Protestors Mark National Puppy Mill Awareness Month

Animal advocates share their personal stories of rescued puppy mill dogs.

September is National Puppy Mill Awareness Month, and the protestors who have been gathering outside the Puppy Experience in Aquebogue to raise awareness plan to be out again on both Saturday and Sunday.

For months, protestors have gathered on Route 25 to educate about puppy mills, holding signs stating that many pet stores purchase dogs from puppy mills.

Recently, the owner of the Puppy Experience spoke out and his attorney sent a cease and desist letter, saying litigation could be the next step.

In early September,  the police were called after a complaint was made that protestors were parking in the nearby Aquebogue Elementary School lot.

But those who gather every weekend are working to raise awareness about the "horror" of puppy mills -- and to make a difference, said Barbara Dennihy, of the  Companion Animal Protection Society,

For Dennihy, the story of puppy mill rescues resonates close to the heart: Her dog, Molly, was used as a breeding dog for six years before being sold at auction to a research lab.

The lab, she said, went bankrupt after six months. "They locked the door and left," Dennihy said. "A janitor found the 30 dogs abandoned and called local rescue groups."

Local rescue groups on Long Island took ten of the dogs, Dennihy said, and, after vetting, spaying and grooming, the dogs were put up for adoption. 

"Molly had many medical issues," Dennihy said, including a necrotic uterus, from overbreeding and "severe" dental issues. "Had she not been rescued she would have died of a ruptured uterus within days. Three days after I adopted her she had to have emergency dental surgery done. All her teeth were pulled  from rot except seven."

Today, Dennihy said, Molly "is a wonderful dog and very loved."

The Kent Animal Shelter in Riverhead also participated in a puppy mill rescue this year. Executive Director Pam Green said 20 dogs were brought to the Kent Animal Shelter as part of a coordinated effort with the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society. The puppies, she said, came from Missouri, "the puppy mill capital of the world."

Other areas known for puppy mills include Iowa, Green said; four times a year, Kent participates in similar puppy mill transports.

Some of the dogs, Green said, have social problems. "They've been living in a cage sometimes no larger than 3 x 3,"  she said. Some of the pups, Green added, live their entire lives in cages. "They die in puppy mills," she said.

Other problems puppy mill rescue dogs face include dental issues and difficulty becoming accustomed to life outside of a cage. "They're shy," she said. "And they're not familiar with grass -- they don't walk well on grass at first."

Green, who also has a puppy mill rescue named Frodo, said some dogs have genetic issues including heart murmurs due to close breeding.

In order to put the brakes on puppy mill proliferation, public education is important, Green said. Often, breeder dogs are used to create new "designer" mixed breeds, such as "morkies." The pups, Green said, are sold on the internet and in pet shops "It's a billion dollar industry," she said. Once the breeder dogs outlive their usefulness, many are sent to auction or euthanized. "A lot of people just don't get it -- we're not talking about the puppies; we're talking about their parents."

Dennihy added that a puppy mill  is "a commercial dog breeding facility that mass produces puppies for retail pet stores and internet sales. Emphasis is about profit , not animal welfare."

Breeding dogs, Dennihy said are often kept in substandard conditions, kept in cages, and get little exercise or socialization -- with "no veterinary care" and poor nutrition and little or no shelter from the elements.

Females, she said, are bred each cycle with no rest between litters for years.

"Puppy Mill Awareness Month was created to raise awareness about the horror of puppy mills and their connection to retail pet stores and internet sales. This month the motto 'Don't shop, adopt' takes on even more meaning," Dennihy said.

Consumers looking for a specific dogs may consider adoption from a shelter or breed specific rescue group, Dennihy said. "Many consumers do not realize there are breed specific rescue groups across the country. If a family is looking for a poodle or a Great Dane there is a specific rescue group with plenty of dogs for adoption."

Of the ongoing quest to raise awareness, Dennihy said, "CAPS will continue to educate, investigate and lobby for legislation."

Do you have a puppy mill rescue? What do you think of the protests in Aquebogue? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Lady Kaphan September 23, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Thank you there is a sign that states hanging up in the store that all info on breeder and vet care is available to prospective purchases. This statement was taken directly from the nys dept of agriculture book for pet dealers and is required to be shown clearly for prospective customers to see. And Amy you just stood by and watched these pups not being cared for and collected a paycheck .... and Scott is the pig???? Things that make you go Hmmmm...whats the matter you dont know how to file a complaint with the spca??? Where the animal advocacy in that???
Jen September 24, 2012 at 01:51 AM
It truly boggles my mind how anyone can condone someone selling puppies coming from mills. It's not rocket science. All one needs to do is google puppy mills and become educated. If they still condone it, then they are sick human beings.
Anne Marie September 24, 2012 at 03:31 AM
No one is condoning a damn thing... if that is your perspective on this issue, than that's your opinion. Condone:verb (used with object), con·doned, con·don·ing. 1. to disregard or overlook (something illegal, objectionable, or the like). 2. to give tacit approval to: By his silence, he seemed to condone their behavior. 3. to pardon or forgive (an offense); excuse. None of these seem to apply, do they?
Dr. Sarah Alward September 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Unfortunately, all 3 apply. I'm a vet and have had many, many clients (as have other docs I know) who knew that the pups came from mills, and chose to disregard because they wanted the white fluffy dog, or they felt pity for the dog. I think that handing over a handsome sum of $ for a pup you know came from a mill is definitely disregarding that fact, and giving obvious approval. It's tragic, and 99% of said clients are always regretful after their pup has so many expensive medical issues.
BeNice September 24, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Are there any laws or regulations that protect these dogs?
Kristie M September 24, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Jen, you are so right. Until we can ban the retail sale of pets, education is all we have and is extremely important. Puppy mills are documented cruel and inhumane. I would not spend my Saturdays outside with a sign if there was no proof or it was a rare problem. We all have other things we'd like to be doing, but until puppy mills are gone or local demand ceases, I'll be out there. The amount of animal cruelty that goes on just so a handful of pet dealers can make a few extra dollars is disgusting and immoral.
Anne Marie September 24, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Does anyone have proof? Anyone out there?? I mean serious and documented proof? If not, all the verbiage being thrown around concerning people's individual experiences and opinions (which btw, I am not discounting in any way) does NOT apply to this individual store! It's really that simple. Unless you have traveled to the middle of bumf*ck egypt for the commencement of the process,followed said progression out east, arrived at supposed drop-off point and then decided to sit around and wait for the ending, there's not a single leg to stand on regarding the association of this store with the products of puppy mills. There's a step by step process to this thing.. if all the steps don;t co-inside, it amounts to nil. So al this protesting in front of a mom and pop business that employs local people and supports the local economy (which we all supoosedly want, right?), makes no sense if you choose to utilize the logic applied to the process... right?
Jen September 24, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Thank you Dr Alward.
Jen September 24, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I am puzzled by your hostility. What stake do you have in this shop? Do you work there? Is the owner your son? Are you co-owner? No one that cared about dogs would be on here practically attacking people that have the knowledge of puppy mills and concern for the cruel treatment given there. . An intelligent person would be doing some research on their own. I really am puzzled by your reaction. It's not just a one post deal where you defend this money hungry person selling puppies from mills and dealers but it is on and on. You are relentless. No one in their right mind can defend puppy mills. Only greedy, uncaring individuals. You want proof from the picketers of where the dogs come from? Ask the owner. Then trace the path yourself. Check out the laws for humane treatment of puppy mills and mass breeders in the state they originate from and see if they are adequate. I know of NO state that has puppy mills that have adequate laws. How often are they inspected? How many violations are there? How much corruption is there and how many inspectors accept hush money? You want facts, Ann Marie, be an adult and go get them yourself. Maybe you will be educated at the same time. (and maybe find your heart).
Anne Marie September 25, 2012 at 12:48 AM
There's no hostility... just fact. It all depends on your view. If you look with an unbiased eye (which no human being on earth has) you would see this. Practically attacking people? How? As far as my intelligence goes, I'm fairly up there. The only reason you see me as relentless is b/c I am one of the 3 total people who have a different viewpoint that yours. If my opinion does not agree with yours, it does not mean that it's wrong. And you have some serious balls to label me as uncaring and greedy... you have no clue what I do, who I am, what contributions I choose to make towards society and other charitable organizations. Don't attack me, darlin'. Not a wise move. I'm asking you have any of the protestors done the legwork and you have the audacity to tell me to do it myself? Who in god's green earth do YOU think you are? I'm quite aware of the horrendous atrocities that go on in puppy mills across this country. I'm also aware that the US traps and transports wild horses and culls from auctions for human consumption to Canada and Mexico... were you aware? If you only knew... do yourself a huge favor and learn to take a look in the mirror before attacking someone's character out of the blue. What I was doing was asking legitimate questions.. your responses became unecessarily personal to the point of an attack... Check yourself.
Jen September 25, 2012 at 02:02 AM
I don't appreciate the veiled threat and if you were so "up there", you would be able to compose a post without potty mouth. Anne Marie- you are a troll and an ignorant fool. Get a life. I am not wasting my time dealing with such hostility and gibberish. YOU have no facts and are too lazy to do your own research. I know more about humane issues than most people so you are preaching to the choir. Get off your high horse and get a freakin life, not troll on here all day. I see you are an antagonist on other threads here too. Guess that heart is too deeply buried to be found. Shame.
Anne Marie September 25, 2012 at 02:24 AM
And you're so awesome to line up w/out asking questions... Well, foul language certainly casts an uneducated pall over your comment. Keep on rockin', man!
Anne Marie September 25, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Can't answer questions, huh? Go figure... When push comes to shove, all hell breaks loose. I was asking questions... not assuming a single thing.. yet, no one can answer them. Those who state that they have the knowledge cannot or will not offer up an explanation... So much for discussion. Let's bring out the defense mechanisms instead, 'cause that really works wonders.
Jen September 25, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Am I mistaken or don't people with "up there" intelligence know how to spell coincide?
Ashley September 25, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Puppies are not a business, they are live animals. Do you know that anyone who works there is from this area? The one person I do know who previously worked there was not from the North Fork. The dogs don't even receive vet care on the North Fork. The vet this store chooses is up the island and is known to deal with other stores who buy their dogs from "brokers" ie puppy mills. The hummer out front is atrocious and I don't see how this business his helping our local economy. I've personally seen some of the dogs from this particular store and I can see that they have both physical and mental problems. It's not hard to tell that they have come from bad breeding.
barbara d September 25, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Thank you Dr Alward. We will continue to educate consumers on the parent dogs left behind in the mills.
Amy September 26, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Ohhh there you are sociopath... been waiting for you to open your ugly mouth. The only difference is when I found out, I changed my ways. You are living this!!!! You keep feeding the cruelty. You know the horrors of puppy mills and yet you stay in business!!! There is nothing illegal that the SPCA should be called on you for. It is just morally wrong you moron. The mills are despicable as are you and Scott for continuing the abuse!!!!!!! Do you buy your medications from IRA!!!????? Who is your Vet?? Why is he in Huntington??? Do you dispose of dead puppies in the trash???? Do you even have a heart???
Amy September 26, 2012 at 09:10 PM
No. The laws the parents have in the mills are the same laws our livestock food animals have. The parents of these puppies are considered livestock. They have very little rights. They do not have the same rights that companion animals have. so if this makes sense, the puppy from the puppy store has rights under the companion animal laws once you buy him/her and the parents do not have those same rights. They do not ever have to see a Vet. Ever!!
Amy September 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
After speaking to someone who knows this nut job Annmarie personally, everyone disregard her comments. Ignore her. She is a trouble maker and she just goes on all these articles and stirs shit up. She has no life.
Amy September 26, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I can not stop laughing after talking to the person who knows this troll. hahahahahaha You don't have a clue do you? you are a laughing stock. You need a life. you should check yo self yo
Lady Kaphan September 27, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Amy it sounds like you need some deep therapy. You call me so many names a sociopath - really?? Actually u sound nuts with all this name calling and accusations that specifically target me and Scott. This sounds like its personal and not just about education on mills - and your right why would you call the spca when we dont do anything illegal-Dahhh. Also, I guess you have never seen me cause I am anything but ugly -inside and out-God Bless
Lady Kaphan September 27, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Actually Amy what is your last name cause now I am feeling threatened by you and your posts and would like to get a restraining order against you. You sound really violent and harrassing in your comments. So what is you last name and address??
Lisa Finn (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Let's keep the language and the comments civil on this topic thread, please. Any posts with profanity will be deleted. Thank you.
Amy September 27, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Threats? where? really? no threats. you have no idea that I know everything about how a puppy store works do you? Every single thing. Why would you continue to feed this industry when you know how horrible it is? why on earth would you want your children to grow up thinking puppies are products and it doesn't matter if they are tortured. And to answer a question someone asked about why we are not at the mills themselves protesting. The mills are in the middle of nowhere and standing on a dirt road with no traffic is pointless now isn't it. Why are we so called targeting your store? because it is where us protesters live. We don't want this in our community. This community doesn't want this horrific industry. the puppies are all cute and all, yea I know. The store may be clean and all but the horrors of where the puppies come from is still a reality. You can put it in the back of your head and shut it out all you want, but every time you sell a puppy, you feed the pockets of money hungry people who do not care one bit that their so called product has a heart beat and feels pain and fear. They will breed that dog until she can't breed anymore. every single heat. no matter her medical issues, she will breed. No matter her age, she will breed. When done, she will be discarded like an old rag. Sounds like such a nice industry to be a part of huh?
Anne Marie September 27, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Amy: I would like to meet you face to face this weekend. I hope you will be out and about so that this name callling garbage can stop. ~Anne Marie
Kristie M September 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Lady Kaphan, I don't now if you are married to Scott or another relative. Either way, you must realize that very few people only do one crappy thing in their lives. He was arrested for selling puppies out of his trunk, he buys from puppy mills now and is not considering going humane. He is not a good person, period. The lawyer, defensive statements, idiotic Hummer...there are much better human beings to spend time with.
Anne Marie September 27, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Jen 10:02 pm on Monday, September 24, 2012 "....I don't appreciate the veiled threat and if you were so "up there", you would be able to compose a post without potty mouth. Anne Marie- you are a troll and an ignorant fool....I see you are an antagonist on other threads here too." "Not a wise move" is not a threat, it's a suggestion. As for "potty mouth", I don't see you chastsing your fellow activist Amy for using foul language. "A troll and an ignorant fool." - You don't know me, you're making assumptions based upon your emotional response to a differing opinion. "I see you are an antagonist on other threads here too." - You might've chosen to read only the commentary and not the journalism piece itself.. for if you had, you would have seen with your own two eyes that the commentary was justified. As you apparently believe yours is.
Anne Marie September 27, 2012 at 06:28 PM
"Am I mistaken or don't people with "up there" intelligence know how to spell coincide?"- Jen Sorry, my finger slipped. Don't be catty... seriously? Good god.
Anne Marie September 27, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The thing is, I actually believe you. You just come off with such a self-righteous attitude that it becomes personal for me. What I was doing was stating the legal right that the man has to run his business. You chose to turn it personal. I mean, jeebus effin' christmas, man.. I rescued a pit, a pit mix, a boxer mix and a Samoyed mix. I'm aware of the god forsaken tragedies that occur within the confines of a puppy mill. I'm aware of how deranged people can be.. Dude, I shot dope for a very long friggin' time, I know. Family history vs. personal history differs greatly (if you don't know what I'm referring to, check your profile wall for a PM.) I've done some dumb stuff, as we all have. Unfortunatly, (and please read carefully), the legal route and moral route take two different paths. It's usually the legal route that wins out. I'm NOT discounting your experiences...I'm NOT discounting your thoughts. I'm NOT discounting your feelings. I'm bringing to light the unfortunate situation that exists when morals conflict with on the book laws via a mind equpped to ask questions.. PLEASE don't take what I'm saying to you as an attack, and PLEASE do NOT (and this includes everyone) denegrate other human beings for the simple fact that they may have a differing opinion than yourself. All opinions have the right to be heard... it's a fact of life, as is your stance on the puppy mills occupying the midwest brokering to god knows where. I'm not attacking YOU. Don't attack me.
Amy September 27, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I will be at the protest Sat. see you there.


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