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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 14 June 2002 Issue

PAWPRINTS, FOOTPRINTS & ANIMAL CHATTER

By Judith Marie Gansen

The Unconscionable Antics of the American Kennel Club and Why the Term "Puppymill" Needs a New Name - My Opinion

I have always believed that by appealing to the reason and compassion of humans, animal advocates can best turn the tide against animal cruelty and exploitation.  This, however, is not one of those times.  Today, I am filled with rage against injustice and I am writing when I am still very angry and this anger will not go away this time--anger can be a good thing as it gives you passion to fight harder and longer.  Recently, most of the provisions that would have helped animals in the Farm Bill were removed in committee by the U.S. Congress.  Big interests and big money won.  It isn't the first time and it won't be the last.  In our quest for justice for animals when this occurs it must strengthen our resolve to find new methods to win for animals--by using our intelligence, our guile, our compassion and our anger.  We will live to fight another day as the saying goes.

While all of the animal provisions in the Farm Bill were important, I am a former "dog mom" to two puppy mill dogs, Mookiee and Kneesaa (my article about them will be printed later).  Therefore the Puppy Protection Act was closest to my heart.  My husband and I have been dog parents to both purebred and mixed breeds and we love them all the same.    Mills breed for profit above all else.  Mill owners often shove steel rods down the throats of the breeding dogs to rupture their vocal cords so they cannot bark.  Sometimes they miss their "target."  If you need to get further educated on the horrors of the mills, here are some sites:

1) Animal People  has info in their data base
 Animal People Online
http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/

2) PETA:  
PETA on Puppymills
http://www.peta.org/mc/facts/fsc3.html

3) Doris Day Animal League: 
DDAL-Current Campaign Puppy Mills
http://www.ddal.org/currentcampaignpuppy.html

4) In Defense of Animals: 
IDA Action Alerts
http://www.idausa.org/currentalerts/puppymilloped.html

5) Humane Society of the United States: 
HSUS-pet store puppies
http://www.hsus.org/ace/11757

6) Puppy Mill Fighters: 
http://www.puppymillfighters.com/index.html

Mills range from the few "better" ones to the ones where there is severe cruelty and neglect resulting in horrible suffering and death.  I looked up the term "mill" in the dictionary and decided we need a new name for these "businesses" who churn out puppies to pet stores with total disregard for their welfare.  "Millers" is too kind a word for them.  I mean, why don't we call actual people pimps "evening entertainment businesspeople" then?  That would be more politically correct.  By sanitizing the name of the mill people we help give them more credibility--these aren't cotton mills churning out cotton after all. How about "puppy pimps" or "dog slavers" or people who don't want to work for a living? 

A few bumper stickers I would like to see:  "Are you lazy and exploitive?  Do you hate Man's Best Friend?  Do you enjoy putting God's creatures in little prison cells and forcing them to breed again and again not caring if they are sick or hurting?  Did the world do you a dirty turn so you feel the need to get even--you are owed easy money, aren't you?  Then join us and become a PUPPY PIMP!"  or "Do you like torturing and harming dogs?  Do you enjoy treating dogs like things?  Does the term congenital defect mean nothing to you?  Then start your own home business and enslave Man's Best Friend!"  or "Did the law come down on you when you wanted to slap living things around--well, here's a way to be able to commit acts of neglect and cruelty and the law will sometimes let you get away with it--plus you make money!  Join Puppy Pimps and our government either will look the other way or let you be due to lack of funding for enforcement (despite often wasting tax dollars on really stupid projects)."

The American Kennel Club

I give the A.K.C. some credit for doing some good things where dogs are concerned--teaching about good care and responsibility, etc.  However, during the activity on the Farm Bill, I called the A.K.C. when I found that their website was fighting the Puppy Protection Act.  Their site was complete with all the reasons they were against it as well as convenient names, addresses and emails of people they had listed for people to contact in Congress.  Here is a current link of their reasons why they helped defeat the PPA:  

AKC Puppy Protection Act
http://www.akc.org/love/dip/legislat/ppa_dropped.cfm

All these years after Mookiee and Kneesaa and my husband and I suffered so much and I complained and tried to fight the mills back then and this crap is still going on.  In God's name, why would an organization like the A.K.C., who is supposed to be for dogs, want to fight legislation to come down on the puppymillers?  I spoke to a very nice "public relations" person from the A.K.C. who said she was very glad I called and told me the A.K.C. was trying to educate people not to buy mill dogs.  Apparently the A.K.C. thought they were talking to someone whose elevator doesn't stop on all floors or who never went to school.  I was also told "who knows what the proper way is to socialize a puppy?"  Yes, I understand that must be difficult for the A.K.C. to comprehend.  You take a puppy and hold it and stroke it so it knows it's okay to trust people and bonds to them.  Children do this naturally--maybe the A.K.C. could get some children to teach them how this is done.

The American Kennel Club is rich and powerful and I am sure has powerful lawyers so I better be cautious how I word things here but the last time I checked we still have Freedom of Speech in our country.  Every time a purebred puppy pops out and gets registered, the A.K.C. makes a buck.  I wondered exactly how many bucks so I went on PETA's website.  On their factsheet it states:  "The American Kennel Club, while claiming to promote only reputable dealers, does not attempt to influence or reform puppy mill breeders, perhaps because it receives millions of dollars from breeders who pay the AKC registration fees for "purebred" dogs.(6)"  Well, that is a no-brainer, isn't it?--I guess my question was answered.

The A.K.C. can do all the "public relations" it wants and claim they are doing things to educate people about this but there is one irrefutable fact out there that makes them GUILTY AS SIN.  They register the puppies from pet stores where the mill dogs are sold.  It doesn't matter that they have all the disclaimers saying they can't guarantee the background of the dogs sold there--that is the "fine print" and John Q. Public doesn't see that up front--they see a convenient way to find a "healthy" and "purebred" puppy.  They see the "Stamp of Approval" (as we did when we got Mookiee and Kneesaa) from the most respected organization where dogs are concerned--The American Kennel Club, steeped in the illusion of quality, history and tradition.  I use the word "illusion" because as long as they sanction those puppies by registering them they have no quality, history, tradition or any other kind of credibility with me--just greed.  If the A.K.C. stopped registering those dogs, few people would purchase them.  The A.K.C. doesn't want to stop registering those dogs or it would have done so a long time ago.

Also disgusting to me are some of the "lemon laws" and the return policies of the pet stores if things don't work out concerning puppies. This is a feeble and horrible attempt to rectify some of the situation.  If the adoption doesn't work out because of the puppy having health problems, then we'll just get a replacement.  They are, after all, disposable right???  Of course, everyone knows that by the time health problems have been diagnosed everyone is already emotionally attached.  What a clever trap!  It's a little life, not a pair of jeans or a car!  My husband and I would no sooner have returned our beloved puppies than we would a child we adopted--THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!  YOU TAKE ON A RESPONSIBILITY FOR THAT LIFE NO MATTER WHAT ROAD LIES AHEAD!!!

When I think of all the dogs since Mookiee and Kneesaa who suffered and developed health and behavioral problems due to bad breeding, no proper socialization, etc. it makes me ill.  How many buyers of those puppies unknowingly breed them and pass on more congenital defects to future puppies?  I know where many of them will end up--in the pound or in overburdened rescues, hit by cars or put to death--all because the average person can't or won't deal with the problems the dogs from mills usually come with.  Once again the people of compassion will be taking responsibility and picking up the pieces for the irresponsible, cruel and greedy humans out there who could care less about a living creature.  In this way animal advocates function somewhat like police officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, etc.  The uncaring elements of society do horrible things and the compassionate people pick up the pieces to alleviate suffering.

My Message to the AKC:

Stop putting your stamp of approval through registration on puppymill dogs so that unsuspecting consumers purchase them.  Stop insulting our intelligence by telling us that you are "working" to educate people to not buy mill dogs and then turning around and registering the mill dogs so people buy them--it's called hypocrisy (I also looked very hard for your education program about mills on your website since you say you are trying so hard to educate against purchasing mill dogs--maybe I just missed it).  Stop being a supporter of mills because your actions, not your words,  make you a supporter.   Therefore, you are connected to the puppymill business whether you want to admit it or not and you, American Kennel Club, have to bear some of the responsibility for the blood of dead, tortured and neglected breeding dogs and their puppies as well as the suffering their offspring go through.  Thousands and thousands of dogs and puppies including my babies!  Year after year this has gone on!!  In short, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS--PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS and stop sanctioning these dogs!!!  Oh, and A.K.C., it will be a "cold day in hell" before I purchase any dog that is A.K.C. registered.  I will also contact Visa since on your website you have a credit card setup with them.  How many more dogs and puppies have to die or suffer before there is change?  HOW MANY????

I ask others to join in boycotting anything the American Kennel Club is involved in.  In doing research for this article I was shocked to find out the A.K.C. is a non-profit.  All these years I thought they were a business.  Imagine that, a charity no less complete with the advantages any charity gets. 

One of the organizations working the hardest to fight the dog slavers/pimps is a wonderful organization called Hearts United for Animals:

http://www.hua.org/

Their wonderful store to benefit the animals is stocked with great pet and people items:

https://secure1.nexternal.com/shared/StoreFront/default.asp?Target=&RowID=&CategoryID=&Coupon=&GiftCert=&CustomerID=&AffiliateID=&CS=tss&BusType=BtoC&
Keyword="Online Store 

This editorial is my opinion and none of the organizations above had any input in helping me write it.  My opinion is born out of the grief still in my heart after watching the suffering my Mookiee and Kneesaa went through their whole lives--suffering caused by the mills they came from and knowing that suffering is still going on right this minute.  Dogs work hard for us as search and rescue (they were at the World Trade Center), as therapy and guide dogs, bomb and drug sniffing dogs, police dogs and have served us in times of war giving their very lives to save our soldiers.  There is a good reason they are called "Man's Best Friend."   Now, their brothers and sisters need your help--stop the cruelty and exploitation.  Shut down the puppy pimps for good!!!

Judy
Staff:  Animals in Print  (free online animal publication)
http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/

Pawprints, Footprints & Animal Chatter
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"We exist to educate and through compassion and knowledge improve the lives of all beings."

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