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Indiana: Rescued Puppy Mill Dogs Need Your Help

January 23, 2013 by Tails Magazine in News with 2 Comments

Hayley

By Kathy Mordini

What happens to the dogs when stronger laws go into effect regulating puppy mills? In Ohio, animal advocates are starting to find out. In a few months, Ohio’s Puppy Mill Bill becomes law. Dog breeders in the state will be able to skirt the new regulations if they sell fewer than 60 dogs or puppies annually. So, instead of complying with the new laws that would require breeders to offer basic necessities and care, breeders are getting rid of the dogs to come in under the limit.

In early January, animal advocates in Ohio put out a call to rescues in the neighboring state of Indiana. Four puppy mills had decided to release dogs so they could become smaller operations. Some breeders were just putting the dogs down. In this case, the dogs were being offered to rescues.

In a couple of days, transports were arranged, and rescues from Indiana and beyond stepped up to take in the dogs. At one point, the rescues had hoped to save 150–200 dogs—an enormous number for many of these small organizations. When one breeder backed out, the number settled at 123. The dogs were rolled out in crates down country roads to freedom.

Now, the real work begins.

Rescuing a dog from a puppy mill isn’t a normal rescue. These dogs have been caged for life and bred repeatedly for profit. There are no games of fetch in the yard, no cuddles and pets, no veterinary care, and no proper diet. If that isn’t bad enough, many have been physically abused.

A run in the yard, a walk on a leash, and playtime with a family are brand new things for dogs released from puppy mills. The basics of a dog’s life need to be learned as adults. Most of these dogs received their first ever bath and grooming after their rescue, freeing them of the matted fur, fleas, feces, and dirt that had become a part of their everyday life.

What can you do?

Many of the rescues that stepped up this past week are very small organizations. Some have experience with puppy mill rescues and others are new to the scene. They all could use some help.

  • Donations. All of the dogs will need to be spayed and neutered and may have additional health issues that must be addressed. Donations will help pay veterinary bills, feed the dogs, and cover other miscellaneous expenses while these rescues nurse the dogs back to health.

You just need to look at Natalie’s Second Chance Dog Shelter’s Facebook page to get an understanding of the scope of medical issues some of the dogs face. There is Hayley with a heart murmur, Toni with a deformed foot, Belinda who has severely limited vision, and Aspen who has tumors. Then, there is Bailey who had a uterus that was so infected, puss was leaking out and she cowered at being touched. Had Bailey not been spayed when she was, she may have been dead in a short period of time. Another pregnancy would have killed her.

  • Foster homes. After the mothers and fathers of the mills get cleaned up, vetted, and assigned to foster homes, the real work begins on socialization. Foster families will work on teaching the dogs to trust, play, and just do normal things that most other dogs learned as puppies and take for granted. Some dogs may recover more quickly, though others could be in foster care and socialization training for months or longer.
  • Supplies. Some rescues need additional supplies like food, toys, leashes, beds, and other items that they’ll need to get the dogs on track.
  • Volunteers. Some groups need additional volunteers to socialize the dogs, go on trips to the vet, help with fund raising, and to run supply drives.
  • Adopters. Special adopters are needed so that these rescued dogs never need to worry about going back in a cage and can settle into a dog’s life with a happy family.

If you’d like to help out, here’s a rundown of the groups. Indiana rescues that took in dogs are:

2×2 Rescue in Merrillville

Homeward Bound Animal Welfare Group in Mishawaka

Heartland Small Animal Rescue Group in South Bend

Pals for Paws in Kokomo

Natalie’s Second Chance Dog Shelter in Lafayette

Rescue Farm in Poland

Rock Rescue

Illinois organizations that rescued dogs are:

P.A.W.S. Tinley Park

Magnificent Mutts in Hillside

Two other groups that rescued a large number of dogs include CAPPS Companion Animal Placement Program from Albany, New York and Heart to Heart in Louisville, Kentucky.

There will be many more calls for help in the weeks to come as more breeders dump dogs to get under the new limit.

Another way to cut down on the puppy mill supply is to never purchase a puppy or kitten from a pet store, the Internet, or from a newspaper ad. These dogs and cats come from puppy mills. And, if demand dries up, there will no longer be a need for the supply.

Learn more about puppy mills and their connection to pet stores and online pet sales at ThePuppyMillProject.org.

Kathy Mordini is an animal lover who has counted rescue pets as a member of her family since she was a child. As a writer, she is passionate about advocating for homeless pets and the rescues that give these pets a second chance. She also volunteers for The Puppy Mill Project. Read her pet rescue columns on the Examiner and her pet care columns on Doggy Woof.

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