Friday, May 1, 2009

All the news on the "Renee Roske Puppy Mill Ring"

All the news on the "Renee Roske Puppy Mill Ring":

February 27th, 2008:

"Neighbors Fight 'Puppy Mill' In Skagit County:


Wags And Wiggles-Renee Roske (Seattle)


January 18th, 2009:

155 dogs seized in Snohomish Co. puppy mill raid:

Officers raid puppy mill, 'astounded' by filth:

More than 150 dogs seized from Gold Bar home:

Raw: Dogs seized in Snohomish County raid:

Dogs seized from Sultan puppy mill:



January 19th, 2009:

155 Sick, Matted Dogs Seized From House:

VIDEO: 'Puppy Mill' Discovered In Gold Bar:

More locations raided in puppy mill crackdown:

Rescued pups begin recovery process:



January 21st, 2009:

Nearly 200 Dogs Taken From Mount Vernon Puppy Mills:

Assessor's on Sundberg property where 400 dogs were found-

Dozens of dogs rescued from Skagit County kennels:

Hundreds of dogs confiscated today in 2 neglect cases:


January 22nd, 2009:

Neighbors complain about alleged puppy mill:

Puppy Mill Bust:

Dogs seized in kennel raids:

Hundreds of dogs rescued from puppy mills:


January 23rd, 2009:

308 more dogs seized from alleged puppy mill:

More dogs seized from alleged Skagit County puppy mill:

Skagit, Snohomish kennel operations have family connections:

Remainder of dogs seized from Little Mountain kennel:

300 more dogs rescued from Skagit County kennel:



January 24th, 2009:

600 rescued dogs and 80% are pregnant:

300 more dogs seized in animal cruelty investigation:

Rescued dogs pregnant with 1,500 puppies:



January 25th, 2009:

Outrage after kennel raids is no surprise:


January 26th, 2009:

Task Of Caring For Dogs Multiplies As Puppies Born:

Ken Schram: The humane thing to do:

Cost of caring for seized dogs overwhelming:

Bellingham businesses accept donations for Skagit County dogs:



January 27th, 2009:

Neighbors Fight 'Puppy Mill' In Skagit County:

VIDEO: Police raid puppy mill, find dead, sick animals:

VIDEO: Details on two suspected puppy mills:

Puppy mill investigation started with tip from friend:

Documents: Mom, daughters ran filthy kennels:

One woman, 483 heartbreaks:


January 27th, 2009:

County commissioners could act against dog-breeding operation:


January 28th, 2009:

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 28, 2009:

Heads should roll in cruelty case
The front-page story exposing the latest evils in yet another Skagit County puppy mill makes one wish that the stocks and public whippings still remained available to the courts for punishing evildoers.
One would find a certain satisfaction in spitting in the faces of the people who let a Chihuahua’s toenails grow so long that they punctured its footpads.
More satisfaction would sing with every lash of a whip laid on the rear ends of those who — for profit — jam dogs together in tiny boxes; keep them pregnant; starve them; make them wallow in their own excrement; and let them die of untreated diseases brought on by malnutrition, overcrowding, filth and constant birthings.
And what about the county officials who for years ignored the county’s ordinances and neighbors’ complaints against this puppy mill, an unlicensed kennel? And what about starving the animal-control enforcement program for years?
Perhaps being jammed into a tiny box for a few days without potty and provender might make funding and executing the laws against cruelty to animals become the passion it should and must be.
John (Jack) de Yonge

Puppies getting help from Anacortes community:

Things you should know before you buy a puppy:


January 29th, 2009:

Documents: Mom, daughters ran filthy kennels: Here is a news link to a Portland, Oregon tv news station that I was quoted in. In this article I am referred to as "Shelly".:

Puppy mills:

Charges filed in Skagit County puppy mill case:

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 29, 2009:

Dogs’ treatment reprehensible
It is with mixed emotions that I read the article concerning the two-county puppy mill operation that was put out of “business” in the recent “sting” operation. The reporter should be commended on a concise, orderly and objective presentation of the facts. Grisly is too kind a word to start this article; it was most polite. It was sad to see those defenseless animals being subjected to wretched conditions and treated in a way that is reprehensible, cruel and unthinkable to any human being with a scintilla of conscience.
To refer to the book of Genesis: When God commanded Adam and Eve to take dominion over the Earth and all the creatures upon it, God was not referring to exploiting them for profit; they were to be caregivers. Even common sense tells us that this type of behavior is unacceptable. What sort of “Pig-God” do these unfeeling “people” pray to?
I am glad to see the outpouring of help and compassionate care from the veterinarians and animal caregivers — such as the Skagit/Snohomish Humane Society and N.O.A.H. — and the many volunteers — both individually and collectively — who rescued and are humanely caring for the defenseless animals.
These animals would have otherwise faced a fate that is unthinkable to anyone with an ounce of compassion. My concern is, how many more of these puppy mill operations are out there that we do not know about, and how can they be stopped?
Too bad we cannot subject these “human beings” to the same punishment that they have inflicted upon man’s best friend.
Timothy T. Donovan
Mount Vernon

Take action against dog owners
As an animal lover and a registered voter, I feel we all must insist that action be taken immediately. Those who are responsible for the cruelty and death of the animals recently in Skagit and Snohomish counties should be in jail. They should be prosecuted to the maximum, which is, in my opinion, not strict enough.
They should not be allowed to be out free where they can run and start again somewhere else. I am appalled that they are not in jail — preferably one that is outside, with no heat, no blankets, no water, no food and no bathroom facilities. Those of us who are human need to insist that the law take these inhuman monsters and put them away for a very long time.
Nancy Trythall

Can check charities at Web site
While reading the stomach-churning article about the animal rescue efforts by the good people from the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office, SPOT and the Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic, I reached for my checkbook.
Then I checked Saving Pets One at a Time (SPOT) on Charitable Solicitations and Trusts on the secretary of state’s Web site. I was very pleased to note that SPOT shows 93 percent of its total expenses to program services during the year reported. The donations are also tax deductible.
The secretary of state’s site is very useful when deciding where your charitable dollar should go. The site is easy to use, and there is human help available. Tax forms from the charity are also available. I clicked on Animal-Related Activities. There are many more charitable categories from which to choose.
Deanna Wagner

Of nature, animal mistreatment
Regarding animal abuse:
The Jan. 11 “ropin’ and ridin’” photo inspired some research on the Internet. When asked if roping calves hurts the animal, Keith Martin, executive director of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, said publicly: “Do I think it hurts the calf? Sure I do. I’m not stupid.”
Doesn’t that put roping calves under intentional harm?
Also, the Jan. 22-23 puppy mill bust warrants a bravo to all those who made the rescue possible, including volunteers, law enforcement and numerous organizations. The service they do is of the highest form.
Mahatma Gandhi stated, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Thousands of years ago, humanity used to feel connected to all facets of nature — animals, plants and minerals. That was when humanity believed goodness resided at the core of one’s being, but that way of being was destroyed over a period of hundreds of years. There’s a long history covering why humans chose to separate from the natural world, cursing their own nature in the process.
That history is worth the time of research because, I believe, it explains why humans feel out of touch, separated, cut off and alienated from the very best part of being human — an integrated personhood. Maybe if humans felt more connected to nature, animals, plants and minerals, we wouldn’t have to belittle the innocent for the sake of entertainment, cowardly acts and profit.
Will we ever grow up?
Caroline Seibert
Mount Vernon

Of puppy mills, lax officials
Regarding the reporting of the great number of puppies found to be in abominable conditions within the authority of our regulations:
First, how anyone could treat them so terribly and illegally is unconscionable.
Second, since that is clearly against the law, why has it been allowed to exist? The operation of these “puppy mills” has been reported to the authorities for some time. Why was nothing done?
You can only realize that your elected officials are not doing their job. From the animal regulation, the police department and our representatives, it is clear that is the case. This is just an example of the lack of attention our regulative authorities have for their jobs.
Remember this at election time.
John Spence
Mount Vernon

Who foots bill for care of dogs seized from kennels?:

Animal cruelty charges, lawsuit filed in kennel case:

Charges filed in puppy mill case:



January 30th, 2009:

Animal Cruelty Charges For Kennel Owners:

Ken's E-mails: I need to be put down?:


January 31st, 2009:

Another suspected puppy mill raided:


The Olympian:

Thumbs down for puppy mills.
Police have seized nearly 600 dogs from two puppy mills in Snohomish and Skagit counties. Overwhelmed animal shelters have discovered that about 80 percent of the animals are pregnant. According to court documents, the Gold Bar operation made millions of dollars a year selling the puppies — mostly Chihuahuas, shih tzus, poodles, Yorkshire terriers and so-called designer dogs. At the time of the raids, police said the dogs looked sick, had matted fur, were standing in their own feces and had been left without food and water. Fortunately, people have stepped forward with food and cash to help animal shelters cope with the influx of hundreds of sick dogs

February 2nd, 2009:

Charges filed in puppy mill case:

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 2, 2009:

Hold dog owners accountable
We have all seen the pictures and read the articles. The Seattle Times (Jan. 24) ran a headline “600 rescued dogs — and 80 percent are pregnant.” The sad situation is not new and only gets worse.
There is enough blame to go around, including for the city, county and state. It all started with greedy and uncaring individuals who should be held accountable. Thank goodness for the Humane Society, S.P.O.T., N.O.A.H. and local veterinarians, plus the many volunteers who are working hard to make a difference! It breaks my heart to see what has been done to innocent and helpless animals.
I realize there are worldwide issues (war, hunger, etc.), but it seems to me that we need to start looking at things in our own area and put pressure on our local officials to bring an end to this out-of-control situation.
Anna Mae Kinkade
Mount Vernon


Justice for puppy mill owners
There are some people whose rights I just do not care about at all: Those who hurt women, those who hurt children and those who deliberately hurt animals.
That is just what these people who run the puppy mills in Snohomish and Mount Vernon have done. They have deliberately hurt those poor puppies! I saw one puppy that was in obvious pain and was limping because of a hurt leg or paw. I saw another puppy that will have to have his eye removed because it was damaged beyond repair.
The best justice — the only justice — would be for these people to be put in a cage no longer and no wider than the one those poor pups were in. They should also be given the exact same amount of food that they gave those puppies and be forced to live in their own feces just like those puppies did. That is the justice they deserve!
Brian Hill
Mount Vernon


February 4th, 2009:

Gold Bar-area couple charged in puppy mill case:
They are accused of mistreating nearly 160 dogs:

Felony charges filed in puppy mill case:

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 4, 2009:

Need better animal protection
I am pleased to see that so many writers to the Skagit Valley Herald have been so outspoken about the puppy mills in our county and Snohomish County.
The treatment exposed by the articles is deplorable. So is the lack of legal means to bring the operators of these puppy mills to justice. There are apparently carefully worded restrictions and guidelines that have to be used in order to bring these people to justice.
Where are the lawmakers? They are in the same corner as those who craft guidelines to allow rodeos in the county. I wrote a letter to the Skagit Valley Herald in the summer protesting the abuse of the animals. I was assured by one writer that the animals were well cared for. Mrs. Sundberg said that they loved their puppies. I have to wonder.
Caroline Siebert, take note that the “calf picture” was one of the Skagit Valley Herald’s best!
Martha Williamson


February 5th, 2009:

Couple to pay $72k for care of seized dogs:

More charges filed in dog-breeding operations:


February 6th, 2009:

Kennel in puppy mill probe has long, troubled history:

Secret rooms and previous brushes with officials come to light in county documents.:


February 7th, 2009:

Senate bill would regulate kennels:


February 8th, 2009:

Community chips in to help rescued dogs:

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 8, 2009:

Puppy outrage; what of babies?
Outright abuse of puppies at the Little Mountain property is an atrocity that sickens me, and my hope is that the perpetrators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What amazes me is the attention our local paper has extended to this matter with daily front-page coverage for more than a week and the all-out support from members of our community. Understandable.
But where is the same cry of outrage when it comes to the wholesale slaughter and torture of our unborn children? What of the atrocities committed daily in our country against our tiniest, most helpless citizens in the name of “freedom of choice”?
Will we ever see the front pages demanding an explanation for cruelty and mistreatment that occurs during an abortion? Will we ever hear the public crying out for justice when it comes to safety for the lives of babies in the womb? When will human life be honored enough that the execution of innocents will be seen for what it is — murder and death, the result of substantial and unjustifiable physical pain inflicted on the lives of infants in utero.
Our government claims to protect women’s health and reproductive freedom, as the people protest that no one has the right to intrude on our most private family matters. Under the guise of protecting women, our government is funding (our tax dollars at work) and authorizing the destruction of 500,000 “little women” every year by authorizing the destruction of 1 million little human beings every year!
Killing our children is killing our children — no matter how many times you say, “It is a private family matter.”
Carolyn Nichols
Mount Vernon

Throw book at kennel owners
I have found the reports of the puppy mills extremely disturbing. I say throw the book at these people. The kennel operators definitely should not have the option of getting their dogs back. Nor should they be allowed to run a kennel or even own a pet again for that matter.
Fine them. Jail them, and have them suffer as the animals that were depending on them did. Make them pay all incurred expenses and cage them to live in their own feces for awhile.
It is time we quit slapping the wrists of heartless human beings who abuse and neglect animals. It is time we show them that animals have rights, too.
Darlene Honea


February 9th, 2009:

Lawmakers consider bill targeting puppy mills:

Here is where you can watch the legislative hearings on the "Puppy Mill Bill", from yesterday, February 9th, 2009.:

Pet abuse deserves more punishment:


February 10th, 2009:

New Law Would Regulate Puppy Mills:

Article in the Skagit Valley Herald newspaper, for Marjorie and Richard Sundberg. The Sundberg's DID NOT show up in court this morning, on February 10th, 2009, in Skagit County, Mt. Vernon, Washington. Now they can be arrested.

Arrest warrant issued for woman charged in puppy mill case:

Accused puppy mill owners a no show in court:

Stop inhumane puppy mills in Washington state:

Arrest warrant issued for woman in puppy mill case:

VIDEO: State Lawmakers Considering Crackdown On Puppy Mills:

Everett Animal Shelter given control of seized dogs:

Another dog confiscation case goes to court:

Prosecutor: Accused puppy mill owner had filed for court delay:


Tip that saved dogs was meant to save child
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
Renee Roske. Police visited the home at least eight times in the last 12 years. The operation was found to be in viola- tion of the terms of its license ... - Similar pages



February 11th, 2009:

The Everett Herald:

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Everett Animal Shelter given control of seized dogs

By Jackson Holtz
Herald Writer

EVERETT -- Custody of the nearly 160 dogs rescued from a suspected puppy mill near Gold Bar was turned over to the Everett Animal Shelter on Monday.

The dogs that were seized by Snohomish County sheriff's deputies and animal control officers Jan. 16 won't be ready for adoption for at least a month, officials said.

First, the dogs will undergo careful evaluation by a veterinarian, Everett city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said. The city operates the shelter.

Dogs requiring specialized care will be transferred to breed-­specific rescue groups, Reardon said. The remaining dogs, about 100, will be placed in foster homes where the animals' temperament and other traits will be tested in a home environment.

"All the foster families that are going to be reached out to in this effort are approved, trained. They know how to do this," Reardon said.

Once ready, the city plans to host an adoption event where anyone interested can apply and may go home with a pet.

The selection process is being worked out.

"If you're not on a list somewhere, don't worry, there will be time, I promise," she said.

The dogs' former owners failed to meet a Friday deadline to post more than $72,000 worth of bonds or to petition a court to prevent the dogs' transfer.

The couple who lived in the Gold Bar-area home where the dogs were found were charged in Everett District Court last week with six counts of animal cruelty.

Sheriff's officials say the Gold Bar-area dogs are connected to Renee Roske and Mary Anne Holleman, two sisters who ran a Snohomish kennel. The puppy mill investigation lead officials from the sisters' business to a Mount Vernon-area kennel run by their mother, Marjorie Sundberg.

Skagit County sheriff's officials seized around 450 dogs from Sund­berg's home.

Sundberg was charged in Skagit County Jan. 29 with four counts of animal cruelty. She failed to appear in court Tuesday for her arraignment.

An arrest warrant has been issued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437,


Letters to the Editor, Feb. 11, 2009:

Voice opposition to puppy mills
Recently, 443 small dogs were impounded from one puppy mill in Skagit County. The Humane Society of Skagit Valley volunteers and staff have been personally affected by the mental and physical state of these animals. Although, true to the nature of dogs, their capacity to forgive and love is still strong. It is amazing after a life of abuse how hard these little dogs are trying to learn to give back to us.
Your voice of opposition to these puppy mills is needed now! Here’s what you can do:
• Contact your local prosecutor’s office, and urge officials to consider first-degree cruelty charges. Currently, only four second-degree charges have been filed, which are misdemeanors.
• Let everyone know the horrible “truth” behind that cute little puppy for sale in a pet shop window — how the mother has suffered to bring you that pup.
• Please continue to volunteer for cleaning and care of all of the animals at the shelter. We need your ongoing help.
• If you are good at writing, send a letter every month to the editor, TV stations and whomever else offers this service. Be persistent.
• Call your legislators. Urge them to support Senate Bill 5651, which would regulate dog kennels to prevent puppy mills and assure humane housing and living conditions. The Humane Society of Skagit Valley does not support the enclosure specifications included in the bill; however, there is more right than wrong with Senate Bill 5651. It is definitely a start in the right direction.
Thank you to everyone who has donated and volunteered. Keep it up, especially since it could be a long battle. We have started strong, and let’s finish strong!
Sandy Nelson, director
Humane Society of Skagit Valley


February 12th, 2009:

Puppy mills:

Couple charged with felony counts in kennel case:

More charges filed in Skagit County puppy mill case:

Bill aims to regulate puppy mills:

Suspect in Snohomish County puppy mill case tries to keep business:



February 13th, 2009:

The Everett Herald:


Deplorable acts need punishing

I'm not surprised to read about cruelty, brutality, and the total absence of compassion in the pursuit of the dollar. Or just for the hell of it. I'd heard of "puppy mills" but never knew exactly what that meant. The gruesome, sickening details and the suffering heaped on the helpless. I know now.

I have always found it impossible to get my mind around how anyone could abuse or neglect a child. Yet they do. We read these things that haunt us all the time. Now the puppy mill where hundreds of dogs are found. Neglected and forgotten, except to churn out puppies to be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Dog lovers.

I am thankful that more than 600 dogs have been rescued from Snohomish and Skagit counties and are now being cared for and are discovering human kindness for the first time. I can only hope that those responsible will be prosecuted. And then, if there is any justice in this world, they will live out their worthless lives in a prison cell. I hold no expectation that they will get what they deserve but we can hold the thought.

One more thing we can do is support the agencies that are caring for these animals with our dollars.

Beverlee Bowman Price

"Love Sucks," a comedy show to benefit rescued puppy-mill dogs:

Deplorable acts need punishing:

Furry Friends Festival to benefit dogs:


February 14th, 2009:

Charges added in puppy mill case:


February 15th, 2009:

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 15, 2009:

Pet buyers have responsibility
Many of us are sickened and enraged by the huge puppy mills recently raided by law enforcement. These dogs lived in conditions that would be illegal for chickens, but there are no state or federal regulations to protect them.
I did a little research and discovered there are thousands of greedy dog breeders in this country, only caring about profit. Kudos to our county for working to do something to change things here.
But these kennels wouldn’t be in business if no one bought their mass-produced pets. The pet-buying public has a responsibilty here: Never buy a puppy from a pet store. Responsible breeders want to meet you and check you out. They would never ship puppies off to a store.
Don’t buy a sickly puppy because you feel sorry for it and want to rescue it. You are buying heartache and vet bills for yourself, and perpetuating the cruelty. Report sickly puppies to your humane society or local rescue group.
Never buy a pet on an impulse. Dogs can live 10 to 18 years. Are you willing to make that commitment?
Always see where the puppy was raised and meet its parents. If you think that is too much trouble, you have no business buying a dog. Check out the Humane Society for more information.
Jan Gordon


February 16th, 2009:

Seized pups gaining weight, confidence:

Animal shelter robbed of dog and cat food:



February 17th, 2009:

Shelter caring for puppy mill dogs to hold fundraiser:

Link to Animal Festival on Saturday 02/21/09:

Puppy mill dogs putting financial drain on animal shelters:

Raw: Latest video of rescued puppy mill dogs:

See the “World’s Toughest Rodeo” & Help Rescued Puppies!:

World's Toughest Rodeo presents 'Toughest Cowboy':

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 17, 2009:

‘Rescue’ next dog from shelter
As a local pet groomer, I see evidence of puppy mill dogs and unhealthy or misrepresented dogs way too much. Usually the owner is quick to defend that “The woman was so nice and really cared.” That they “rescued” the dog ... for a steep price or the dog is a “rare breed.” Some of these folks are naive and some are just soft-hearted.
I urge these folks to use their soft hearts to please rescue a pet from an overcrowded shelter the next time instead of encouraging these puppy mills to pump out litter after litter for pure profit, especially at a time of people losing their homes. I have on many occasions had to report suspected puppy mills only to later hear from neighbors that “they just don’t open their door” for the officer. They laugh at the law.
Every dog that I have ever owned has been a shelter or rescue dog and I’d like to think that they appreciate the second chance at life. There will never be enough homes, especially with the many loopholes in our legal system that continue to allow these people to profit at the expense of these helpless animals. I see a slap on the wrist coming on! The greed is well worth it to the puppy mill operators. I am pleading for our local prosecutors to throw a library of books at these “people.” We have to speak up for the helpless now.
Germaine Kornegay


February 18th, 2009:

“Anyone who has done business with Wags ’n’ Wiggles or owner Renee Roske - purchasing a puppy, for example - is asked to e-mail detectives at and describe their experience,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said this afternoon.

Suspect in Snohomish County puppy mill case tries to keep business:

Customers help sought in puppy mill case:

Puppy mills and puppy bills:


February 19th, 2009:

Dog buyers' help sought in puppy mill case:

Dog custody, cost issues yet to be resolved in kennel case:


February 20th, 2009:

Kennel owner says she is a ‘reputable dog breeder’:


February 21st, 2009:

Fundraiser to help dogs seized recently: ARTICLE:

Fundraiser today for dogs rescued from puppy mills:


February 23rd, 2009:

Reputed puppy mill thrived despite a history of trouble:


February 24th, 2009:

Who's to blame in alleged puppy mill case?

Oregon weighs law targeting puppy mills:

Couple charged in puppy mill case say they can't afford an attorney:

Who's to blame in alleged puppy mill case?:

Oregon puppy mill hearing draws huge crowd:

Couple charged in puppy mill case say they can't afford an attorney:


February 25th, 2009:

Man with 160 dogs ‘didn’t know it was illegal’:
The couple charged with running an alleged puppy mill make their first appearance in court.:

Puppy-mill operators should pay for sick animals:


February 26th, 2009:

Accused puppy mill owners plead not guilty:

Not guilty plea in puppy mill case:

Kennel owners enter not guilty pleas:
Kids pitch in to help rescued dogs:



February 27th, 2009:

Gold Bar couple deny they're responsible for kennel's condition - pair say they were duped by owners:‏

Kennel owners plead not guilty to 10 charges:



February 28th, 2009:

Bill to stop puppy mills:


March 1st, 2009:

Vets go extra mile for puppy mill dogs:



March 3rd, 2009:


There are many unanswered questions:



March 4th, 2009:

Owners give up seized dogs:

Puppy mill dogs could be up for adoption soon:

Seized dogs finally up for adoption:

Skagit Couple Forfeits More Than 400 Dogs:



March 5th, 2009:

Owners give up seized dogs:

SeattleInsider: CAUGHT ON CAMERA: SeattleInsider Hangs With 'World's Toughest Cowboy's' 1,500 Pound Bull:

SeattleInsider: Q & A With 'World's Toughest Cowboy' Bullfighter:

Puppy mill dogs getting ready for adoption:

Ride'em, cowboy! KOMO's Mike Ferreri goes to the rodeo:

DENIED!: Owner of alleged puppy mill loses kennel license:



March 6th, 2009:

Letters to the Editor, March 6, 2009:


Thanks for supporting S.P.O.T.
S.P.O.T. would like to thank all of you for your tremendous support, tangible and monetary donations during the recent puppy mill raids. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal. And the donations keep rolling in! From Skagit County to Texas to Ontario, donations are pouring in from all over the United States and Canada.
From the 9-year-old who, instead of gifts for herself for her birthday, asked her guests to bring gifts and donations for the puppies; to the gentleman who walked from house to house in his neighborhood collecting hundreds and hundreds of dollars in donations; to Palmer’s, Girls Giving Back, Furry Faces Foundation and other groups who raised thousands of dollars at fundraisers they put on to support the dogs from these mills. All of you are wonderful and these dogs are certainly the beneficiaries of your kindness.
We’d also like to thank all of the shelters, rescuers, fosters and volunteers who are taking care of these dogs. They are now in environments that are providing the necessary food, shelter, love and attention that they so desperately need and deserve.
Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
Teresa Steiner
S.P.O.T. president


Animal control let us down
I understand the defendants in the animal abuse charges are making ludicrous claims that the animals were only a hobby and were well taken care of, etc. The actual conditions abnegate those statements, the animals were abused, sick and uncared for. The delay of trial because their attorney is not available is costing the county up to $400 a day and should not be allowed. The culprits should be fined, jailed and their property confiscated at once. The animal control officials are not doing their jobs, when an illegal condition of this magnitude is allowed to last as long as this has. The entire deterioration of the financial situation is caused because adequate control of this type is allowed to exist. My neighbor has jokingly suggested the elected officials should all be subjected to a WASL and morality test before taking offices. Sounds like a good idea.
John Spence
Mount Vernon


65 dogs from alleged puppy mill up for adoption:

Dogs seized from alleged puppy mill available for adoption:

How To Adopt Dogs Seized In Gold Bar Raid:

Ride'em, cowboy! KOMO's Mike Ferreri goes to the rodeo:

65 puppy mill dogs up for adoption:

Seized dogs fill up shelter:



March 7th, 2009:

68 dogs ready for adoption from shelter:


Letters to the Editor: Skagit Valley Herald:

Rescued dogs were in agony
We volunteer at the Humane Society of Skagit Valley and have spent time with the rescued dogs involved in the recent puppy mill busts. Nothing could have prepared us for what we experienced when we were with the rescued dogs. We are quite aware we did not see the worst cases. It was immediately evident by the expressions and body language of every dog that they have been through horror and torture.
We know these are very strong words but they don’t even begin to convey the depth of agony these dogs are in. Some dogs cowered in the corner and when we reached for them or got near them, their entire bodies were shaking and quivering. Some of the dogs were so needy for attention, they continually jumped and were extremely frantic.
We have seen some of the dogs with rotten teeth and others don’t have any teeth at all. Most of the dogs have their vocal chords removed. The absolutely frightened and panicked looks on their faces are unforgettable and will haunt us for years to come.
The dogs do not seem to know anything about human contact. We have seen some stare at their food bowls not able to comprehend what is in there. The pain, misery, sorrow and trauma these animals have had to endure will take a long time to heal if ever.
There is no way to undo the tremendous far-reaching harm and damage caused. The dogs cannot talk, they cannot go to therapy, they cannot do anything except take what is given to them. The dogs are helpless victims. This is a tragic situation that has left each dog in shock. Please check out the Humane Society of Skagit Valley. There are many ways to help. We all owe it to these innocent victims.
Karen Roberts

Dogs should not go back
So the kennel owners charged with neglect want the dogs back. Well, I say no! Unfortunately it is not my decision. I can only ask what kind of people are we if this is allowed?
These dogs need love, proper food, and living conditions. I have talked to many in the area about the reported conditions these animals were in. All of the people I have talked with feel the dog owners should not be allowed any contact with the dogs and also feel they should not be allowed to ever own another animal.
Abuse is abuse whether it is toward another human being, an animal or property. If you abuse another human being, you go to prison, if you abuse or destroy property, you are made to pay restitution and serve time. The animals rescued need the same justice. Justice for those that have died, those that have suffered and those still to be born.
Skagit County and its residents needs to stand strong and shout “This kind of abuse will not go unpunished. We will not allow this to continue.” Let us become the voice for God’s creatures who cannot speak for themselves.
Nancy Trythall



March 10th, 2009:

Kennel owner will get some dogs back:



March 11th, 2009:

Senate passes bill cracking down on puppy mills:

Senate passes puppy mill bill:

Senate passes bill cracking down on puppy mills:

Senate passes bill cracking down on puppy mills:


March 12th, 2009:

Senate passes bill cracking down on puppy mills:

Front porch: Grandmas in local history: They are having a benefit to raise money for the Gold Bar puppies:



March 14th, 2009:

Prosecutors given more time to file Gold Bar dog charges:



March 17th, 2009:

Letters to the Editor, March 17th, 2009:
March 17th, 2009:

Breeders should live like dogs
It was with great glee when I heard the (alleged) puppy mill owners might get a jail sentence, however in retrospect that is much too good for them. I believe all their property should be confiscated and sold to take care of all the vet bills, etc., that have incurred because of their neglect and they should be put in a cage in a dark basement, fed gruel once a day and left to live in their own feces and urine for the rest of their lives.
The county officials that let this happen should be put in the same situation for a couple of weeks, maybe they would be more serious about doing their job.
No breeder needs more than 10 dogs.
There should be surprise ongoing inspections monthly.
Pet stores should be banned from selling pets; adoptions from shelters should be their priority.
People that abuse animals for the almighty dollar make me sick.
Leilani Erps
Camano Island

Rodeo collects food for dogs from alleged puppy mill:

Foster Care Needed For Rescued Dogs:

Rescued puppy mill dogs need homes:

Seattle Humane Society Rescues Dogs in Puppy Mill Raid:

See photos of the rescued pups in our care.:

Hear Brenda Barnette's interview on KOMO 1000 Newsradio.

Consumer man Herb Weisbaum interviews Seattle Humane CEO Brenda Barnette about the difference between puppy mills and reputable breeders.


'And I just fell in love with her eyes':


March 19th, 2009:
Dogs rescued from puppy mills ready for adoption:

House Judiciary Committee: Public: ESB 5200, SSB 5402, SSB 5651:



March 22nd, 2009:

Adopt from reputable breeders or shelters to avoid puppy mill pets:

Stop and think before getting that new puppy!:

Raw: Dozens of puppy mill dogs go to new homes:



March 23rd, 2009:

The Olympian: Puppy mill dogs adopted from Everett shelter:

Tacoma-The News Tribune: Puppy mill dogs adopted from Everett shelter:

The Bellingham Herald: Puppy mill dogs adopted from Everett shelter:

Skagit Valley Herald: Puppy mill dogs adopted from Everett shelter:

Dogs from suspected puppy mill meet their new families:

Puppy mill dogs get new homes:



March 24th, 2009:

Breeder wants county to return seized dogs:


March 26th, 2009:

A MUST WATCH TOMORROW ON FRIDAY MARCH 27th, 2009 at 11:35 pm (Eastern Standard Time) that is 8:35 p.m. Seattle, WA time.: TV Alert: March 27, ABC's Nightline will be investigating puppy mills:


Did you see the legislative review today? Listen to the whole video, because the legislators take a break, and then come back in with their decisions on these bills. Here is the link: Event Date: March 26, 2009 10:00am

Event Description:
Exec: ESB 5200, SSB 5402, ESSB 5651


Lawsuit halts return of dogs to kennel owner:


March 28th, 2009:

Seattle Humane Society has more puppy mill rescues up for adoption:

Kennel owners should have to cover costs:

County official denies return of dog breeder's license:



April 3rd, 2009:

Skagit County hit with puppy mill lawsuit:

Skagit Co. hit with puppy mill lawsuit:



April 6th, 2009:

Missouri tries to shed reputation as 'puppy mill':



April 11th, 2009:

Dachshund rescued from puppy mill finds home in Birch Bay:



April 12th, 2009:

Puppy-mill survivor takes to new home:



April 20th, 2009:

Wash. lawmakers approve crackdown on puppy mills:



April 21st, 2009:

Toledo woman, Theresa Hutton, convicted of mistreating daughter also had a puppy mill:


The Everett Herald:

Legislators approve puppy mill crackdown

The Legislature has approved a measure cracking down on dog breeders who operate puppy mills.

Under the bill, dog breeders and owners would be barred from owning more than 50 dogs over 6 months old that are not neutered or spayed.

Anyone who has more than 10 unaltered dogs that spend most of their time in pens must house the dogs in clean and dry conditions. Dogs would have to be provided with food, water and exercise.

The Senate, on a 43-4 vote Monday, sent the measure to Gov. Chris Gregoire for final approval.



April 23rd, 2009:

Breeder in puppy mill investigation sued by dog owner:



April 27th, 2009:

Lawmakers didn’t ignore local issues:



Theresa Hutton ~ Puppy/Cat Mill (Toledo, WA)

Theresa & Katherine Hutton - Puppy/Cat Mill!!! (Toledo, WA)
June 15, 2007:Murky drinking water, deadly virus found at dog rescue:
TOLEDO, Wash. - Animal cruelty charges are pending against a horse owner and dog breeder who may now also be in violation of a quarantine involving a deadly disease in Lewis County.The case involves a dozen horses and more than a hundred dogs. Lewis County health officials are checking the property northeast of Toledo.The place calls itself Three Mountains Dog Rescue. The health officers have been here before and found more than 120 dogs in outdoor cages with murky drinking water.Officials found indications that the deadly brucellosis virus may be spreading through the dogs. 41 had to be euthanized, we're told.Those horses were seized.A quarantine order was slapped on the place because of the dog disease.Lewis County prosecutor Mike Golden is investigating allegations that the property owner brought in more dogs, violating the quarantine."Potentially the court could order if it finds her in contempt, could order all of those animals be removed," said Golden. "The fact that she may or may not have too many dogs on the property is one issue. But what really has her in trouble now with the law is that horse. She's not supposed to have any horses here.""I think it's horrible. I'm appalled. I think it's horrible," said Tonja Nichols, a neighbor. "I know this is the country and people can have animals, but animals have rights and they should be treated well."We tried and failed to get a response from owner Theresa Hutton. She told us earlier that she doesn't hurt animals; she rescues them."It just seems really wrong and unjust," said Nichols. Animal rights folks see horses that need new homes and dogs that may have been given a death sentence because of what they fear is an unchecked spread of brucellosis.The Lewis County prosecutor will make an animal cruelty charging decision next week.

July 2nd, 2007:12-year-old girl missing from Lewis County home: Video:" target="_blank"

July 2nd, 2007:12-year-old missing girl located:" target="_blank"

Katie HuttonTOLEDO, Wash. – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Dept. on Monday was searching for a 12-year-old girl who has been missing since late Saturday night. Search-and-rescue crews were notified after someone spotted the girl walking along a road Monday evening. Katie Hutton's mother told Lewis County sheriff's deputies she and her daughter got into an argument at their Toledo-area home Saturday night, and on Sunday morning, her mother says, Katie and her pink bicycle were gone. She said she looked most of the day before reporting Katie missing just before 4 p.m. Sunday.
Video" target="_blank"
Katie Hutton missing since Saturday
Katie is very small for a 12-year-old - standing just 3 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing 60 pounds. Neighbor Tonja Nichols searched her own five acres for the little girl. "And I obviously didn't find anything. I'm very upset, my kids are upset. I can't sleep," she said. The sheriff says it doesn't appear Katie has ever run away. There has been stress in the family as of late. Katie's mother, Theresa, who says she runs a dog rescue, is being investigated for animal neglect. A few weeks ago, police and health officials swept through the property and euthanized 41 dogs with a contagious animal disease called brucellosis. "We were there several times on official business... had nothing to do with child abuse or anything like that, but we were there because of the dogs, and that would heighten someone's sense of uneasiness," said Sheriff Steve Mansfield. Deputies were hoping leads would come from talking with neighbors and searching the thick woods in case the little girl has simply lost her way.

Allegedly ill-kept dogs seized:
By April Chan The Olympian • Published August 15, 2007 Fifty-four dogs seized from a Toledo home remain under quarantine, Lewis County Animal Services spokeswoman Amy Clark said Wednesday. The dogs were taken after the owner failed to appear in Lewis County District Court to face animal-cruelty charges related to horses on the property. The dogs were living in filthy conditions, and many didn’t have food or clean water, Clark said. Up to 80 dogs were left on the property because the shelter couldn’t accommodate them, she said.Theresa Hutton of Toledo was arrested Aug. 9. She was released Friday on her own recognizance after making her court appearance, prosecutor Michael Golden said. Hutton said she wasn’t aware of the mandatory court appearance. Officers took only small, expensive and rare breeding dogs, Hutton said.“The dogs were fat and healthy except for the two with mange,” she said. Their living area hadn’t been cleaned, and they didn’t have food and water because she was in jail, she said.In April, the state Department of Agriculture placed Hutton’s property under quarantine after veterinarians saw dogs infected with canine brucellosis and traced the disease to her residence, Clark said.County staff has tested animals at the property several times for further infection, and 41 have been euthanized, Hutton said.Hutton is scheduled to appear in court again Sept. 5 to follow up on the three counts against her regarding the horses, Golden said.The charges came about after Lewis County investigators filed a petition regarding 11 horses in her care. The animals reportedly did not have adequate shelter or clean water and were confined for extended periods. Several reportedly had split hooves or overgrown hooves and areas of rot.Hutton’s children are living with a relative as she continues to fight the animal cruelty charges, she said. The relative had reportedly filed a parenting petition after Hutton’s 12-year-old daughter ran away from home. A judge decided there was reason to investigate and has instructed that Hutton can see her children once a week for now.“They just want to come home,” Hutton said of her children. “They ask about how their animals are doing. My 5-year-old has never been away from me. It’s just so traumatizing it’s unbelievable.”

April 15, 2009:
Chehalis Mom On Trial For Starving, Abusing Child: Video included:
CHEHALIS, Wash. -- A Chehalis mother is on trial on charges of criminally mistreating her child.
Charges came after a raid on Theresa Hutton’s property in June 2007 to rescue animals, not children.
More than 40 dogs and two horses bred by Hutton had to be euthanized after contracting a deadly disease while living in filthy conditions.
Prosecutors said Hutton also mistreated her young daughter on the property, forcing her to sleep outside on hay without any blankets, feeding her little and subjecting her to bizarre and painful punishment.
A teacher testified on Wednesday about the girl being very small. Prosecutors said the abuse the girl suffered led to a form of dwarfism.
School staff said they also witnessed her hoarding food.
"In the beginning she would steal food and want to take it home. She was hungry. She would voice that she was hungry," said school employee Kim Satcher.
The little girl was also responsible for cleaning up pens for a nearly 100 dogs before going to school and would arrive filthy.
"She had a very strong odor. She would often have feces on her," Satcher said.
The girl, who grew 2 inches and gained 6 pounds in six months after being removed from her mother's care, also took the stand on Wednesday.
KIRO 7 was asked not to record her testimony, but among other things she said that she hid food from school in trees near her home, that her mom would hit her with rocks and sticks and that once her mom made her dig a hole to bury a horse.
She also said her mother threatened to tie a brick to her leg and throw it in the pond.
The girl testified that she was not allowed to use the bathroom inside and that on the nights she was allowed to sleep inside, she would have to sleep in a closet.
She also said her mom had a form of punishment called the “cockroach” where she would basically do toe touches with straight legs for hours on end.
When asked what would have happened if she would have stayed with her mother, the girl said she probably would have died.

April 21, 2009:
Woman Found Guilty Of Nearly Starving Daughter To Death:
LEWIS COUNTY, Wash. -- After little more than an hour of deliberation, a jury found a Lewis County woman guilty on Monday of nearly starving her daughter to death.
Theresa Hutton could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Prosecutors said Hutton also forced her daughter to sleep outside.
Investigators said they discovered the abuse two years ago when they raided Hutton's Toledo-area property to seize neglected animals.
Police said the abuse and lack of food caused the girl, now 13, to develop a form of dwarfism.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.

The Everett Herald: Published: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009:Toledo woman convicted of mistreating daughter:
Associated Press CHEHALIS -- A Toledo woman who withheld food and water from her 13-year-old daughter, made her sleep outdoors and care for more than 100 dogs has been convicted of criminal mistreatment.KITI and KELA report it took the Lewis County Superior Court jury less than an hour Monday to return the verdict against Theresa Hutton.Her daughter had run away and weighed less than 60 pounds when she was found.Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes could ask for up to five years in prison when the 35-year-old woman is sentenced later this month in Chehalis.Last summer, Hutton pleaded guilty to animal cruelty after a disease led to euthanizing more than 40 dogs she had been raising in what county officials believe was a puppy mill.

Theresa & Katherine Hutton - Puppy/Cat Mill!!! (Toledo, WA)
This woman is a puppy/cat mill. She runs the above ad on CL. Her name is: "Theresa Hutton" and "Katherine Hutton" and "Kristeena Hutton", and they lives at: 181 - Kinzie Road, Toledo, WA 98591. The animals are all in cages outside of her trailer home. The woman is covered in mud, and animal feces/urine, and is real filthy. The animals have no water or food. She yells at the animals. The cats are all caged together, and climbing up the sides of the pen and screaming! She already had over 100 animals taken from her, and yet she still has many animals being severely neglected!! She also has a current court case regarding this matter. The police said "we can not go beyond her LOCKED GATE without a warrant". We need to do more to put a stop to this woman, and her neglect and cruelty to these animals!!

Lewis County Assessor/Treasurer Information for

Parcel #014700026000
Parcel Number: 014700026000
Use Code: 18
Other Residential Parcel Address: 181 KINZIE RD TOLEDO WA
TCA: 510
Current Use Flag: No
Owner Address: 181 KINZIE RD TOLEDO WA 98591
Total Acres: 5.00
Taxpayer Name: HUTTON , THERESA
Partial Legal Description: Section 25 Township 12N Range 01W PT SW4 NE4 LOT 17 CHEHALIS PARK DIV II ROS 5/54 Taxpayer Address: 181 KINZIE RD TOLEDO WA 98591 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Property Values Tax Year Assessed Value Land Value Improvement Value Current Use Land Taxable Value Regular Taxable Value Excess
2009 $56,000 $41,000 $15,000 --- $56,000 $56,000
2008 $56,000 $41,000 $15,000 --- $56,000 $56,000
2007 $40,000 $25,000 $15,000 --- $40,000 $40,000
2006 $40,000 $25,000 $15,000 --- $40,000 $40,000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sales Sale Date Sale Amount Seller Name Buyer Name Auditor File Number 05/08/1995 $18,000.00 MONSON, CHRISTOPHER M. JOHNSON, STEVE 0650/0219 03/05/2002 $22,000.00 JOHNSON, STEVE HUTTON THERESA 3133438 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is the court record of civil and criminal charges regarding "Theresa Ann Hutton":

55 Hutton, Theresa Plaintiff Lewis County Dist Y7-C01330 08-23-2007
56 Hutton, Theresa Plaintiff Lewis County Dist Y7-C01409 09-05-2007
57 Hutton, Theresa Judgment Creditor G H Co Superior 06-9-01439-3 08-18-2006 58 Hutton, Theresa Petitioner G H Co Superior 06-3-00179-6 05-05-2006
59 Hutton, Theresa Respondent Lewis County Dist Y0-H00132 08-18-2000
60 Hutton, Theresa A H/w Defendant Cowlitz Superior Ct 93-2-00785-1 07-19-1993
61 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist 7Y0000184 07-13-2007
62 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist 7Y0000238 11-19-2007
63 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00038075 07-30-2007
64 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00038471 10-12-2007
65 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00038540 10-01-2007
66 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00038878 10-31-2007
67 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039046 10-08-2007
68 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039085 10-01-2007
69 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039100 10-29-2007
70 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039128 10-08-2007
71 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039154 10-22-2007
72 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039157 10-29-2007
73 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039327 11-26-2007
74 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039405 11-20-2007
75 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist I00039409 11-26-2007
76 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis Co Superior 08-1-00491-5 07-25-2008
77 Hutton, Theresa Ann Petitioner Lewis Co Superior 98-2-01477-4 12-07-1998
78 Hutton, Theresa Ann Respondent Lewis Co Superior 98-2-00986-0 08-19-1998 79 Hutton, Theresa Ann Respondent Lewis Co Superior 98-2-01426-0 11-20-1998 80 Hutton, Theresa Ann Respondent Lewis Co Superior 07-3-00256-3 06-20-2007 81 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist C00071960 11-29-1995
82 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Cowlitz District C03250KE 06-05-1996
83 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist C00074441 08-25-1998
84 Hutton, Theresa Ann Defendant Lewis County Dist C00077166 11-21-1995
85 Hutton, Theresa Ann (sunshine) Respondent Lewis Co Superior 95-2-01332-3 11-20-1995
86 Hutton, Theresa H/w Plaintiff Cowlitz Superior Ct 93-2-01179-3 10-21-1993

Jan Rodak's story in the "BARK MAGAZINE", on the Renee Roske Puppy Mill Ring ~ Also, Help an Independant Journalist Investigate Puppy Mills

Jan Rodak's story in the "BARK MAGAZINE"! This story is in regards to the Renee Roske Puppy Mill Ring! A must read!
This is also for Jan Rodak: Help an independent journalist investigate PUPPY MILLS.

Video in CA ~ Re: Puppy Mills

Video in CA ~ Re: Puppy Mills:

Animal Planet ~ TRIAL of firemen for murder of Karley

Monday 4-27-09 ...Animal Planet Exposes Puppy Mills:
Family's dog murdered in front of witnesses, by off duty Fire Dept employee -TRIAL:

How Could You ~ You Broke My Heart

How Could You ~ You Broke My Heart

By Jim Willis, copyright 2001 When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend.Whenever I was"bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love. She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" --still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness.You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers."You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?"They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first,whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream ... or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room.She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her.The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?"Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry."She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.
The EndA note from the author:If "How Could You?" brought tears to your eyes as you read it, as it did to mine as I wrote it, it is because it is the composite story of the millions of formerly owned pets who die each year in American and Canadian animal shelters. Anyone is welcome to distribute the essay for a noncommercial purpose, as long as it is properly attributed with the copyright notice.Please use it to help educate, on your websites, in newsletters, on animal shelter and vet office bulletin boards. Tell the public that the decision to add a pet to the family is an important one for life, that animals deserve our love and sensible care, that finding another appropriate home for your animal is your responsibility and any local humane society or animal welfare league can offer you good advice, and that all life is precious. Please do your part to stop the killing, and encourage all spay and neuter campaigns in order to prevent unwanted animals.

Puppies Aren't Products Campaign

Puppies aren't products campaign!‏