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“Busted” on the Radio
Bark writer talks to Ron Reagan about puppy mills, May 4.
Reporter with a cause, Jan Rodak wants to shutdown puppy mills.

When I read about a giant puppy mill bust just north of Seattle in January, I was surprised. I had the mistaken impression that my little corner of the country was immune; that puppy mills thrived in the Ozarks, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Now, the local papers were detailing how 600 Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and other small breeds were being liberated from shocking conditions. The dogs, crammed into cages, were sick, covered in feces and urine, dehydrated and starving.
Former newspaper reporter and dog lover Jan Rodak, who lives in my same corner of the world and read the same reports, volunteered to help the survivors. In her story about the aftermath, "Busted" (The Bark, May 2009), she engages both her journalist brain and activist heart, which means good information with a distinct point of view. Fellow Seattle resident and Air America radio host, Ron Reagan will be talking to Jan about her story and puppy mills on The Ron Reagan Show, Monday at 7 p.m. eastern standard time.  I’m thrilled this important information will be reaching beyond the choir, and I’ll be tuning in. (You can also hear the interview via a live online stream or later as a podcast.)

Meanwhile, Jan intends to continue independent advocacy journalism. Inspired by our blog about fundable.com, a grass roots funding site that some guardians are using to pay for expensive veterinary bills in hard times, she’s asking for help with travel expenses, public records request fees and incidentals as she muckrakes her way through the puppy mills of America.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Jan Rodak | May 1 2009 |

Thanks, Lisa. I too was caught off-guard when this sort of a "business" popped up in our otherwise progressive region, but I've since learned that no place is immune.

I want to thank Bark for having the foresight (and guts) to accommodate a story about a topic that is anything but uplifting. Only through "mainstreaming" this issue can we move forward and get our work done.

I also want to mention that the puppies pictured with yours truly above are five of the seven offspring of two very loved and pampered Llewellin setters. Mom was bred one time and then spayed; the litter was tended to with round-the-clock care and (almost insane affection) until fabulous homes were found for each. These are extraordinary bird dogs but also fantastic companions. They are not AKC-recognized because "Llewellin people" hope to avoid a commercial rush resulting in over-breeding.

I feel compelled to mention that because invariably when examining the puppy-mill issue, a discussion about breeders surfaces. I want to stay neutral on that. My friends are not *breeders*, per se .. this is the first and last litter they will oversee. But I believe there are commercial breeders out there who are responsible and attentive, and aim to produce robust, healthy dogs.

Again, my gratitude to Bark for its progressive stance on this issue, and to you for an introduction I hope to live up to!

Submitted by PJ's Momma | May 1 2009 |

Jan, we loved your very informative and balanced article and are both proud to call you our friend!
Peej and Kim

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 1 2009 |

More recent puppy mill coverage: The Philadelphia Animal Cops (on Animal Planet) raided the Limestone Kennel in Lancaster, Penn., on last Monday night's episode. In a review of the show for The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger criticized the episode for concentrating on the shock value, and then just as quickly admits the focus may be necessary for calling attention to the problem.

Submitted by Leanna | May 2 2009 |

Way to go Jan, great article, will forward to everyone I know!! cute puppy...

Submitted by Lisa Ganoe | May 3 2009 |

I live in Sarasota, Florida, and I just assumed we didn't have this type of operation here. Now that I've read this story, I think I'll have to look closer. Thanks for an informative piece - hard to read, but important.

Submitted by Rich Savage | May 3 2009 |

Way to go Jan! Wish we had more gutsy reporting like yours and people willing to take a stand like you.

Submitted by Rex | May 13 2009 |

Anyone see this? http://www.komonews.com/news/44598472.html More news from the bust. Pretty graphic, terrible stuff. Just adds to the picture created by Jan in her story. The couple charged with animal cruelty said, "they were in over there head." I should say so. Maybe someone needs to create a program or outreach for people like this couple who may want out but don't know how to get out.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | May 15 2009 |

Even Fox is getting into the action on the puppy mill story. We learned that reporter and host of Strategy Room, Rick Leventhal asked Deborah Howard, the President and Founder of the Companion Animal Protection Society and her rescue dog, Beatrice, on for a live panel discussion yesterday. We got word a little late and haven't been able to download a podcast. Anyone see it? Was it any good?

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