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Puppy Mill Bust


A degree of understanding even toward perpetrators is encouraged by Officer Diaz and Brandon Hatch, both of whom believe few people start out with the intent of inflicting devastating harm on animals. But when commonsense barriers drop and greed takes over, innocent victims are left rotting in their own waste. They are deprived of the most basic sensory stimulation necessary for any living being capable of feeling pain, misery and fear.

Cicourel hopes the high-profile stories in Washington and elsewhere fuel support for continued activism that will eventually stop unnecessary suffering. People who buy or adopt animals as pets are searching for well-tempered companions. Though through an inordinate amount of care and socialization, dogs from puppy mills may become these companions, many fall devastatingly short.

My heart sank listening to Cicourel’s impassioned tale. In the shelter, I’d cared for a select group of relatively fortunate victims snatched from the confines of mass breeders. But it wasn’t hard to get to the place she hinted at—a world of despair she likened to concentration camps.

“They all have this spiritless persona. They’re like ghosts; they look right through you,” Cicourel said. “They’re empty and broken. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve ever seen.”






This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 54: May/Jun 2009
Jan Rodak is a former newspaper reporter (and prolific dog-sitter) living in northwest Washington state.

Photograph, puppy in hand: Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald
Photograph, paw on wire: Dan Brandenburg

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Connie | January 4 2013 |

I believe in shutting down the mills but let us not forget those poor puppies in the pet stores or mills. They need homes still in spite of everything else. The shelters are overwhelmed. We can be vigilant but please don't let these poor animals suffer anymore than they have.

Submitted by Xandrie | August 29 2013 |

That's pretty much what the story is about, Connie.

Submitted by Lynne Fracassi | April 21 2014 |

If you buy a pup at the pet store, no matter how pitiful it is. YOU are SUPPORTING the mill breeding industry and sentencing the pups parents to a life in hell. Period.

Submitted by Wendy Klinke | June 7 2013 |

This could be your next door neighbor , and you might not even know!! This is why I foster! This is why, when I see a pet store I ask them about the puppies...where they came from etc Then... I let everyone in the store Know The TRUTH!! I start shouting about puppy mills, I point out why these puppies should not be drinking from water bottles! I point out the listless ones, the ones with eye drainage, the bad coats, the thin! I do get escorted out of the store, but not before I make sure everyone there knows about rescues, and the number if dogs being killed because there is no room at the shelters. And not before I have those people leaving the store, and coming to ask me questions...

Submitted by Xandrie | August 29 2013 |

Thank you for fostering, Wendy! It's probably the most important cog in this wheel that transitions these sweeties from pure hell into forever homes.

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