Puppy Mill Auction

This is guest post from a passionate animal care advocate that wanted to have this story heard, but wished to remain anonymous.  We thought the story should be told on SingingDogs.net for people to be educated and aware about puppy mills. 

Bidding on puppy mill dogs at an auction is controversial.  On the one hand it is like buying a puppy from a pet store; you are putting money into the hands of the puppy millers and many rescues won’t buy dogs from auctions for this reason.  Other rescues feel that the dogs will be sold regardless, so the mill breeders will get their money regardless, and they focus on relieving the plight of the individual dogs being sold.

We arrived at 2:30 pm, about halfway through the auction.  The first shock was that the place was packed with at least 150 cars.  There were so many people in the arena where the auction was held that it was difficult to move, see, or hear one another without putting your ear next to the speaker's mouth.  Imagine the dogs trying to cope in such strange surroundings amidst that din! There were signs posted on the wall warning that anyone using cameras or video cameras, including cell phone versions, would have their equipment confiscated.

The dogs were brought out in lots by breed, up to 4 at a time.  Smaller dogs were placed in a sitting position on a table, larger breeds left on the floor.  Bidding was per dog, with the highest bidder getting to say which dog of the 4 they wanted, up to all 4 at the high bid price.

Some dogs went for as little as $50, but most were considerably more than that.   I was also shocked to find that some breeds sold for as much as one would pay for a puppy from a reputable breeder; Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers sold for $1200.  I was surprised to find Neapolitan Mastiffs being auctioned.  The most numerous breed was the English Bulldog.  I wondered aloud why puppy mills would raise a breed that had such small litters born by caesarian section, but someone explained to me that they would sell each puppy for as much as $2,500.

When bidders were ready to check out, they went to a line where they could pay by cash or credit card. Then they moved to a line where they signed a transfer of ownership form, and received vaccination records for the dog.

Then some guys brought the dogs out of a holding pen area to load them into the buyer’s vehicle.  We had intended to go into the holding pen area to look around until we noticed that at least 1 dog in the auction had failed its brucellosis test.  As my friend and I have litters planned, we decided to stay outside and wait for our dogs to be brought out to us.

As we got a better look at the dogs, the following issues came to light.  All of the dogs had severely overgrown toenails.  Most of the dogs were grossly overweight.  Puppy mill breeders free-feed cheap dog food in big buckets; they have too many dogs to monitor individual intake.  The dog’s coats were poor and greasy due to the cheap food and lack of brushing or baths.  Few of them knew how to walk on leash.  One dog had a puncture on her nose that was oozing pus.  Two of the females were full of milk; their puppies had obviously been pulled off of them so that the dams could go to auction.  The biggest dog we took had extensive pressure abrasions on her hocks and elbows from resting on hard surfaces.  The only vaccinations on record were rabies shots.  Most of the dogs had only had these within the past month so that they could go to auction.  One of the dogs had just received her rabies vaccination that day.

For these dogs, at least, and those purchased by a couple of other rescues in attendance, their life is about to take an abrupt turn for the better.  The majority of dogs went to other puppy mill breeders and a fate I wouldn’t wish for any dog.  I encourage all of us to screen our puppy buyers carefully, make sure that our spay/neuter contracts are honored, and to stay in touch with puppy buyers, doing all that we can to make sure that no dog bred by us ever ends up in these straits.

While waiting to collect our rescues, I picked up two magazines from a stack published by the “Professional Kennel Industry” and brought them home to study later.  The shocks just kept coming.  In what follows, everything in quotes comes verbatim from one of the two magazines.

There’s a memoir-like article by a guy who moved from California to Missouri with 13 dogs; he nonchalantly mentions that he now has 320 dogs.  Can you imagine?  Forget socialization; even if someone had 10 employees it would be impossible to provide adequate basic care for that many.

The advertisers in the magazines surprised me.  Pro Pac and Sportmix, the makers of those cute little biscuits we put out at shows, had an ad with a banner at the bottom saying “We are Proud Supporters of the Breeder Industry!”

And how about this ad from the Hunte Corporation?  “Get 5 pounds of puppy dog food free for every puppy you sell to The Hunte Corporation”  The logo is “Hunte (with a little Christian fish symbol under it) where puppies come first!”

Several registries advertised in these magazines.  America’s Pet Registry (APA), located in Arkansas, styles itself The People’s Registry.  They have what they call a hybrid registry for designer dogs.

Most of the dogs we rescued were registered with the American Canine Association, Inc. (ACA) “Receive credit and recognition for being one of the finest breeders in the nation”. ACA was advertizing its Champion of Champions Conformation Show in Poplar Bluff, MO.  If I remember what she told me correctly, my friend from Missouri said that you have to be licensed to have more than 10 intact bitches, unless you show them, so these organizations now put on shows.

And yes, AKC was among the advertisers.  “AKC for You!  Dedicated Support For Your Breeder Needs!” “AKC Registration of Breeding Stock  Our Administrative Research Registration service (ARR) allows AKC staff to research pedigrees of dogs not currently registered with AKC.  If the dogs come from AKC registered stock, the dog may be eligible for AKC registration.  The AKC is currently waiving all fees for this service.”

The AKC ad appeared facing an ad for The Cavalry Group.  While both magazines were full of diatribes about Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), this group appeared to be the most extreme in its fear-mongering.  “The Cavalry Group is here!  Protecting your farm, your animals, and your livelihood from illegal searches of your farm or business, illegal seizure of your animals or property…”

Back to other AKC ads: “Waived Late Fees  Have you postponed registering your litter or dog?  In many cases the Breeder Relations team can waive any late fees.”  “AKC Web Banners  Breeders in good standing may use an AKC web banner on their web site.  What better way to signify you are part of America’s premier purebred registry?  Contact Breeder Relations for details.”

In an article by Michael Ganey, AKC Marketing Director, titled “The AKC Offers New Breeder Support”, the following paragraphs appear: “One size does not fill all – You sell your puppies in many ways: to distributors, direct to pet stores, or directly to families.  No matter which approach you choose, it’s a decision that fits your personal style.  Some folks like dealing with families over the phone and in person.  Others enjoy working directly with pet store owners and managers.  A third group enjoys the convenience of having distributors handle all the sales and delivery of tasks on their behalf.  There is even a small group that employs all three strategies.  It’s all a matter of personal choice and preference.

We responded by streamlining our communications to fit the way you sell.  Distributor customers now receive monthly reminders highlighting the bonuses AKC puppies often command.  And new marketing tools and services are being developed for breeders who sell direct.”

Clear enough for you?  AKC feels it has to compete with these other registries and is willing to support puppy millers to do so.

North Carolina English Shepherd Rescue Update

english shepherd

I thought I would give everyone a quick update about the dog rescue effort going on in North Carolina.  Some of you might remember I posted about the rescue effort.  From what I heard now the National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR) will be taking over the handling the care of the Farm Collie mixes in Pilot Mountain from the Scotch Collie Association to my understanding.

Currently there are 14 total dogs still there, 11 adults and 3 pups. These dogs have their origins in a breeding pair of an English Shepherd many years ago.  The owner continued to breed dogs to work his cows so although more recent breeding is unclear, NESR feels they are close enough to English Shepherds to help.  Right now NESR has team members heading to North Carolina this week to assess the situation with the dogs and will be coordinating vet care which will include spays/neuters, vaccinations and treatment for injuries.  As well treatment for the mother and pups who appear to have mange.  Some of these dogs will leave on a transport north to Minnesota.  Due to limited vehicle space, NESR will need to coordinate a second wave of transport and routes will be determined based on where the foster homes are.

At this point, NESR needs specifically foster homes for these dogs and help with transporting them.  They are also desperately in need of donations of towels to serve as bedding in the crates they will be transported in.  If you can help or would like more info please contact the NESR.  Donations of money to NESR will be appreciated as well as I am sure they will need it.  They are working on getting general info and recent photos up on the website so watch out for those.

These dogs will also eventually be looking for loving homes.  You can visit NESR's website to learn more about their adoption process.  If you're interested in adopting one of these English Shepherd dogs or fostering, you'll find the application at the bottom of this page.

The community has already received a number of offers of help but more is needed.  NESR could use all the support they can get, so please help these dogs if you can.


Farm Collie Rescue Effort in North Carolina

farm colliesI recently heard about 14 Farm Collies or English Shepherd mixes that need help and rescue in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.

I am not sure of the entire story but from what National English Shepherd Rescue (NESR) has said the owner of this farm in North Carolina purchased an English Shepherd years ago.  He mainly wanted cow dogs for the farm.  The dogs are most likely a mix of Teverun or Belgian Shepherd since the owner might might have had these breeds of dogs on the property at one paint. His main concern was producing cow dogs.  He seems to have lost control of the breeding as the dogs appear to have been running loose for some time.  It sounds like the owner did not have relatives or was estranged from his family.  A daughter might be coming to help sort out what to do with the dogs on the property.

Someone from the county's Humane Society down there has evaluated the dogs behavior and determined that they exhibit herding behavior and are probably part Farm Collie or English Shepherd.  This person is familiar with herding dogs and specifically English Shepherds to my understanding.

She felt the dogs, although under socialized, will come around with attention.  She did not seem any sign of aggression but they are a bit scared.  It sounds like they have not had much contact with humans from just running around the property.

The Old-Time Scotch Collie Association is now the main group aiding in the rescue efforts down there.  They believe the dogs reflect the behavior and are might be Scotch Collies.

Please click here to visit the page and donate through PayPal to help these dogs.  We donated a small sum to make sure these dogs are vet bills, transportation, and other needs are taken care of.  You can email – Tonya AT farmcollie.org – if you are in the area and can help these dogs.

The dogs that are still there should be split up as they are relying on each other, like a pack would. The dogs that have been removed from the property are already are responding well to individual attention and care. Of the original 21 dogs that are on the property that are 14 left that are still on the property that need help.  The dogs appear to be in good shape and are healthy.  Most likely they will all adapt very well to a loving home environment.  Donations and fostering will be needed though.

If the dogs are seized by county animal control the outlook is not good for them. There are 2 possibly more pregnant dogs out of the 14 dogs still there.  There is an immediate need to get them into safe and secure surroundings.

The Humane Society had a routine was feeding the dogs in certain pens in the hopes of capturing the ones that are there.  I am not sure of the Scotch Collie Rescue group has taken over but these dogs will need foster homes so they can learn to be trust humans.  The pregnant dogs will need to be in a home where someone can whelp and help raise a litter of puppies.  Who wouldn't want to have a bunch of puppies around?  🙂

I will keep people updated with the progress of the rescue efforts of these Farm Collie, Scotch Collie, or English Shepherd dogs.  Hopefully all of them will find a great home with great families soon.

Sierra featured on MSN Now

sierra on msn now

Sierra featured on MSN Now

Including Sierra being featured on Babble and the Huffington Post she was also featured on MSN Now back on December 31st, 2012.  It was a pretty funny and cool article:

Hoping for a rocking New Year's Eve party? Might want to cross Sierra the singing dog off your guest list. Here she is, moaning along to “Auld Lang Syne,” with her buddy Cody chiming in from the sidelines. The musical canines belong to sax player Adam Yamada-Hanff and have appeared on Anderson Cooper's show. They're also the stars of Yamada-Hanff's SingingDogs.net website and have their own Singing DogsRock channel on YouTube. But while this Baltimore-based English shepherd may be a musical maestro, this time she just can't be bothered to sit up straight to ring in 2013. Here's hoping this isn't yet another sign of an impending apocalypse.

What do you think of all of our media coverage?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Hopefully in 2013 we will have even more press and media appearances.

Follow the Singing Dogs on our Facebook Page and Twitter feed to keep updating with new videos and posts.

Cat Loves (or Hates) Singing Dogs

cat loves singing dogs

If you think two Singing Dogs was funny, how about a Cat that Loves Singing Dogs?  I got an email today from a no-kill animal shelter down in Tennessee, The Tennessee Humane Animal League, who sent me this video of Jackie one of there available cats for adoptions.

Here is what they said about Jackie when they play our original ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ video (which got us on Anderson by the way) for this smart cat;

“Apparently it effects cats too. see attached. Jackie has never done this. I tested it three times. Every time I started the video and she heard it, she came running over and did the same thing… “singing dogs” blog is not just for dogs.”

I think that Jackie the cat loves singing dogs, but what about you?  Does the keyboard pawing mean she doesn't like it and wants it to stop?   Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

If you are interested in adopting Jackie click here.

Jackie is a calm, laid back, friendly girl.  This Tuxedo beauty with medium length fur was born March 31, 2007.  Jackie is in fantastic shape – her weight is ideal.  She has high contrast white whiskers against her dark face and a smattering of white that runs up the length of her nose.

Jackie is affectionate with people and starts making biscuits with her front paws when you talk to her.  She would love a home where she can nap on soft blankets, sit in windows, and be part of the activities of her family – especially if the activity involves time together.  Jackie is fearful of dogs and would prefer a home where no dogs can bother her.

In the listing for Jackie it says she is fearful of dogs, but judging from the video I am not so sure.  Hopefully this wonderful kitty can find a good home soon.

Follow the Singing Dogs on our Facebook Page and Twitter feed to keep updating with new videos and posts.

A Classic Christmas Song “O Christmas Tree”

Cody and Sierra last night seemed to be in a particularly good singing mood so we decided to do play a Christmas classic “O Christmas Tree.”  I think they both did a pretty good job, what do you think?

Remember if you have a suggestion for a holiday or Christmas song please leave a comment on Singing Dogs and let us know.  You are also welcome to shoot us an email.  We already fulfilled the song request “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and we are happy to play what our fans want to hear.  However please keep in mind we can't fulfill all song requests but we will certainly try our best.

We hope everyone enjoyed the Singing Dogs version of “O Christmas Tree” and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy New  Year, and a great holiday season.