Anyone who is familiar with me and this website knows how adamantly I am against puppy mills and am a strong advocate for humane reform. There’s nothing wrong with asking those ‘commercial breeders’ to improve conditions in their kennels so that living, breathing creatures are not living a life of horror and torture from beginning to end. There is money nice about puppy mills! There’s no way to sugar coat the horrors, the inhumane conditions, the filth, the cruelty, the death that take place every day and there is nothing wrong with demanding accountability.

For more about puppy mills, take some time to read The Horrors of Puppy Mills and look at some of the Puppy Mill Videos. That is the truth and reality and what those of us in our fight against puppy mills are trying to change.

Now, let’s look at the other side. It’s scary!

It should come as no surprise that there are many trying in every way possible to thwart the efforts of reform and change because to make the necessary improvements would take the precious green out of their pockets.

This is a long post so get comfy, I can guarantee that every word is well worth reading and will open your eyes to the lies, fabrications and much more that the advocates AGAINST reform are employing.

First an excellent and eye-opening article by Jenny Stephens of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch regarding the major reforms taking place in Pennsylvania right now and what organizations are doing to try to stop them. Gov. Rendell has pledged to make changes and is doing just that but it’s pissing off alot of people and they are very active in fighting him every step of the way. Read on and learn!

A Wolf in Lobbyist’s Clothing
By: Jenny Stephens, North Penn Puppy Mill Watch

A few weeks ago, a guest arrived at the North Penn Puppy Mill Watch rally, an educational function held at The Pavilion shopping center every Saturday in Lansdale, PA. As he made his way through the ranks he was heard to remark that he was going to ‘solve all of our problems.’

That man was Michael Glass, National Field Representative for America’s Pet Registry, Inc. and a registered Pennsylvania lobbyist. APRI is a canine dog registry currently competing with a slew of other ‘clubs’ to capture the attention and business of puppy mill operators (and ignorant consumers) in order to capitalize upon the registry fees that tally well into the millions annually. APRI, along with the ACA, CKC and many other money hungry organizations happily accept funds in exchange for fancy canine birth certificates that they indiscriminately issue to any four-legged animal belonging to the Canis familiaris species.

Don’t get me wrong, AKC is also in competition for these registry funds albeit with a tad more professionalism and discretion… their interests remain with pure bred dogs and they issue papers with a disclaimer that appears on their website:

“AKC Registration and Quality: There is a widely held belief that “AKC” or “AKC papers” guarantee the quality of a dog. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date. It in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog. Quality in the sense of “show quality” is determined by many factors including the dog’s health, physical condition, ability to move and appearance. Many people breed their dogs with no concern for the qualitative demands of the breed standard. When this occurs repeatedly over several generations, the animals, while still purebred, can be of extremely low quality.”

Regardless of whether or not you find the AKC statement disconcerting, at a minimum the Club is up front about what ‘papers’ really are and, rest assured, you won’t see any such notice on any of the other breed registry websites.

The fact of the matter is that APRI, ACA, and the rest of the canine registries are after one thing and one thing only: money. It stands to reason that the more puppies being produced, the more money these outfits hope to capitalize upon. Anything that could or would impede the production of puppies represents a tremendous threat to these quasi-dog clubs including the implementation of regulatory and legislative changes that would better the lives of breeder dogs held captive in puppy mills across the state and the nation.

Michael Glass and I had an interesting conversation that afternoon in December. He assured me that he has been meeting with the commercial breeders and encouraging them to ‘clean up their act.’ That he’s been meeting with legislators on the state and local levels to find ways to treat the breeder dogs more humanely and that, if we (the animal advocates and the puppy mill capitalists) could only work together, a solution is sure to be found. Glass acknowledged the well known problems in the mills yet was emphatic when he said that the two sides have more in common than I could possibly realize….

The fact of the matter is that we have little to nothing in common and share but one thing: the knowledge that commercial canine breeders place profit above the health and welfare of breeder dogs and puppies alike.

Some might say that I am too quick to judge Michael Glass and his seemingly altruistic intentions but, as sure as truth and oil always rise to the surface, a copy of the latest APRI newsletter quickly puts to bed any misgivings you may have about who and what Michael Glass is. Page three of the newsletter reads, verbatim, as follows:

Ugh, What is the latest news about the Current Legislative Proposals?

The NEW DRAFT of the horrendously written proposals has been released.

This is what we are doing. I had the opportunity to meet with Lisa Meade. Lisa is the Legislative Director for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. We thoroughly discussed the NEW DRAFT.

I have also had personal discussion with KEY members of the House of Representatives as well as influential members of the Senate. APRI and my opinions have been well received.

I am continuing to maintain contact with many of the dog breeders and other dog owner groups in Pennsylvania. Collectively, there have been dozens of interested groups in the dog industry that have been brought together to interpret the new draft of the proposals.

We have been in direct discussions with the administrators from department of the Dog Law Office. I have been assured that we will be kept updated on the release of any new information.

The next Dog Law Advisory Board Meeting is currently scheduled for January 16th, 2008.

Here is what you can do. Be ready and stay alert. We have discussed this before. At this time we need to continue to gather information and be prepared for the next step.

The good news. You, the professional breeder have the support of America’s Pet Registry, inc. We will continue to attend meetings and supply the TRUTH to the legislators. AND, we will continue to supply the TRUTH to you about what is happening legislatively. When the times comes… APRI will once again write the proper letter to the legislators to defeat this proposal.

IMPORTANT: APRI, together with experts in the professional dog breeding inudstry from Pennsylvania and other states will continue to fight irresponsible legislation. With your help we will stop this unfair legislation. We have STRONG position against this unfair legislation supported by documentation. We will NOT help to re-write the NEW DRAFT because the whole proposal is flawed beyond repair. Together we can DEFEAT the animal activists and their supporters.

Michael Glass and APRI have lots in common with the commercial breeders: they have their annual membership dues; they have the revenues generated by supplying new puppy owners with fancy, yet meaningless, papers and; they have their battle cry to squash any attempt to improve the conditions under which breeder dogs are forced to live their sad, lonely and largely neglected lives.

Despite Glass’s best efforts to convince me otherwise, animal advocates and APRI have about as much in common as did Little Red Riding Hood and the big bad wolf with one exception; instead of saying ‘what big eyes you have’ advocates might be more inclined to
remark ‘what big lies you have.’

As we begin 2008, dog lovers and animal advocates alike must remain steadfast in our quest to create laws and standards to better the lives of Pennsylvania’s breeder dogs and their puppies. During 2007 the Bureau of Dog Law demonstrated, via beefed up enforcement, that there are many aspects in the commercial kennels that need change and that enforcement of the current laws alone will not do the trick.

The new regulatory and legislative endeavor recently proposed by the Governor’s office is the beginning of long needed reform in the state. Instead of laws that allow worst case scenarios to manifest, the proposals offer standards to prevent these crisis situations from ever occurring in the first place and are, in their nature, progressive and pro-active.

It’s only natural for human beings to resist change but change we must if we are ever to solve the problem of long standing abuse in Pennsylvania’s commercial kennels and actually help the dogs. If we learned but one thing over the last year it’s that those who profit from dogs are depending upon the inability of animal advocates to create a united front.

This year instead of professing to care about Pennsylvania’s dogs it’s time to prove it and, make no mistake about it, the only winners or losers in this battle are the dogs.

Are you up to the challenge?

Next, learn about what Glass, APRI and other ‘breed associations’ are getting together to work on regarding puppy mill reform in Wisconsin.

This comes from Clark County Humane Society who is working diligently, hand-in-hand with The Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project to end the WI Dog Auctions reform ‘commercial breeders’

Wisconsin’s First Breeders Educational Trade Show and Seminar

Recently we received notice of the following event:

“Wisconsin’s First Breeder Educational Trade Show & Seminar is right around the corner! Wisconsin breeders should head on down to Horst Stables Auctions, Thorp, WI on August 18, 2007. This seminar is focused on increasing your profits and decreasing your puppy losses! You will also have the opportunity to visit with industry experts and become a member of Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association. For more information, contact APRI National Field Representative Michael Glass at (484) 880-7962.”

We first wished to learn more about WPPBA, the “Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association”. By the title, one would think this would be a group representing reputable breeders in Wisconsin, working to establish a network to share expertise regarding the breeding of pets. Upon further investigation, we learned that the group held it’s first meeting on 6/9/07. We found the following notice online (www.madison.com/communities/whs/events/index.php):

Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association Meeting
Date: 6/09/2007
Inaugural Meeting of the Wisconsin Professional Pet Breeders Association, at 2:30 pm on Saturday June 9 at Markesan. contact Wallace Havens at 608-837-2858 or e-mail PUP3090@aol.com for directions.

The agenda of the meeting is:

1. To organize all Wisconsin pet breeders of all species to form opposition to the Pet Facilities Licensing Bill by Senators Darling and Lothian (see Legislative Alert parts I to V, in right margin of this page), and any other anti-pet state and local legislation, as well as to overturn existing legislation.

2. To protect pet owners and breeders from unreasonable harassment and invasions of privacy, and to identify sympathetic legislators to draft bills that would protect us and legally indemnify and reimburse us from damages from baseless charges and impoundments from overzealous animal rights extremists and “humane” organizations.

Of course, we are naturally curious people. Now we are really starting to wonder about this group. So a CCHS staff member attended the August 18th meeting to learn more about this organization. The information we learned is interesting, to say the least. It is also very unsettling.

Indeed WPPBA is not what it first appears. The President of this group is Wallace Havens, of Puppy Haven puppy mill fame. Wallace Havens owns one of the biggest “high volume” puppy mills in the Midwest, has numerous violations of USDA regulations and has been suspended from AKC privileges for ten years. (Click here to read a very interesting report on Wallace Havens’ business, Puppy Haven.) Vice-President and Treasurer of WPPBA is Clyde Horst, owner of Horst Stables and proprietor of Wisconsin’s dog auctions. (This is where the infamous Thorp Dog Auctions are held.) In attendance at this ‘Breeders Educational Trade Show’ are approximately 40 Mennonite puppy millers from Clark County. It seems that WPPBA is an organization of Wisconsin puppy millers.

To be fair, there was some good information presented at this seminar. Dr. Gene Warren from Pfizer provided an Animal Health Presentation, covering vaccinations for dogs and puppies. Dr. Ali Brower, Diagnostic Pathologist with the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, presented information on Canine Brucellosis. Cindy Neis, USDA Animal Care Inspector, showed information on what she looks for as part of her inspections.

The most interesting parts of the day were the vendors who sponsored the event. There were a number of registry groups present, including America’s Pet Registry, Inc., United All Breed Registry, American Canine Association, and American Canine Hybrid Club. Each vendor did a short presentation on their perspective regarding pet breeding.

APRI (America’s Pet Registry) was the host and sponsor of the seminar. They presented information in the front cover of the program for the seminar. This is a direct quote of their information:

“America’s Pet Registry, Inc is here because we believe in your right to choice. We are here because, unfortunately in our society and in your state government, there are those who will deny you this essential element of your personal freedoms. We are here to arm you with information so you may protect your rights to property and due process under the law from those who seek to deny you these basic freedoms. We are here because we understand that tyranny seldom comes from the barrel of a gun. APRI is here because we know if we do not adhere to the lessons of the past, accept the challenges of the present, then there will be no opportunity for choice in the future.”

Okay, there’s a feeling at this seminar that the sponsors and vendors are here to do more than promote their products. There’s a lot of political activity taking place. The source of this activity is extremely frightening.

One of the speakers is Cathie Baker, representing United All Breed Registry. Cathie spoke to the group about how important it is to socialize puppies, and that you should actually touch them every day. She recommended putting the puppies in a playpen with the young children so the children could do the socializing. It’s important to note that Cathie is from Missouri.

The American Canine Hybrid Club was represented. This group discussed the value of registering your hybird dog. “A hybrid dog is so much better because it’s the product of two purebred dogs. If you get a dog from a pound, you don’t know what it comes from.” (Excuse me, but isn’t a ‘hybrid’ dog a mixed breed? Just checking!) This group is from Arkansas.

Bob Yarnall is the President and CEO of the American Canine Association. Bob is from Pennsylvania. He discussed a lawsuit taking place back in Pennsylvania, and assured the Mennonite breeders in attendance that he is looking out for their families back home in Pennsylvania. He also strongly encouraged all breeders to join the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. According to his handout, “ACA has formed a strong strategic alliance with Farm Bureau. This relationship has proven itself time and time again as ACA has worked hard in stopping hundred of bills from unnecessarily burdening our nation’s kennels.” They provided recommended policies for each breeder to submit to their county’s Farm Bureau:

1) Wisconsin Department of Agriculture regulations mirror USDA for the inspections and licensing of kennels.

2) Only trained and certified Department of Agriculture employees’ inspection officers inspect Department of Agriculture licensed kennels.

3) Local humane society personnel be required to obtain a serach warrant to come on to our farms and kennels

4) If a farm on agricultural zoned land adds a USDA or state licensed and inspected kennel-breeding operation, that this activity be fully viewed as part of the agro-business on the farm helping to keep the farm agriculturally and economically viable.

Also present at the seminar were the Missouri Pet Breeders Association (whose founder proudly talked about whipping the activists in Missouri) and the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Assocation.

APRI’s CEO, Marcus Richmond, was the last speaker at the seminar. His comments follow:

“The first line of defense is compliance. We have to take ammunition against activism, against the ‘animal takers’ who take without due process. It comes down to the breeders versus the activists. The activists disagree with all animal usage. APRI is working to develop a state organization to get the truth out there. Activists disguise ‘animals welfare’ for animal rights. They are denying individuals their choices to own property, make a livelihood, own a pet, their due process. For the people in the middle, [not breeders or activists] the activists will be taking away their right to own a pet. Politicians need to know that if the puppy breeders are out of business, people still want pets. Then they can only import them from out of the country or get them on the black market. An artificial shortage will be created, and then it’s only for the money. Activists just don’t have enough sense to get out of the ring.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Attending this seminar was certainly an educational experience, just like their brochure promised. We learned that there is more going on behind the scenes than we ever realized. We are very troubled to learn that the puppy millers here in Clark County are closely aligned with Wallace Havens, who was in attendance at the seminar. He is largely viewed as their mentor and leader. The group has apparently been meeting for several years. Also very troubling is the connection with Missouri and Pennsylvania puppy mill organizations. There was a large thank you notice right in the program to Ken Brandt, Lobbyist and Executive Director of PPDBA, Pennsylvania Pofessional Dog Breeders Association, Advocates for Breeders’ Rights.

There are some things fundamentally wrong with this group. First, they are telling people here in Wisconsin that those of us concerned with animal welfare are going to stop them from owning pets. Nothing could be farther from the truth! That doesn’t even begin to make sense. All of the work and effort that goes into caring for the animals entrusted to our care only comes to a happy ending when a pet finds a new forever home. Second, and most important, letting groups from Missouri and Pennsylvania influence legislation in our own State of Wisconsin is wrong. We don’t need to have money from puppy millers in other states helping to encourage those who are operating puppy mills in Wisconsin. Lobbyists that are paid by these out-of-state breeder groups have no place in the Wisconsin legislative process.

If they are determined to call someone concerned with animal welfare an “animal rights activist”, then so be it. The bottom line for us is that no one should be making money off of the suffering of dogs and puppies. That has nothing to do with impeding one’s right to make a living or their ‘due process’. That has to do with what is morally and ethically correct. Someone who makes their living by breeding dogs in horrible conditions until their bodies are worn out and exhausted sure seems to be in it for the money. A breeder selling puppies with genetic defects, health issues, and socialization problems sure seems to be in it for the money. Although these puppy millers seem to see no ethical or moral problems with what they are doing, we certainly do. This needs to be stopped now. We need everyone’s help to achieve this. Please get involved and contact your legislators today. We can’t do it alone. We all need to work together to stop this misery and suffering!

Keep in mind that these organizations have money to throw into the legislative ring, something that those of us who are fighting for reform are sadly short of. All we have are our voices, our commitment and our knowledge of what is ethically and morally right and humane.

I constantly get questions from people asking, ‘What can I do?” Well, what you can do is be a voice, a loud voice! Write, email, phone, talk to friends, family and neighbors and educate them to the reality and ask them to do the same. Share this with everyone. I make it easy, there’s a little email icon so that you can email it people easily. If you care and really want to make a difference, start today! One person at a time, we will make a difference.

Stop their lies, stop their cruelty, end the suffering! Please! They cannot ask or beg but I can and I am!

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