
    2 Court Street, Ste 14
    Millersburg, OH 44654-2001
    Phone: 330-674-0286
    Fax: 330-674-0566
    E-mail: hcc@co.holmes.oh.us
    Website: http://www.co.holmes.oh.us/commissioners/

    2. Governor John Kasich
    Contact: http://governor.ohio.gov/ShareYourIdeas.aspx

    Again, we greatly appreciate everyone’s support and dedication to our campaign! Thanks for continuing to serve as a strong voice for the dogs!

    Comment by Mary Shaver — April 3, 2011 @ 4:49 am

  35. why cant rescue just go in and take the dogs?

    Comment by nancy — April 3, 2011 @ 5:19 am

  36. it is a sad fact that ohio is far behind on the
    law when it comes to animals. Did you know in ohio if you have a cow it must have shelter, but a horse does not by law require any type of shelter? You can legally leave your horse out in sub zero temps but not a cow! Just insane if you ask me!

    Comment by bdavis — April 4, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  37. The problem is that puppy mills and auctions are legal. There are no laws basically prohibiting any of this. Ruthless people are operating them and there is no stopping them, UNLESS…
    We write to the PRESIDENT about not allowing any large dog businesses to exist, period.

    What needs to happen is a STRONG FEDERAL LAW prohibiting ANYONE to own more than 10 adult dogs per residence, and a law that each dog needs to be Yard exercised for 2 hours/per day minimum, if kept in cages. The water/food/shelter laws are not enough!!!!

    People/animal lovers in each state need to mobilize, come up with some type of animal/police position (ASPCA-like) federal authority where we can spot check any suspicious facilities, and close them down, and take away their dogs. We have HOMELAND SECURITY, why don’t we, animal lovers, have HOMELAND PET PROJECT?????

    There are too many horrid facilities in existence. One person or body here and there cannot police or raid these places. It needs to be a well organized and spread out throughout the USA effort. The FEDERAL laws need to supercede the state laws.

    Think about it: if a few people from each town in each state monitored what is going on in their neighborhood (puppy breeders) we would be able to eradicate most, if not all of the puppy mills and there would be no auctions. I know it’s a lot of work, but if we communicate via Facebook, perhaps?….we can get the laws changed, and get rid of puppy mills in our states!!!!!!!

    Comment by Marie W. — April 23, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  38. So … you want a secret police to report private citizens because of they may have 11 perfectly cared for dogs?

    Two words: No way.

    It’s not the numbers, it’s the care. I have seen kennels of hunting hounds, all intact, who number in the dozens and are happy, healthy and scrupulously well-cared-for. Others here can tell you about gundog kennels, or people who breed dogs for police work.

    Having 11 dogs … or 21 … or 51 … or 101 DOES NOT MAKE YOU A PUPPY MILL.

    And NO, I do not want to have an agency with an agenda going around making decisions about who is “good” and who is “bad.”

    The only way to end the puppy-mill trade without also ending reputable, ethical breeding of our heritage breeds is to educate people so they stop buying these dogs. Period.

    Get rid of puppy mills, not puppies. Get rid of puppy-millers, not reputable ethical breeders. End the production of unheathy, temperamentally unsound mill dogs, but don’t push our heritage breeds to extinction.

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — April 23, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  39. Alright so after reading this I can honestly say I am sick to my stomach. Here is my issue. I have a beautiful reversed brindle boxer/lab named Atreya. She will be 2 this october. I recently became really sick and had to have alot of surgerys and couldn’t afford to get her the life she deserved. I gave her to a family Ive known for 15 years, they have two boys who took to Atreya very quickly. On monday the 15th of August she went missing. She has never ran off and we are worried that someone took her. We live in nebraska, Im in omaha and they are about 2 1/2 hours from me in a little town called polk. I will find her but I dont know where to begin looking if she was taken. Does anyone have any advice for us. We want her safe and at home again. I have made flyers and sent them home with my mom this last week,and have called shelters, vets, animal control, etc. I just dont know what else to do.

    Comment by Ally W — August 21, 2011 @ 8:27 am

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