Apr 6, 2008

What I learned on Oprah II

Oprah's episode on Friday, April 4th, touched my heart deeply. Of course, it was another one of my favorite "Lisa Ling investigative reports". This time, Lisa exposed the cruelty of puppy mills for all to see. The director of Main Line Animal Rescue took her along with him as he rescued puppies and near-death breeding dogs from the puppy mills in Lancaster, PA. It seems the Amish look at dogs more as livestock and, therefore, there is a large concentration of mills in PA. Oprah showed clips of crowded dogs in cages, tumbling over each other. Their coats were matted with urine and chains were embedded in their necks. If they received any exercise at all, it was those dogs "lucky enough" to have a makeshift hamster wheel attached to their cage.

I really knew nothing about puppy mills until we adopted Maggie. She, as many of you know, was rescued from a mill. Perhaps the owner of the mill gave her up because she had kennel cough and would be hard to sell to a pet store. If she had been healthy, I imagine the mill could have kept her to breed for years to come. I can't stand to think about it.

Beyond that, the episode also featured a shelter in Ft. Worth. This shelter receives 50 dogs a day, but only adopts out a few. Hence, over 30 dogs/day are euthanized. They film followed a dog through the entire euthanasia process. The targeted dog appeared sweet, young and healthy. I watched her grow limp from the lethal injection. The taping then went on to show the dumpster filled with body bags. By this time I was sobbing. If they were trying to use gore or the scare tactic - it worked.

I took several messages from this show:
1) Spay or neuter your dog. It sounds cliche - but it's very important.
2) Never ever buy a dog from a pet store
3) Strongly consider a rescue dog. Even if you want a specific breed, you would be surprised at the number of breed specific rescues. I already found labradors, golden retrievers, and german shepherds. Many of them have puppies, too. Although after dealing with Maggie's puppy energy, it might be nice to get an older dog next time.


Patty Ann said...

I couldn't watch the entire episode, it would break my heart. I did see that adorable white dog with the brown spot on his (or her?) eye, the way he wagged his tail as they led him into the room to be put down. I think he would have made a wonderful family addition for so many, and how did he end up there. You are right, I can't imagine Maggie's life if she was used as a breeder.

Anonymous said...

I recorded that show but was told by my daughter how difficult it was to watch.. I decided not to. What terrible situation.Is Oprah planning on getting her next dog from the pound or animal rescue? Linda

Rachael said...

I balled my eyes out watching that show. I had never heard of puppy mills until I started researching breeders and dogs before I got Baylie. I am so against puppy mills that I refuse to even support pet stores that sell puppies for profit. I am glad Oprah did a show to expose the truth on them and i hope it educated more people on what really goes on. I only wish I could rescue all the dogs that need homes...but buying a dog from a pet store doesn't rescue it, it just opens up another spot for a new puppy from a mill and is an unending process. If anyone is wanting a dog I always suggest checking out shelters or adoptions or find a reputable breeder.

Kim said...

Oh my gosh!! I hardly ever watch Oprah, but this turned out to be the first show I've seen in a while. I cried the entire show, from the very beginning with the tribute to Sophie!

Definately rescue a dog. Search online for breed-specific rescues if you want a purebread dog. We adopted two mutts, and I have to say that they are so much healthier than a lot of people's high-priced dogs from breeders. Wider gene pools, and they're still cute as buttons!

Linda, Oprah did say that if she ever got another dog, she would "practice what she preached."