Dear Council Member,
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this letter. I realize, in your position, that you have many issues to consider.
I write to you today, begging for your assistance in having Puppy Mills banned in Ontario.
Most people are completely unaware of puppy mills and, the disgusting way in which, their adorable puppies are manufactured. These are the healthier puppies who survive, who aren’t killed or surrendered to shelters. People don’t think past the sad ‘puppy dog eyes’ looking out from the cage or glass box in a pet store. So sad that he is confined to that space, they scoop him up and take him home. That is first class accommodation compared to a mill. Purchasing that puppy from a pet store ensures further production of milled puppies. Other individuals simply turn a blind eye and pretend it’s not as bad as ‘they’ say. ‘They’ are the few individuals working tirelessly to increase awareness and ban the puppy mill industry. ‘They’ are people who, have seen first -hand the horrific conditions these animals live in, some for their entire lives, until they are eliminated with one or more strikes of a hammer to their head. Perhaps it is the lucky ones that are shot. Regardless of method, these worn out creatures, used purely for the purpose of mass production, are disposed of, when no longer of use, ending up on the same heap of waste. There are photos (sparingly, not included) which, I assure you are not staged.
THIS IS THE SHAMEFUL REALITY; we, as a society, care more about how the cattle and chickens we consume are raised. Perhaps it is because some of us feel guilty that they are slaughtered for our consumption, and feel less guilty supporting a manufacturer that assures us the livestock is being raised and slaughtered in the most humane manner.
There are more than a hundred Mills in Ontario. This number is an estimate, provided by Kimberly Thomas of Kismutt Rescue www.kismutt.com . Kimberly provides shelter to dogs surrendered by millers. Speaking with an employee of another rescue organization recently, I learned that, although inspections are carried out, the owners of the mills are provided notice. Time to modify conditions, prior to inspection. The millers are well aware of what is required to simply ‘pass’ an inspection however, do not exercise the same consideration for their livestock on a day-to-day basis as, it costs more time and money to do so. Inspectors are there to ensure basic standards are met.
The puppies are shipped to pet stores, purchased online or picked from the stall in the ‘upper class’ barn on visitation days (again, giving farmers time to relocate and spruce things up). Non puppies that are healthy may be used to breed and further produce livestock. The dogs surrendered to shelters require rehabilitation and training. Essentially, they are wild, unsocialized animals. Many have health issues, for example; broken bones, under-developed, missing limbs and blindness.
I have friends from Korea and Africa and, I understand there are issues surrounding even the ownership of dogs in the Middle East. I am told that, even our milled dogs are better treated. THIS IS CANADA. Most dog owners in Canada consider them to be part of our family. How can we ignore this inhumane, mass-production is happening within our own communities?
My dogs Henry and Reese are puppy mill survivors. I speak from experience the work required to rehabilitate a dog that not only, does not trust, it is so fearful of a human he will urinate if you come too close. A dog afraid to play with other dogs and doesn’t know what to do with a toy. A dog that, for the first six months, slept in corners and under furniture until, nearly two years later, finally appreciates a cuddle and the comfort of a cozy bed.
Please, investigate this matter for yourself. Once you have experienced first-hand the heartbreaking situation, I believe you will agree that changes need to be made. Starting with, closing down mills in Ontario.
I realize I’m showing my age when referring to these adorable characters. I’m sure there are others who agree, Raggedy Ann, Andy and Holly Hobby were fantastic toys (way back when). There was just something about the soft, worn fabric. The more we carted them around, the more worn out they became, the more we loved them.
During a hunt for a kitchen item, packed in a box in the garage after a recent move, I came across a bag of dog toys. This bag was referred to as ‘The waiting room’ for all the ‘holey’, well-loved toys. I take pleasure in watching my ‘kids’ have fun as they play with their toys. They become attached to them and look so sad when we have to say goodbye as they enter the cylindrical coffin. After adopting a ‘chewer’, I decided I not to replace the fancy, highly sought-after toys I would pick up now and then. Instead, I purchased plush bones from the dollar store (Reese’s fave) and weird looking hippos from Walmart (Henry loves Hippo). I also started recycling the toys. Watching Henry’s face light up when he recognizes a freshly stitched ‘Blue Bear’, ‘Mr. Otter’ or ‘Ali Gator’ melts the heart – Yes, we name them. ‘H’ knows each one, and grabs whichever I refer to, out of the toy box. Sigh, if only they knew how to put them back IN the box.
Visitors chuckle at the ‘shabby chic’ family of toys, which inhabit the toy box. These hearty little balls of stuffing (or some with organs removed), are not even close to being ‘put down’. I will stitch, amputate and patch as required. There is still so much heart in these adorable ‘one of a kind little treasures’.
Situations do change. Today’s economy is affecting livelihoods; people are struggling to care for themselves and family; a move across the country, or to a different country may be required in order to remain employed. Others find themselves without work entirely as company’s downsize or go out of business. There are various other circumstances which require change to be considered. Learning of a medical condition of an owner or pet is traumatic. I respect those who make the heart-breaking decision to surrender a companion, in order for their beloved pet to have the best possible life with a family able to provide and care for them.
One of a kind little treasures:
I had the pleasure of speaking with Sami’s foster mom a few moments ago. During the conversation, I learned that 6 year old Sami, a dear, sweet little girl, is very brave when it comes time for her injections. Foster mom is very clever distracting Sami with the food bowl. Sami is more concerned with dinner and doesn’t fuss at all. As she is so tiny, a bag of food and a bottle of insulin will last ages. Because of the diabetes, Sami drinks plenty of water and will need to go outdoors frequently. As she is only tiny, a cat-flap would be the perfect solution. The most expensive part of Sami’s new lifestyle, is her needles. I’m told $50 a month – less than a meal at a restaurant. If you adopt Sami, it’s unlikely you’d want to go out and leave her anyway! A real little lap dog, she is the closest thing to a cat you will find. Unlike a cat however, Sami will come when called and scratches at the back door to be let out. Sami is so friendly, she is not afraid of other dogs and is good with young visitors. Sami’s fur is thin so she will need a cute little coat for the winter.
Sami’s Petfinder Profile:
Hello, my name is Sami, I’m a Maltipoo, I’m apricot and white 10.8lbs of love and energy. I recently became diabetic which was too much for my original people to handle but my wonderful vet refused to end my life and I have joined the foster program to look for a forever family that will feed me a veterinary prescribed low fat diet and give me a shot of insulin every 12 hours. My nickname is Sami the Lamby. I like to cuddle, go for walks and of course eat! My foster folks think I am a Lab in training! I am a gorgeous apricot and white colour, very curly and I don’t shed. My legs are long and I race around and gambol like the lamb I am named after. Caring for a diabetic dog just requires that I be fed a measured amount of food every 12 hours. Treats are just a couple of pieces of kibble occasionally. Insulin is given as a needle and I crouch down and accept the needle with stoicism but not pleasure. I can’t have scrap food or pieces of bread and crackers that I find on the ground. I would be best suited to a family with children over the age of 10, who will understand that despite my diabetes I’m absolutely fabulous!
Someone once loved him. They loved him enough to have him neutered and hold him tight. Something then changed and we don’t know why. At 10 years old, Basil should have been living the good life and spending his golden years adored and cherished. However, that wasn’t the case.
Basil was found as a stray dragging himself with his front legs. He didn’t even look like a dog. Basil was covered in matted fur and filth. He was wearing months, maybe even years of neglect. Matting like this is very painful as it pinches and pulls at the skin and in Basil’s case, it restricted him from using his back legs. In the end, 7 lbs of fur and filth were shaved off of him.
Basil is a joy! His foster mom says he can’t snuggle close enough to her. He is just a darling little black/gray poodle mix. The way to his heart is certainly through his tummy!…
Hi There! I have been named ‘Buttercup’, and I am a 5-6 year old Shih Tzu girl that is looking for my loving forever home. I came from an Amish Puppy Mill right here in Ontario. Until I was rescued, I lived my entire life in a cage in a barn in a puppy mill. I am the SWEETEST girl you will ever meet…bar none. I have cateracts in both eyes, and I am blind. However, that does not stop me from being the most loving little dog, who wants nothing more than to be your best friend and companion. I am the ultimate lap dog, and I would make an excellent lap dog for a senior. I am easy to care for. Although I cannot do stairs, I am not very heavy, as I only weigh 11 pounds. I navigate around and listen to your voice and know where you are. I have had my spay surgery and a dental and I am all ready for my new home. I need a special Angel to adopt me. Could that be you? Love, Buttercup.
Hi There! I have been named ‘Arthur’, and I am a 3-4 month old Shih Tzu puppy who is looking for my loving forever home. I came from an Amish Puppy Mill right here in Ontario. I am a special needs puppy, as the cerebral part of my brain did not develop properly. I still run and play like any normal puppy, but I sometimes will go in circles and seem ‘lost’. I will also sometimes stare into space and seem to be oblivious to my surroundings. Another symptom I have is that my neck is a little ‘floppy’. I am still a wonderful little puppy who is absoultely adorable, and everyone who meets me instantly falls in love. I have a great appetite, I drink well, I play like a normal puppy, and I LOVE other doggies to play with an follow around. It would be best if I was placed in a home with another friendly doggie in the home for companionship and to show me the ropes. I am excellent with cats, I am easy to bath, and I love my people and attention. Do you have room in your heart and home for a darling little boy like me? Love, Arthur.
To find these and other Anns and Andys, check out Petfinder.com and use the menu to search ‘special needs’.