Kim Kavin, author of “The Dog Merchants” has started to uncover some of the truths in the world of dog rescues. Not that all rescues are bad, of course, but fact that rescues (and to some extent shelters) have largely replaced pet stores as a source of dogs and puppies for the eight (8) million households in the US seeking to purchase/adopt a new dog. Rescue organizations, typically with not for profit status despite charging customers for their dogs, are often minimally regulated if they are regulated at all. This, in sharp comparison to the highly USDA and state regulated breeders, dealers and pet stores they have replaced.
As Kim noted in “When ‘Puppy Mill Rescue’ Blurs The Line Between Saving And Selling Dog,” published on July 14, 2019 in HuffPost, some of the most “prestigious” rescue organizations, like National Mill Dog Rescue, are purchasing dogs and puppies from commercial dog breeders, including USDA licensed breeders, so are not shutting these businesses down, but are supporting them.
Not to suggest that humanely raised USDA-licensed or exempt breeders should be shut down. The opposite is true. And, if rescues serve as an outlet for breeding dogs or puppies have some defect or are too old to sell from those pet stores that are still able to do so (which usually require a warranty of health for specified periods of time) then they serve a valuable purpose. But they should inform their customers about the source of the dog and any potential health issue they are aware of, just like pet stores are required to do.
As reported by Kavin, “the dogs coming from breeders [to National Mill] throughout 2017 and 2018 were far younger, and healthier, than multiple commercial breeding experts and activists suggest they would be in a ‘rescue’ situation.”
The reporting shows that questionable practices at National Mill aren’t limited to marketing. Two agencies in Colorado — the state Department of Regulatory Agencies and a division of the state Department of Agriculture — have opened investigations into the nonprofit following complaints that Jene Nelson, National Mill’s former marketing director-turned-whistleblower, filed with the state in early 2019. Those complaints allege that National Mill has trafficked dogs across state lines without legally required veterinary paperwork, falsified rabies certificates prior to dogs being offered for adoption or transferred to other shelters, and more than once delayed or failed to provide needed veterinary treatment.
This should be cause for concern. Dogs, increasingly imported (legally or otherwise) into the US from other countries, including those with endemic canine rabies and other zoonotic diseases, poses a hazard to people and pets in the communities where they find their “forever homes.”
The public has been duped into believing that rescues are offering dogs bred in horrible puppy mills that must be shut down. Truth is that the animal rights groups perpetuating those myths believe all purpose-bred dog breeders are puppy mills.
As Kavin notes, “[t]he virtue signaling around shelters and dog rescue is loud and clear.” It is long-overdue that the truth about animal rescue is revealed.