Bailing Out Benji: 2019 in Review

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2019 has been an amazing year! Thanks in large part to your support, we have been able to celebrate many successes for the dogs trapped in puppy mills across the country. We wanted to highlight as many of those successes with you as we look ahead at 2020! 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 


2019 “Person to Watch”In January of this year, our founder was named one of the Des Moines Register’s  “2019 People to Watch”  because of her leadership with Bailing Out Benji. Mindi Callison founded BOB when she was 21 years old in Ames, Iowa and in the last few years has expanded to 23 states in the US. Our volunteers work tirelessly across the country to educate about the cruel puppy mill industry and create change in their communities for the dogs still trapped. 

Ag Gag Law Struck Down in Iowa– We have been involved in a lawsuit against the state of Iowa since 2017 in order to overturn the Ag Gag law because it infringes on our first amendment right. We were thrilled when we won the suit in January of this year, however the state of Iowa rushed to pass a nearly identical law in order to give special protection the animal production industry. Alongside the ACLU and ALDF, as well as other plaintiffs, we filed a second lawsuit against Ag Gag 2.0 and were thrilled when the Iowa courts announced that Ag Gag laws couldn’t be enforced while the lawsuits are ongoing. This is a huge win for the animal in Iowa, who will no longer be invisible within puppy mills and other animal agricultural facilities.



Research Uncovered Sham Rescues; Results in Investigations-  As you know, Bailing Out Benji focuses heavily on researching the puppy mill industry in ways that set us apart from other advocacy organizations. We track CVIs from puppy mills and link them to the pet stores they are selling too. Through this research we have been able to expose several puppy mills-turned-rescue : Hobo K9 Rescue, Rescue Pets Iowa , Pet Connect RescueThese businesses exist to launder puppies from puppy mills through a shell “rescue” group, in order for those puppies to be sold in cities and states where laws prevent commercially bred puppies from being sold. Again, we partnered with the ALDF and sued a chain of pet stores and the fake rescues they are using. Because of our lawsuit, the chain of California stores have closed down (as have several others), Rescue Pets Iowa has closed and we have assisted the Iowa Attorney General in their investigation into the fake Iowa rescues for charity fraud. Our research has created a domino effect of awareness and activism across the country and we will be focusing on this issue a lot in 2020. 


If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 

Bailing Out Benji Featured on Animal Planet- This year we were honored to, again, partner with Panda Paws Rescue to raise awareness about the puppy mill industry on their Animal Planet TV show “Amanda to the Rescue” . In both Season 1 and Season 2 we were able to showcase midwest puppy mill survivors and educate a worldwide audience about this cruel industry. 


Millions of People Learned About Puppy Mills- None of this would be possible without the countless hours our volunteers have put in across the country. By hosting over 350 educational events, hundreds of pet store protests and almost 100 educational seminars, our small-but-mighty nonprofit has educated millions of people and gave them the tools they need to fight puppy mills in their own community. We are the country’s leading grassroots, nonprofit organization that is focused solely on fighting the puppy mill industry and our work is held in high regard and is used by other animal welfare nonprofits. 



First-Ever Nationwide Movie Theater Campaign- At the end of every year we turn our attention to creating public service announcements that will reach the puppy-buying public ahead of the Holiday shopping season. This year we took our animated PSA and turned it into a movie theater commercial. With the help of area organizations such as Safe Pets for Joliet, Humane Naperville, Virginia Pawsitivaty and Spay/Neuter Arkansas, we were able to educate close to 2 million people with our 21 theater locations (and hundreds of screens) as well as 11 billboards. 

If you are able, please consider making a year-end donation to support our work! 


Animated PSA Wins National Award- In early 2019 we released our animated PSA in both English and Spanish. Little did we know that the PSA would be nominated and selected to win  the 2019 “Professional Choice Award” by the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and Hill’s Pet Nutrition for our animated PSA! It is an amazing honor that is given to one PSA each year. 



More Retail Bans Passed- 2019 was another huge year for the puppy mill dogs and the advocates who fight for them. Over 45 humane ordinances have been passed this year which prevent pet stores from being able to sell commercially bred puppies and kittens. Our volunteers and our research have been crucial in passing many of these bans. Our pet store research and puppy mill search engine have helped countless advocates and citizens get physical proof on the puppy mill industry to use in their own communities. 


In The News- Our volunteer teams have been working hard all over the country to create big change for the puppy mill dogs. Below you will find a few headlines that you may have missed! 

Nebraska Dog Breeders are on the Decline

Rock Island to Block Retail Puppy Mill Puppies

Holliston Pet Shop Closes Due to Puppy Mill Allegations

Davenport Group Protests Pet Stores

Iowa Department of Agriculture Seeks New Regulations

Local Organization Helps Stranded Animal Rescue Transport

Puyallup Area Puppy Mill Regulations 

In 2020 we will be even more focused on fighting the puppy mill industry through research, education and activism. We will be able to build upon all of these successes and push for even more oversight on the pet store/puppy mill industry across the country. With your support, we can continue our important work. Can we count on you, so the puppy mill dogs can count on us? 

To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter, which will allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.

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