Nightline looks at puppy mills tonight
ABC Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi and investigators from Nightline visited numerous commercial breeding facilities in the area, and the report includes an on-camera interview with a Mennonite breeder who allowed a tour of his facility, which houses about 200 dogs. The breeder, identified only as Ezekiel, says his dogs are healthy and happy, and says he doesn’t operate a “puppy factory. He also goes on about how much “safer” it is for the dogs to run in caged treadmills as opposed to outdoors.
The report also documents the work of Main Line Animal Rescue, whose founder, Bill Smith, says female dogs at the farms live their lives producing litter after litter, then are disposed of — sometimes euthanized, sometimes shot.
There are about 300 licensed breeders in Lancaster County, and rescue workers estimate another 600 unlicensed facilities operate in barns and sheds, according to the ABC report. Those breeders go to great measures to avoid discovery. Smith says some even “de-bark” their dogs.
“The farmers, the Amish and the Mennonites, they pull the heads back and then they hammer sharp instruments down their throats to scar their vocal cords so they can’t bark,” he said. “So that way they can have 500-600 dogs in a barn and no one knows. As we said, it’s an industry of secrecy.”
Breeders can make upwards of half million dollars a year. The Amish breeders sell the dogs at auctions and the puppies often end up at pet stores.
“People are deceived,” Smith said. “They’re nice enough and they put down their money and they walk away with a dog and they don’t realize that there are 500 dogs in a barn … suffering horribly. So it’s something that people have to be aware of. They have to know that going in. When they buy these dogs, they’re keeping that going.”
(Photos: Mary Hunt Davis/Main Line Animal Rescue)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abc, amish, animal welfare, animals, auctions, breeders, commercial, conditions, cruelty, de-bark, dogs, ezekiel, farms, lancaster county, laws, licensed, main line animal rescue, mennonite, neglect, nightline, pennsyvlania, pet stores, puppy mills, rescue, sharon alfonsi, tour