According to No Puppy Mills Canada, a mill is defined as a high-volume, sub-standard breeding operation that generally distributes animals through pet stores and online. They are known for breeding animals with genetic defects because of frequent inbreeding: when owners attempt to create a certain breed, colour or size of dog. Animals are force bred and often contract diseases that go untreated. The mills are unreliable for providing accurate certification, background information and adequate follow up care. The main purpose is profit.
There are puppy mills all across our country because Canada does not have legislation that limits or controls these operations. At present, two mills are operating in the Quesnel area. This is the story of one mill that was closed down about 10 years ago.
One winter, a concerned neighbour was the first person to alert authorities to the presence of a puppy mill with concerns about cruelty to animals. When officials made their inspection, they found horrid conditions and issued orders to improve conditions. The operators failed to comply with any of the orders so it was decided to seize the animals. Cold weather made the seizure imperative.
The dogs were being kept in two areas. The barn, unheated, had pens that held groups of dogs that were segregated by size, gender and temperament. There could be up to ten dogs in a pen. These were mainly the small varieties. It was found that the pens had not been cleaned out for far too long and that feces were caked on the floor. Since a poor quality of food was being used the majority of dogs were undernourished and were observed eating feces.
The larger dogs, spaniels and collies, were kept outside, in pens that had no shelters. They too were undernourished and mentally unstable. In both groups, a few females were pregnant but not receiving any better care.
On seizure day, the animals were put into pens and transferred to town in any vehicle that was available. It was a challenging situation because when the last one was removed, the count was over 80 dogs.
First, each animal was assessed. Most of them needed nails trimmed, mats cut out or sores attended to. They needed house training, shots and spaying. They would also need reconditioning to become ‘normal’ dogs. To do this, authorities looked for foster homes where ever possible and fortunately Grandparent Eyfords had recently purchased a house with kennels and dog runs, a former grooming place. Up to 50 of the dogs were placed with them to receive care, grooming, nourishing food and attention. Even here, the dogs would cower, slink to the back of a pen and shiver when a person approached. At this point, the Crooked Leg Ranch Society was not yet in operation but all of the family assisted with the reorientation and care of these animals.
In time, as the dogs were ready for adoption, they were rehomed around town or transferred to homes in other cities. Many of them were placed with families at the coast where there are more opportunities for needy animals. Of those that stayed in town, Willow remembers one that she nicknamed Sammy Davis Junior and this dog and his owner will still come for visits. Despite the trauma of the move, this was the best outcome possible for these animals.
The Crooked Leg Ranch and No Puppy Mills Canada would like to caution you about buying a pet online or at a pet store. People who search for a designer dog, one that is a certain mix of breeds, a certain colour or size, must know that this type of breeding increases the chance of physical and mental issues.
“There are no such breeds as doodles, puggles, shipoo’s etc. They are NOT recognized breeds and are not bred by reputable breeders. They may be neat, adorable, or fun but BUYER BEWARE because you will have no guarantees on: health, temperament, appearance, lineage or life span.”
If you are considering an online purchase, check for how many puppies are available and how frequently there are litters ready for adoption. If the site claims to offer unique characteristics, please think twice. Just by watching the site for these points, you can get an idea if the advertiser is running a puppy mill.
Photo, definition, cautions and logo courtesy of www.nopuppymillscanada.ca
For more information, please contact: www.crookedlegranch.com