I am the author of "MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life" and "FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed." My hope is to increase awareness of animal intelligence, emotions, & the special relationship between humans & animals. Covers pet loss, puppy mill awareness, pet health, animal rescue, the spiritual bond between animals & humans, & their sixth sense way of reading us. Born out of my special bond with my black lab, Maggie.
This post was written on the Care 2 Blog by alicia graef. This is such an important issue, so crucial to the welfare of dogs, that I want to share it with you on my blog, too:
On November 2, Missourians cast their votes and passed Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, a citizen initiative brought to voters to stand up for dogs languishing in puppy mills in their state. Unfortunately, legislators are already working to kill this new law.
Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a coalition formed by animal protection organizations, businesses, veterinarians, and citizens, hit the streets educating people about the atrocities inherent to puppy mills, such as cramped conditions, dogs being trapped in their own filth and sick and injured dogs being left with no veterinary care to name a few.
Over 190,000 signatures were delivered to the Secretary of State in Missouri to get Prop B on November’s ballot in the country’s worst state for puppy mills. With an estimated 3000 puppy mills licensed by the USDA and the Missouri Department of Agriculture, it’s been called the puppy mill capital of America.
Weak laws regulating commercial kennels have made it the perfect place for unscrupulous breeders to call home. According to the ASPCA, Missouri supplies over 40 percent of the puppies you can find in pet stores across the country.
Prop B, which will take effect in 2011, isn’t anything outlandish. The bill calls for an increase in standard care, including providing food and water, vet care, protection from the elements, exercise, “constant and unfettered access” to the outdoors, room to move around and stretch and rest between breeding cycles. It would apply to breeders with more than 10 dogs and limit the number of breeding dogs to 50 per facility. Violations would result in up to 15 days in jail and a fine of $300.
Prop B calls for nothing more than adequate care for an animal we fondly, and commonly, refer to as man’s best friend. Missourians spoke. They don’t like puppy mills. Prop B passed with 51.6 percent of the votes. Unless they do math differently in Missouri than they do everywhere else, that’s the majority. End of story, right?
Unfortunately, no. It took less than a week for opponents to start coming out of the woodwork trying to get Prop B watered down or repealed.
Breeders of course heard a resounding ca-ching as the new law would significantly raise the cost of running a commercial breeding facility, while others in agribusiness are worried that regulations will expand to livestock. The Tea Party was, of course, also upset.
Worse, legislators are listening and will be discussing possible actions in the new session starting January 5.
“We will start working on that issue probably immediately,” said Senator-elect Mike Parson, a Bolivar Republican. Incidentally, there are 150 licensed breeders in his district.
Rep. Tom Loehner, a Koeltztown Republican who is chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee said that the whining heard about the issue in rural areas could “represent a mandate for change,” as most of the votes came from urban areas.
Not to be a smarty pants, but those votes all count the same whether or not the came from rural or urban areas.
Additional concerns were raised over job loss and the potential for Prop B to put legitimate breeders out of business. However, Barbara Schmitz, spokeswoman for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, brilliantly pointed out that Prop B would be economically beneficial by providing an increased demand for veterinary care, while simultaneously reducing the financial burdens of rescues and other funding allocated to the mistreatment of animals.
As for putting legitimate breeders out of business, what legitimate breeder needs more than 50 breeding dogs? That’s 50 litters of puppies per breeding cycle, yet we destroy millions of innocent dogs every year simply because there aren’t enough homes and Missouri wants to let their state continue to contribute to this horrendous industry churning out puppies like inanimate objects?
I recently became a volunteer with Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue, a small group of volunteers who locate Labrador retrievers and Lab mixes who are about to be euthanized, often with the help of out-of-state shelter volunteers who alert them to dogs whose time is running out. On Wednesday evening, my husband and I had the great fortune to participate in saving Gracie, a lab mix who found her way to Colorado via the efforts of The Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue(RMLR) andColorado Animal Rescue Express (C.A.R.E.). C.A.R.E. is one group RMLR works with to transport their dogs from "high-kill" states. Gracie came from Missouri and was picked up in Hayes, Kansas by the Colorado Animal Rescue Express van, along with about 20 other rescued dogs. C.A.R.E. makes these runs twice a week to rescue dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in Colorado and neighboring states. They work with over 110 rescue organizations like Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue.
When we arrived in the parking lot meeting place and found the C.A.R.E. van, our very frustrating bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go rush "hour" drive to get there was immediately forgotten by both of us. Staring back at us from the open van were sets of uncertain, wondering dog and puppy eyes, represented by numerous breeds and mixes, still in kennels awaiting pick up from their rescue group.
"What is going to happen to me now?" I could almost read in their precious faces. Other dogs had already been gathered from their crates and were being walked or led by a rescuer to their cars, on their way to foster homes. A woman by the van with a very kind, open face asked who we were. It was Linda, the person who started C.A.R.E. I could feel the love and sense of fulfillment radiating from her. I imagined she could feel the joy of having just given 20 dogs a second chance at life! If not for her efforts, they would all be dead soon. I'll never forget that scene. So inspirational! We introduced ourselves & told her we were with RMLR, looking for Gracie. She directed us to our RMLR transport coordinator, Jessica, just across from the CARE van.
I squatted down to a very frightened Gracie, looking warily about and pulling on her leash. I took off my glove and slowly held out the back of my hand. She sniffed my hand, then immediately gave my chin several licks. "Wow," said Jessica. "That's the most we've seen from her all night! She is so scared." Jessica had already chipped Gracie, and we did a hurried exchange, with Tom placing Gracie in the kennel in back of my car. She tried to get away at first, her body frozen in fear as he picked her up.
After warning me that Gracie was a "flight risk," off we drove to take her to her new foster home. Gracie whined periodically, and I talked to her, explaining to her that this drive was much shorter than the one she just endured, and that she would be well cared for in her new foster home. Every time I spoke to her, she stopped whining. Soon, Tom joined me. The time between her whining lessened. I explained to her about "forever homes," and assured her she was safe. The whining ceased completely.
When we arrived at the foster home, Karen's (foster mom) husband came out so he and Tom could carry Gracie's kennel into the house. Thump, thump, went her tail. A good sign. She was smiling a little now, and the fear was gone. We were met inside the front door by Karen, her anxiously anticipating 2 children, and their Golden Retriever.The men placed the kennel on the floor and opened the door. Off Gracie galloped, wasting not a moment as she leaped up and began playing with the Golden; she then ran to explore the house. That was my next moment of inspiration and reward for the evening, seeing the joy and the opening up of a little dog who less than an hour ago was terrified. But inspiration didn't stop there. I considered the beauty of what was happening here; how wonderful it was for a family to engage in such a life-affirming activity together with their children. To invite an unknown dog into their family and space, if only for a little while; to be Gracie's springboard into her new life. What a beautiful value to teach and share with children, that of giving life and love to an abandoned animal! The energy all around us was high and joyful.
Please visit the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue website to learn more about their mission, to volunteer, or to see their adoptable dogs.RMLRhas no shelter and relies ONLY on foster homes.
Please visit the Colorado Animal Rescue Express website to learn more about their wonderful mission. Since C.A.R.E.'s inception on 6/27/2007, 415 transports, 7,363 dogs and 483 cats have been saved through their transport. So, who really rescues who? Ah, indeed anyone involved in rescuing animals knows that the act indeed does boomerang ... and the gift is to the giver.
Dogs are being trained by Canine Companions for Independence to calm and support juveniles and adults in the courtroom. They also sooth victims who are struggling with abuse issues, child crime and domestic abuse victims. They help children relax enough to tell what happened to them, to get to the truth. The dog's presence can dissipate tension for all.
Senior dogs are so amazing. Did you know that November is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month?
One year after Maggie died we adopted Chloe, an 11 year old Golden Retriever. She brought so much to our lives, and I know we brought so much to hers, too.
Animal shelters and rescue groups overflow with healthy senior pets who are looking for a special forever home.
Chloe melted our hearts ...
Please take a moment to watch this heartwarming and inspiring video dedicated to senior dogs. Can you find some space in your homes and hearts to adopt a homeless senior pet today and make an incredible difference in their lives as well as your own?