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General BS forum I guess anything is fair game in here. Just watch the subject matter doesn't get carried away too much.

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Old 11-01-2010, 09:31 AM   #1
Talking 36 dogs get new leash on life in puppy mill rescue

By Brian Meyer and Deidre Williams
Published:November 1, 2010, 7:38 AM

Updated: November 1, 2010, 7:42 AM

The 36 dogs arrived frightened and unkempt on Halloween night, and their rescuers could only imagine the horrors they encountered during their short lives.

One cocker spaniel was pregnant. So were three miniature schnauzers.

A Yorkshire terrier was limping. Another dog was being treated for a stomach disorder.

Lhasa Apsos, an American Eskimo dog, Papillons and other breeds were carefully removed from cages in a truck that pulled into an East Amherst dog training center Sunday night.

The dogs share a harrowing past. They were rescued from a Missouri puppy mill that had recently decided to close. Animal advocates are convinced that its appearance on the U.S. Humane Society's "Dirty Dozen" list of the most deplorable facilities in the state contributed to its closure.

"They were squishing a bunch of dogs in a little cage like this," said Janice Jabcuga, pointing at a cage that was about two feet long and two feet wide. "That's how these puppies were living."

Jabcuga's dog training center on Transit Road became the nerve center Sunday night for what advocates described as one of the region's largest rescue missions. Prior to arriving here, the group delivered 15 rescued dogs to various sites.

Numerous groups from across the country, including the Perry-based Going to the Dogs Rescue, converged on the closed puppy mill in Mexico, Mo., to place bids on dogs. Their goal was to acquire as many animals as possible in hopes of preventing breeders from buying more stock for their mills.

Melissa A. Henchen of Going to the Dogs Rescue said groups managed to acquire about 200 of the 870 dogs that were placed on the selling block. Following a journey that spanned more than 700 miles, some dogs were shaking and disoriented.

"A lot of puppy mill dogs have known a certain way of life for a really long time. And that is a cage," Henchen said.

Voters in Missouri will consider a referendum this week that would impose stricter regulations on puppy breeders, another factor that she believes helped trigger the massive auction over the weekend.

Groups across the nation raised $15,000 to place bids. A man from Byron bought the truck needed to transport the animals back to New York. Dozens of residents showed up Sunday to help wash and groom the dogs. Others volunteered to serve as temporary foster parents, and they applauded as the truck pulled up at Love Your Dog Inc. on Transit Road.

"These two are going home with me," said Akron resident Mary Prentice, pointing to two tiny Yorkshire terriers. Prentice also offered to provide temporary shelter for a Puggle.

But there's a lot of work to do before many of the animals can be permanently placed in home.

The dogs that arrived Sunday following a 16-hour journey haven't been around people. Most would have to learn basic tasks such as how to walk up stairs -- not to mention walking on leashes.

"They'll need to get socialized," said Allison Ramunno, who along with Kelly Ganzenmuller founded Speaking Out for Animals, a group that rescues cats and dogs.

The sad reality is that some of the rescued animals might not be suitable for permanent adoption, said Jabcuga, who has been training dogs for 25 years. But many of the dogs can become beloved pets, especially with training.

Michelle Senters, who works at Love Your Dog Inc. brought home two rescue dogs Sunday, even though she already has three dogs in her West Seneca home.

It's not unusual for people involved in animal rescue to offer temporary homes to large numbers of animals. John Henchen of Going to the Dogs Rescue said he and his wife Melissa have been foster parents to close to 200 dogs, he estimated.

Earlier Sunday, animal advocates held a peaceful demonstration on Sheridan Drive in Amherst to raise public awareness of some puppy mills.

The demonstration -- which was organized by Jackie Flanigan, a Buffalo native who moved to Pennsylvania two years ago -- was not targeting the Missouri kennel. But one of the pickets, 27-year-old Tara Bruegger of North Tonawanda, said it is not unusual for puppy mills across the country to contact rescue agencies for help under certain circumstances.

Morgan Dunbar, president of the Animal Allies Club at Canisius College, said most pet shop puppies come from kennels that are in deplorable condition. The animals receive little to no veterinary care.

"It's really a disgusting industry and it needs to be stopped," she said.

Old 01-21-2011, 02:16 AM   #2
Charlie's second chance

His bark sounds more like a muffled yelp, the likely result of a metal tube stuck down his throat to lacerate his larynx so he wouldn't make noise.

Most of the fur on his tiny 8-pound frame is pure white, the way nature intended. But when you check out his little paws -- the fur is brown and discolored from standing in urine and waste for prolonged periods.

He shivers and shakes even when he's wrapped up in his cozy little blanket, probably from fear and confusion. After all, this is the first time that Charlie, a 5-year-old bichon frise, has been away from home, which was a small wire cage at a Missouri puppy mill with 1,000 other canines. Even then, he was rarely, if ever, allowed out to socialize -- only to breed.

The good news is he's never going back.

Charlie was brought to Western New York on Halloween with 36 other pure-bred canines following an auction of 850 dogs at the Missouri commercial kennel that was plagued with pages of violations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates such businesses. Currently, the rescued dogs are in foster homes and eventually will be adopted into permanent ones.

This is the first in a series that will document Charlie's journey from deplorable conditions at the Missouri commercial kennel to his foster home in Alden, where he is adjusting and adapting to the new-found freedom, and finally to his adopted home.

His foster family, Lorry and Richard Schlick, have fostered at least 50 dogs in the past eight years. Charlie will live with them for as long as it takes to get him socialized with humans and other animals.

Right now, the Schlicks see clear indications of life at his former home:

"Hiding, shaking, fear in his eyes," Lorry Schlick said. "It's in his whole demeanor, where you can see the total lack of trust of people ... He's stiff as a board when he is held. Right now, he won't sit in a chair with humans because he's scared of the chair, but pick him up while standing, and he's fine. He's really not comfortable at all with the human touch yet." Charlie's story comes amid a growing concern over the treatment of canines in so-called puppy mills, commercial dog facilities that operate with an emphasis on profits above animal welfare.

In Missouri, which is home to the most puppy mills in the country, voters recently passed Proposition B, which spells out tighter regulations for commercial kennels. Called the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, it requires breeders now to have no more than 50 breeding dogs, have the animals examined at least once a year by a veterinarian, provide dogs with constant access indoor and outdoors, use cement flooring for cages instead of wires and clean dogs pens daily.

Last month, the Humane Society of the United States released a report on some of the worst puppy mills in Missouri, called "Missouri's Dirty Dozen." For weeks, Humane Society researchers poured over state and federal inspection reports to compile the 27-page report. It is based on the number and severity of animal welfare violations. The breeders were singled out for repeatedly depriving dogs of the basics of humane care, such as food, shelter from the heat and cold and basic veterinary care.

Herman and Bonnie Schindler, owners of the commercial kennel where Charlie came from, showed up on the list as a dishonorable mention. The elderly couple had been written up by USDA inspectors for 14 pages of violations some repeat offenses including dogs with matted hair and covered in fecal matter sometimes up to 75 percent of their bodies.

In addition, the Schindlers reportedly had only 10 employees to look after 1,000 dogs, averaging out to 100 dogs per worker on a daily basis.

The couple decided to close their breeding kennel and auction off about 850 dogs. That's when a Western New York animal welfare organization, Going to the Dogs Rescue, stepped in with volunteers from similar organizations in Wisconsin, Indiana and other parts of the country to purchase the pooches and give them a new lease on life.

The volunteers were competing against dog breeders from across the country who wanted to increase their stock. The rescuers all wore green, "so we knew we weren't outbidding each other," said Melissa Henchen, president of Going to the Dogs Rescue in Perry.

In her two days at the auction, Henchen said she witnessed some of the inhumane conditions, including more than 30 shivering Yorkshire Terrier puppies left outdoors in frigid temperatures in their wire cages.

"They were freezing. There was frost on the ground when we got there," Henchen said.

Meanwhile, Charlie will continue to receive love and patience from his foster family, which includes four other dogs.

Having other dogs in the home serve as teachers, Lorry said. The best kind of home for a puppy mill dog to go to is one with other canines because they teach other dogs how to interact with humans and show them that humans are OK, that they're not bad, she said.

Of Charlie's four canine foster brothers, 6-year-old Peter another bichon frise has been the number one teacher for Charlie. Maybe it is because Peter can relate to Charlie. Peter also was rescued from a Missouri puppy mill. He was 6-months-old when he came to live with the Schlicks and because he was so young, "he was able to come around quickly" to the point he is a nursing home therapy dog.

"That's how much they can progress from being a puppy mill dog to being a normal socialized dog that can even do service work," Lorry said. "They will learn to be a normal dog and a loving, lifelong companion."

Meanwhile, the brown-stained fur on Charlie's paws will probably grow out in a few years with proper grooming, but he probably will not bark ever again.

Old 01-21-2011, 02:18 AM   #3
Charlie is slowly making progress in new home

EDITOR'S NOTE: This "Pet Tales" installment is the second in an occasional series documenting the life of Charlie -- a bichon frise rescued from a puppy mill and brought to Western New York.

Charlie had his first professional grooming session recently, and the puffy bouffant the bichon frise breed is known for is starting to grow in.

He has to look his best. After all, he is the spokesdog for a new organization his foster family started last fall called WNY Citizens Against Puppy Mills.

In between photo shoots with his adoring fans, Charlie -- himself a rescue from a Missouri breeder -- has been undergoing a socialization process with the Alden foster family he moved in with last November.

Charlie was brought to Western New York on Halloween by "Going to the Dogs Rescue" in Perry, along with 36 other pure-bred dogs from a commercial kennel in Missouri that was known for U.S. Department of Agriculture violations. As a breeder dog, for most of his life Charlie lived in a small, cramped wire cage with 1,000 other canines.

Richard and Lorry Schlick -- who have fostered at least 50 rescues in the past eight years -- have been working with 5-year-old Charlie to make him comfortable and familiar with humans and other animals.

While he has had success in some areas of the socialization process, progress has been a bit slower in other ways. He's still not completely house-trained, and he still walks around in circles, especially when he's nervous or excited, the Schlicks said -- a behavior learned by many dogs who have lived in tiny enclosures all or most of their lives, Richard Schlick said.

As a result, even when he's outside running and playing, sometimes Charlie will stop and pace in circles like he doesn't realize he has more space, like he thinks he's confined to an imaginary cage.

Developing trust -- with men in particular -- is also taking time. Charlie's behavior indicates he may have been abused by a male or males at the commercial kennel. The Schlicks have seen it before. While some rescues will act wild then they arrive in foster care -- most likely because they are happy to be able to run free -- others like Charlie react differently. He will cower and drop low, especially around men.

"He'll actually pee if Rich picks him up to take him outside," Lorry said.

"He's got to learn to be trusting of others. It's been a long process. It's normal. We're used to it, having fostered so many dogs," Lorry said. "Every dog must progress at its own pace."

"Maybe he'll never fully trust any man," she added. "It's a trust issue. Some come around. Some never come around."

Maybe it will just take awhile longer like it did for Diamond, another of the Schlick's bichon frise rescues. It took more than four years for Diamond to warm up to women.

"It was only a couple of months ago that he finally cozied up to Lorry," Richard said.

Still, Diamond is not reformed completely.

"When Rich is not home, Diamond would be in the bedroom," Lorry said.

Charlie has even snapped at Richard a time or two, but he lost his teeth when he got neutered last month. Before the surgery, the veterinarian was concerned that a debarking process was used on Charlie in Missouri. Debarking at commercial kennels often involves sticking a metal tube down a dog's throat to lacerate the larynx. And often it is done without anesthesia and probably not by a professional veterinarian.

Because Dr. Kevin Bannister, Charlie's vet, has dealt with many puppy mill dogs with similar issues, he knew what to look for and how to approach it. The surgical procedure was successful, but most of his teeth had to be pulled because his mouth was so full of rot, infection and abscesses, Lorry said.

"These dogs certainly don't get good medical treatment, I believe. They don't get any dental care, I don't think," Bannister said. "I don't know what they eat, what kind of nutrition they're getting. They don't get things to chew on to help remove plaque and tartar. They just stay in a cage.

In Charlie's case, his jawbone was so fragile the vet thought it would get fractured during the extractions.

"But he made it," Lorry said. "All of this, and he's only 5 years old."


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