When an animal rescuer attended a dog auction in Missouri, she found the dogs selling for almost nothing. The Missouri Department of Agriculture had ordered the sale because conditions in the puppy mill had deteriorated from whatever their miserable standards were.
Before the dogs could even be offered for sale, they had to be shaved and dipped in a poisonous chemical to kill all the vermin on their bodies.
The rescuer bid on dogs selling for five dollars, one dollar, even a quarter. She did not know where she could take all the dogs that she brought back with her that day, but she also knew that the dogs that did not sell might be killed.
Two SUV’s full of dogs. Six schnauzers, a maltese and a pregnant poodle. We line the cages up in our studio. This moment is their first taste of freedom. All were left at the end of an auction, facing death. HUA paid .25 for each, saving them from being put to sleep, saying they deserve a chance to live.
There is no better place than a dog auction to observe the total lack of compassion and respect for life that is the hallmark of the pet industry. Terrified dogs are pulled from their cages and muddy pens and paraded on the auction table while the auctioneer bawls out their breeding ability. “No bottom jaw, but that’s not whar she breeds.”
On a freezing cold day, dogs are set out in open wire crates to spend the day until they are hauled off in the back of open trucks to freeze on their way to another hellhole. In the humid heat of early fall in the southern states, dogs are taken from their sweat boxes and crammed into small travel kennels at the close of the auction. The treatment of dogs at dog auctions has always been incredibly horrible even when they brought good prices. Now they are worth almost no money, which is the only value known to the breeders. The dogs can suffer to death during the sale or while being transported, and it is of no consequence.
Julie Lavin, director of Hearts United for Animals (HUA) and the founder of Almost Home Canine Rescue, drove through the entire night to meet the transport on the interstate and bring dogs to her rescue or transfer to other rescues. The following day Janeal Dominico, founder of Little White Dog Rescue, drove to Iowa to take dogs for her rescue and bring the rest to HUA. She met HUA volunteers in Omaha with the dogs who had nowhere else to go.
The HUA volunteers drove directly to a television station where the dogs were welcomed and taken into the newsroom. There the doors of their travel kennels were opened. When the Schnauzers realized it was a safe place, they bounded happily around the studio enjoying their newfound freedom.
Their old lives so fresh, auction tags are still wrapped around their necks. Some dogs are too scared to completely step out of their cages. The pregnant poodle doesn’t hesitate. She has infected ears, rotted teeth, and a lot of love to give.
The lady poodle stepped gracefully out of her kennel, walked around to every person in the room with a loving greeting as if to say thank you, and laid her head in the news reporter’s lap. This pathetic looking dog, only three years old, was a skeleton shaved to the skin with cuts and abrasions everywhere, and she was soon to give birth to puppies. She has been named Angel.
The story of the 25-cent schnauzers and the pregnant poodle made the ten o’clock news that evening. KMTV, Channel 3 in Omaha, has worked for months to bring the plight of the puppy mill dogs to the attention of the public. Every dog loving person owes a big debt of gratitude to these kind people.
When you buy a puppy from a pet store, just who do you think is getting rich? Corporate puppy mills, back yard breeders and hell-holes like this one.
Support your local animal shelter.
More at Prisoners of Greed.