Last week Oprah re-ran an amazing show on puppy mills. She had investigative journalist Lisa Ling showing all the heartbreaking undercover footage of what puppy mills are really like, such that anyone who saw it will never consider buying a dog again. She showed amazing rescue people doing amazing things to deal with the swelling number of unhomed pets, and she interviewed the Fort Worth Animal Shelter which has no choice but to euthanize 17,000 dogs a year, almost 3 times as many as they are able to rehome. =(((( She had her vet on and the head of the HSUS who both said “spay and neuter.” She shared links to how people can get politically involved in abolishing puppy mills.
When the show re-ran she read a letter from the Governor of Pennsylvania pushing legislation for monitoring and oversight to mills. She made thousands of people cry and she made thousands of people commit themselves to fixing this awful problem. Oprah cried. Oprah publicly stated she will only get new dogs from shelters and never “buy” again.
But Oprah is not the one person I’m writing this entry about who did so much to raise awareness on puppy mills and add strength to the abolish movement. The person I want to talk about is Bill Smith, the founder of Main Line Animal Rescue, the leader of an amazing organization. He and Main Line put up a billboard just off the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago that read, “Oprah-please do a show on puppy mills; the dogs need you.”
As much as we all hate puppy mills the hard reality is that most people don’t even know what they are or even that they exist. Most dog lovers don’t even know about them. Oprah said she was confused when she saw the billboard because she didn’t know what a puppy mill was.
So a 21-woof salute from Dogster to Bill Smith and the Main Line Animal Rescue. We’ve always thought if people simply knew about puppy mills and backyard breeders we could kill all their business, but haven’t done a good job voicing that to people BEFORE they get a dog. We’re re-emboldened to do all we can do.