Mill Dog Monthly; May 2016

Hi, everyone! It’s Mindi, the founder of Bailing Out Benji! This is a very special edition of #MillDogMonthly because Bailing Out Benji is…. FIVE YEARS OLD! That’s right! This month we have been celebrating our five-year anniversary! That is five whole years of making the world a better place through education, rescue, transports and advocacy! We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate this special occasion than by sharing stories from wonderful people we have helped, as well as behind the scenes photos and plans for the future! Thank you so much for reading and for helping us relive the successes we have had over the past five years! I can’t wait to see what is in store over the next five years!

The Beginning

If you have followed us from the beginning, you know that Bailing Out Benji started off as an educational blog. It was my way of connecting with the public and sharing my journey into this world of animal advocacy. I was 21 and honestly had no idea that things were this tragic when

All time views
All time article views (as of 5/30/2016

it came to animal welfare. Iowa was (and still is) one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to puppy mills and we are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to animal welfare laws.

 In the beginning, I was ecstatic to be getting a handful of views a month. The early articles were written in disbelief and were a little disorganized. But month after month, my article hits grew as my readers were learning and the relationships that were being created were life-changing. I was connecting with real people who were learning about these issues for the first time and I could see that a difference was being made. Now, five years later, our articles get thousands of views a week and every day we are hearing from someone new who had no idea about puppy mills. Like Jennifer M.


Jennifer-  “I have always been an animal lover. I volunteered at a vet clinic as a teenager, had many pets as a child and got my first dog in my early twenties. I wasn’t allowed one as a child because I was allergic, but I didn’t care and toughed it out anyways to have a beloved dog. I got a dachshund because I had wanted one for years. I found a breeder and picked her up at 8 weeks old. As much as I loved animals, I had no clue about rescue or the horrors that so many dogs endure due to puppy mills. I discovered rescue a few years later and adopted my second dog from a dachshund rescue and was feeling good about saving a life. Still, I had no idea what a puppy mill was. I was just browsing Facebook one day about 4 or 5 years ago, and one of the dachshund pages I follow showed a link to an article about puppy mills written by Bailing out Benji. I was horrified, cried tears and felt enraged that this horrific suffering was going on and so many people either don’t know about it or are the people who are perpetuating it. From that moment on, I   have been active about educating the people I know about puppy mills, as well as doing my part to be sure not to support those who support mills in any way. I’m educating my daughters now, and I can guarantee my girls would never “buy” a pet. Bailing out Benji is a great wealth of information teaching so many about the perils of puppy mills and pet store puppies, but even more Bailing out Benji is also a group of dedicated advocates making a difference.”

Every day, people like Jennifer are interested in learning more and they are searching for “puppy mills in Iowa” or “Puppy mills near me” and they are coming across one of the almost 100 articles that we have written on the topic. One great thing about our website/blog is that we connect real puppy mills and their websites to their USDA inspection reports and numbers. So when someone is looking for “Century Farm Puppies” or “Randy Stoen, Dows” they come across the truth and hopefully RUN the other way.

Our website and articles have been viewed in almost every country in the world.


Turning Education into Advocacy
It wasn’t until I started looking at the local puppy mill problem that I realized this issue was in my own backyard. I went into a local pet store, “Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe” with a few friends and saw that they were selling puppies. When asked where the puppies come from, the store owner told us “Century Farm Puppies” and gave us the address. After checking out the inspection reports and seeing that they had over 400 adult dogs on their property, we knew we had to visit and see things firsthand.  We saw the puppy mill and we decided that we had to educate about whereMarley those adorable pet store puppies really come from.

But not before we convinced the mill owner to let us “adopt” one of the dogs that couldn’t be used for breeding anymore (no money was exchanged). Little did I know,  “Marley” was going to be the first of many puppy mill survivors that we would be helping to free from this horrible life over the next five years. Marley was a 3 year old King Charles Cavalier used for breeding “cavachons” at Century Farm Puppies. What the breeder told us: Her uterus dropped during her last litter and she needed an emergency c-section and spay. What the breeder did not tell us: She had luxating patellas, cherry eye, long nails and horrible teeth/ears. With the help of a local shelter, we took this sweet girl to her foster-turned-forever home and she got all of the vet care and love she truly deserved. In her short three years, it is estimated that she had at least 4 litters and made the breeder almost $20,000.
Shortly after our visit to CFP, we contacted Dale Dyvig again to warn him about how awful the breeder was… He laughed…. HE LAUGHED and told us that he had been using the same breeders for decades and they were just fine. That ignited something inside of me that I honestly had no idea existed. Again, for those of you that have followed our organization for a while, knows what happened next 😉 We protested. And protested. And protested. Since Black Friday of 2011, we have protested every single Saturday and Sunday, with a few -20surprise protests during the weeks and our “theme” protests in which we protest every day for 30 days ( #ThirtyDaysThirtyProtests ) for puppy mill awareness month and the #12ProtestsOfChristmas where we catch last minute puppy buyers the two weeks leading up to the holidays.  

That means we have protested this one pet store for over 75,000 minutes over the last five years *(not including our protests in front of Pet’s Playhouse and Petland) . In the negative temperatures, in the extreme heat, in the rain, and in the snow. We are there no matter what, because the dogs in the puppy mills are forced to live in these conditions. In that time we have educated thousands of people about this issue and its connection to our local pet store, and we have turned away so many potential puppy buyers and helped them find reputable breeders and rescues.



A breeder surrender from Missouri, we transported to RAGOM. (He was stretching his legs while we waited for the rescue to meet us!  


Speaking of the dogs…


Between owner surrenders, breeder releases and auction rescues- Bailing Out Benji has helped hundreds of dogs (and cats) find safe haven among the no-kill, nonprofit rescues that we partner with. We make the connections, we transport and (when we have the funds) we donate towards the vet care of the animal.  Not all every rescue we assist with makes it to facebook, but we do often post those photos to instagram.

We couldn’t be more thankful for the relationships and connections that we have made when saving these lives. It has truly been an eye opening experience! Here is what Cindy Goodin from Little White Dog Rescue has to say: 

Teddy“Bailing out Benji is an amazing organization. Not only do they educate the public about the plight of dogs that are caged their entire lives, but they have partnered with my organization in getting some dogs released and placed into rescue. Some of these dogs come with no medical care and in deplorable condition. Bailing Out Benji is a great champion for these dogs and without them these dogs would continue to suffer. I can’t say enough great things about them!”

Rescues like Little White Dog Rescue, FluffyButts Rescue and the Pug Partners of Nebraska (to name a few) are a few amazing no-kill rescues that never hesitate to step up and take animals when we ask! 

Friendships, Honors and Achievements

DBDTo say that I and Bailing Out Benji have been blessed over the last 5 years is a huge understatement. What we do, we do for the dogs, 1000%. We don’t do it for the recognition and certainly not for the glory. But we are very blessed in the fact that our hard work and educational efforts have moved mountains and have garnered respect across the world.

In 2014, we were blown away when 5414 productions reached out to us and wanted to include Bailing Out Benji in their puppy mill documentary, Dog by Dog. It was so unbelievable that I honestly thought it was a cruel joke at first! But they came! Director Christopher Grimes and Filmographer Travis Edwards came to my home to interview me and filmed our protest the next day- even though it was -14 degrees! If that wasn’t exciting enough, the next year and a half was indescribable. I was able to travel across the country with the film for various premiers and meet hundreds animal lovers-turned friends- who truly wanted to make a difference for the puppy mill dogs. Protests were started, connections were made and, because of that, countless people have been educated. 

During this time, Best-selling Author, Janetta Harvey reached out to us and a friendship began. After learning about our efforts, Janetta included Bailing Out Benji and our story in her book “Saving One More” and we couldn’t be more proud! Not just the fact that this is another way we are able to educate, but it shows solidarity in this fight against the puppy mill industry. From the United Kingdom all the way to Iowa, we are united in this fight.

Janetta Harvey, Author & Campaigner
“Since being introduced to the dedicated work of Mindi and her Bailing Out Benjisaving one more team, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the strength and commitment to the dogs that they regularly show. It’s been awe inspiring to witness the weekly peaceful protests, the awareness events Bailing Out Benji attend, and the billboards they fund. Truly impressive for a small group. I’m in the UK and many times wish I could be with Mindi in person to support her and absorb some of the tenacity she shows to keep battling to get the voices of dogs heard, both in her local community, but also much further afield. It was an honour to include her story in my book, “Saving One More” and I look forward to meeting her one day and celebrating the end of the nasty puppy breeding and selling industry that we campaign against, united across the world.”


And in 2016, shortly before Bailing Out Benji turned five, I was given an amazing award by the Humane Society of the United States- Puppy Mill Campaign. Out of everyone in the country who works tirelessly to give a voice to those that have none, I was one of 14 people awarded the HSUS “Advocates We Love” award. I was so honored to accept the award on behalf of all of the hard work that our volunteers have done. 

These last five years have been unbelievable. It is hard to imagine what amazing things will happen in the next five years! 



Education Knows No Borders!

Over the past 5 years, Bailing Out Benji has physically traveled all over Iowa and Nebraska to educate about puppy mills and other animal issues. The rescue events we attend, the expos and the booths we host have helped us reach and educate thousands of people about these issues! We also send out educational brochures, flyers and posters for animal lovers to hang in their own communities to raise awareness.

We are soRoundrock excited to say that we are taking the leap and expanding our volunteer base to another state! We have a group of committed animal lovers in Texas who want to start hosting educational tables and events to raise awareness about puppy mills in their area and we are so happy to help! The past few weeks we have been working nonstop to create a database of puppy mills in Texas to create a Texas Puppy Mill Map for them, like we made for Iowa. While this Texas BoB is a work in progress, we are very excited for what this means for our organization! Who knows where another volunteer team will pop up next!


A few examples of our educational outreach PSAs

What does this mean?

Five years of hard work and we couldn’t do ANY of it without Y.O.U. The shares, the articles views, the likes on Facebook, the donations– all of our success and educational outreach has been possible because of your help. $5Fri

Bailing Out Benji is 100% volunteer based, meaning that no one is reimbursed for their time or efforts. As you know and have read, we are completely dedicated to exposing puppy mills and the pet stores they sell to by educating the public. Our billboards, bus ads and newspaper ads educate thousands of people on a daily basis.

Can you help us celebrate our birthday? Make a donation today, of ANY amount and help us continue our important work! Click here for ways to donate. Every dollar helps us in our mission to put an end to puppy mills once and for all. All donations are tax deductible and will help us greatly. We created a new spot on our website to thank any individual or business who donates over $500 (at one time). We will link the thank you to your business or organization as our way of thanking you. With the high traffic of our website, our amazing supporters will appear on the side of every article and page on our site!


 Never did I think that my little blog would have changed my life, and the lives of countless animals and humans, forever. Thank you all. Thank you for the constant love and support to our small, but mighty organization. We couldn’t do it without you <3 


— Mindi 


Mill Dog Monthly; April 2016

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As always, a HUGE thank you to Matt and Brandi (Webber Designs) for their hard work in creating this month’s Mill Dog Monthly! 
For more information on the groups mentioned, please visit their facebook pages. 
Susie-Belle Schnauzer
Oscar’s Law
Pug Partners of Nebraska
Puppy Love Campaigns
Little Lena
Good Karma Animal Rescue of MN
Dog by Dog
Humane Society of Northeast Iowa 

Mill Dog Monthly; January 2016

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Mill Dog Monthly: January 2016 was brought to you by our volunteers Matt and Brandi! We also want to send a special thanks to Webber Designs for putting this together and for all of the other amazing designs they do for us!

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook and, to receive our articles straight to your email, sign up below!

Iowa Puppy Mills by the Numbers


As an Iowan, I have always been proud to live in this state. The scenery is beautiful, and the people are amazing. I have always believed that there is no better place than here….

Since starting Bailing Out Benji in 2011, my eyes have been opened to the world of misery and torture in our own back yard. I had no idea that is Iowa is the SECOND WORST state in America when it comes to puppy mills, with over 250 puppy mills (and over 17,000 adult dogs trapped)! Since Bailing Out Benji was founded, the number of puppy mills in Iowa has dropped from over 400 to just over 250- which is fantastic news! But we have a long way to go… And we can’t do it without YOUR help! 

In this article, I have included a few “fast facts” about Iowa puppy mills, so you can share and help us educate! We firmly believe that through education we can put an end to this industry! 

Counties with the most puppy mills in Iowa 

Sioux County (with 28!)

Lee County (With 21!)

Davis County (with 14!)

 Lyon County (With 7!)

Worth County (With 7! )

Remember, these are just a few of  the worst counties when it comes to puppy mills… It does not mean that they are the only counties with puppy mills and it doesn’t mean these are the puppy mills with the most number of dogs. If you are curious about puppy mills in your area, please contact us


2015 Breeders with DIRECT USDA Violations.

 In 2015 alone, there were 24 USDA inspections done that included direct violations of the Animal Welfare Act. A direct violation is one that puts an animal in immediate distress (illness, open wounds, inadequate cage size, etc) 

Of those 24 inspections: 

-5 USDA licensed breeders had more than one inspection last year with direct violations on each inspection

-1 USDA licensed breeder had three inspections done and had a direct violation on each

-25 direct violations were handed out in total. 

Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders Make 2015 HSUS Horrible Hundred List

Each year, the Humane Society of the United States puts out their list of the worst puppy mill owners in the country, and each year Iowa makes the list! Sadly, in 2015 Iowa made quite the impact, with 11 puppy mills making the cut. 

Puppy mills in the following counties made the list: Calhoun, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Lee, Marion, Mitchell, Plymouth,Sioux, Van Buren. 

These puppy mills alone have over 903 adult dogs trapped in their facilities and they are living in some of the worst conditions in the entire country. The HSUS does a “Horrible Hundred” list each year, and Iowa is always represented. Here are the links to the 2014 and 2013. 


Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders with the Most Adult Dogs 

The top five breeders in Iowa have overwhelming amounts of dogs. Totaling over 2,000 adult breeding dogs, these facilities have numerous violations and many have made the HSUS horrible hundred list in previous years. 

Larry Albrecht- Coldwater Kennels, Butler County. Latest USDA Count- 261 adult dogs, 220 puppies. 

J. Maasen- Sioux County. Latest USDA Count- 282 adult dogs, 158 puppies. THIS BREEDER MADE THE 2015 HORRIBLE HUNDRED PUPPY MILL LIST. 

Marvin and Joanna Newswanger- Maple Tree Kennels, Chickasaw County. Latest USDA count- 331 adult dogs 

Ed VanDoorn- Squaw Creek Kennels, Mahaska CountyLatest USDA Count- 387 adult dogs, 152 puppies. 

Steve Kruse- Stonehenge Kennels, Lee County. Latest USDA count- 823 adult dogs, 584 puppiesTHIS BREEDER HAD FIVE INDIRECT VIOLATIONS ON THEIR LATEST INSPECTION. 


And Lastly, Iowa has over 10 pet stores that buy from puppy mills, but even more Iowa puppy mills shipping puppies to stores out of the state. For more information on them, please click here

Bailing Out Benji is the only organization in Iowa that actively protests these pet stores and we would LOVE your help! Ames, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are three cities that we host protests in each weekend. If you know of a pet store in your area that sells puppies, please contact us! We would love to help you educate the citizens in your town! Remember, Pet store puppies ARE puppy mill puppies: don’t buy the lies! 

The dogs in the puppy mills need YOUR help today. Help us educate your family, friends and coworkers by sharing this article! With each new person learning about puppy mills, we are one step closer to putting an end to the industry altogether! 

For more ways to help, please contact us! 

— Mindi

** All Info is Current as of October 2015 and will be updated regularly**

And don’t forget to like us on facebook !!

#ShopSmall #ShopHumane



According to American Independent Business Alliance, one of the benefits of “shopping small” is that you are Maintaining Community Character. You are holding a local business accountable for the products they are buying and selling. We praise local businesses that use fair trade items and sell products that sustain third world countries, while condemning the big box stores that promote sweatshops and child labor. So when can we hold the local pet store accountable for the puppy mills it is supporting? Because, in case you didn’t know, that is exactly what is happening.


As you may know, Bailing Out Benji is a nonprofit organization based out of Ames, Iowa and our educational outreach is praised and mirrored all over the world. The 2010 census shows that Ames had a population of almost 60,000 residents, more when you factor in all of the college students at our local Iowa State University. The motto of Ames is “Shop Ames, Grow Ames”, and with the fantastic outreach of our Main Street Cultural District, most Ames residents pride themselves on shopping small and locally. Naturally, Small Business Saturday isn’t something you mess around with in Ames.


Here’s the dilemma we face each week… Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, which is located just off of Main Street in Ames, is the “small, local business” that we protest several times a week. While our community, business owners and city leaders silently shake their heads at the store that admittedly sells puppy mill dogs, several citizens (mainly friends of the store) are horrified at the fact that someone is protesting a small, “local” business owner who is an honest, god fearing man. Sadly, the two puppy mills Dale Dyvig buys his puppies from are NOT local. Traveling over an hour to get to each facility, you will find that each breeder currently has 150 adult dogs and their recent history includes many violations for having over 500 adult dogs each. And, since the protests have begun, the store owner has backtracked and reworded his puppy source several times. First, he told customers the names of his suppliers, then they became “small family breeders”, then he called them “USDA licensed kennels” , then just “great kennels” and back to “small, local family breeders.” With all of the name changes, the store continues to use the same two puppy mills.

So, the question is… Are we ignoring this simply because the store is local? Do we allow the store owner to profit off of the suffering of animals because he isn’t a big chain like Petland?

Sadly, this is the third installment of “Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe” that the owner has opened and operated in Iowa. When business slows down, he sells the store to an employee and moves on to greener pastures. When Dale moved to Ames, he hit the jackpot! A huge, wealthy community that cares about shopping local AND college students who are missing their own animals from home. Puppies were flying out of the store faster than he could acquire them, until our organization came along and exposed the truth behind the business model of the store. Those puppies were coming from puppy mills, and the parents were left behind to suffer. For months (which turned to years), we begged Dale to go humane and offer adoptable animals in his store instead of mill dogs. All of our volunteers vowed all of our business to his store once he cut ties with the puppy mills to no avail. We are on two sides of the line, but we are standing on the right side of history.

According to SustainableConnections.Org, shopping locally Reduces Environmental Impact. Again, in the case of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, the argument can be made that the store’s business model can be negatively impacting our environment by forcing our companion animals to live in hog-confinement style cages where the fecal matter and other debris is power-washed away from the kennels, which seeps into the soil and local bodies of water. But let’s not overlook the cruelty of forcing man’s best friend to live his/her entire life in a wire kennel, exposed to the elements, with inadequate vet care and poor food. And on the other side of the coin, there are thousands of homeless animals within 100 miles of Ames that are begging for homes. Dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, chinchillas, birds, even horses. But their lives aren’t as worthy? They don’t deserve the spotlight to find the best homes?

So, we go back to the question…. Do we continue to support a local business just because it is local? Do we turn a blind eye to the cruelty because it is easier?

That answer is on each of us, because we vote with each purchase that we make.


I will continue to shop small and support the fantastic, humane pet store in town. I spend hundreds of dollars a month there on pet food, toys, treats and everything else for my rescued pets. Both I and our volunteers spend there and shop locally because, not only do the owners take a stand against puppy mills, but they host adoption events several weekends a month and donate to local rescues and shelters.


Pet stores that sell puppies will never see a dime of my money, but they will continue to see me and animal lovers across the United States.


Every single weekend.


In front of their stores.


Until they choose to go humane or close.

This is bigger than one small store in one small town. This is taking a stand against a million dollar industry that is based on lies and cruelty. The case of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe is not special, and it is not uncommon. Local pet stores all over the country are selling puppies from pet stores and fooling the citizens in their towns into thinking that the dogs come from local breeders. DON’T BUY THE LIES. Pet store puppies ARE puppy mill puppies.


— Mindi

Founder of Bailing Out Benji



Don’t Buy The Lies- New Design Kennels

Hello, All! As you know, at Bailing Out Benji we are dedicated to helping puppy mill dogs in various ways…. One of which is by outing puppy mills and the pet stores they sell to. If you have been following our educational efforts at all, you will have seen that we have been protesting one pet store, Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, in Ames, Iowa for almost 4 years now. Dyvig’s has admitted to buying puppies from two puppy mills here in Iowa. While we have a presence in front of the store every Saturday and Sunday (with surprise weekday protests sprinkled in), we have stepped up our game for Puppy Mill Awareness Month. Our #ThirtyDaysThirtyProtests campaign is back for the month of September and we have been able to reach a lot of new people with our message. Most days, it is hard to see the direct fruits of our efforts… But other days, we are given the best “thanks”. Today is that day.

z8Bailing Out Benji receives dozens of emails and private messages every day, not to mention all of the comments of support and shares. Tonight, however, we received a very special message. A woman, who unknowingly supported a puppy mill, by purchasing from New Design Kennels. After the first puppy she purchased from NDK died after only 7 months from an intestinal disease, her boyfriend purchased a second one. For $100 off the normal price, for their inconvenience of losing the first one. Sadly, the second dog wasn’t much healthier. He had to undergo a very expensive surgery for IVDD, a genetic disorder in which trauma to the spinal cord results from hardening of the spinal disks. Because of this woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, we were given a link to the blog written by the owner of New Design Kennels, Nancy Carlson, and we are SO excited to be sharing her words with you tonight.

Her full blog can be read here, but we thought a point by point breakdown of her arguments was a little more fitting because, as you all know, the facts don’t lie. So here we go! “Sex, Lies, and New Design Kennel” (Screenshots have been taken directly from her blog. 


Well, let’s be real. Nancy Carlson and I have been in the room together at least three times. The first time she was auctioning off her dogs. Dogs that were missing eyes, limbs and were visibly ill. She transported them to the auction in a trailer meant for a car. It was truly one of the most horrifying experiences I have ever had. The second time, I had the pleasure of defending our puppy mill awareness PSA against her, Rob Hurd and the owner of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, Dale Dyvig. She embarrassed herself in front of a room full of businessmen by claiming that I have invisible drones that fly over her property and that I threaten to rape her in the same cages that she rapes her dogs in (her words…. because… yuck.) And the final time, Nancy was- again- at a puppy mill auction. This time, buying more dogs to breed.

Also, Bailing Out Benji started long before I ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with Nancy Carlson.


In the many years of operating the kennel, I am the ONLY person who has ever complained. Really? Can anyone name a business that has 100% customer satisfaction anywhere? Then I will consider myself very lucky that the very first person that ever bought a sick puppy from New Design Kennels (bought two) and contacted me! Sadly, this just isn’t the case, and it isn’t even believable. And I am just going to put this here Not only does Nancy Carlson operate New Design Kennels, but she runs a separate breeding website called “Illusion Japanese Chin” and even reputable breeders/ show breeders /breed enthusiasts know that something very shady is going on there. What kind of reputable breeder needs more than one name?! 


Hmmm…. Not only have I personally helped rescue dogs in horrid conditions that came straight out of puppy mills, but we have ALL seen those photos. Dogs that are completely matted, dogs that are too old, dogs with open wounds… These conditions have all been backed up by USDA inspections in which the inspectors cite these violations. Those dogs are all still breeding. Being “in the mood” doesn’t matter to animals when they are in heat. You can see some of those reports here, thanks to the 2015 Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill List


As Nancy said in her own blog earlier, ” a set of predator-drone flyover photos of our property several years ago”. The photos that Bailing Out Benji has of New Design Kennels ARE of their property, she admitted it in her own blog. Never once did we say that the cages were too small, sadly, they are more spacious than some puppy mills, but the dogs are forced to live on wire their entire lives. I will let you see those photos for yourself… And you can decide. 




So…. Again…. Do YOU think that New Design Kennels is a puppy mill? 



There ya have it, everyone! And that’s the truth! 

Join us on Facebook and stay updated on all of the work we are doing in Iowa, and beyond! 

Why Protest?

A woman protesting suffrage in 1917

As you all know, we are just under three months shy of our 4 year protest anniversary in front of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe- not to mention the three other pet stores we have volunteers standing in front of. The support that we receive from the community (and social media) is overwhelmingly positive and supportive. However, we do receive some anger directed at what we do. Especially when the store sends angry people our way. One of the frequent (personal) questions we are asked is “Why don’t you people do something better with your time?” It doesn’t matter what they are doing with their free time, they want to know why we aren’t doing more.

Protesting isn’t a new thing, nor is it going away any time soon. Since the 16th century (likely before), citizens have been documented peacefully assembling in order to raise awareness about issues that are near and dear to their hearts. Freedom, the right to vote, to end wars, to get unionized, to end animal cruelty in zoos/circuses, to raise awareness about puppy mills…. There is no end to the important causes in this world. Peaceful protests have made a lot of positive change in the history of the world. Sadly, there will always be those who disagree with the topic you are fighting for. No matter what it is. 

So I wanted to take a second and ask a few of our volunteers that question…. Why protest? Why spend your free time holding a sign in front of a pet store? Our volunteers come from all walks of life- we have vet techs, factory workers, shelter employees, retired marines,  teachers, and- actually- our most frequent protester is a retired 71 year old feisty woman! But no matter what we have going on, the plight and suffering of the dogs trapped in puppy mills weighs heavily on our hearts. So, without any more ramblings, I want you to hear it from our volunteers. Why do YOU protest?

Vicki- Why do I protest? Of course the obvious answer is that I love animals and hope to make their plight better through protest. I want to be one voice for the voiceless. No matter what you feel strongly about, protesting lets all observers know your stance on the subject. But, to be honest, there is a selfish side to protest, I feel so much better about myself now that I am protesting regularly. I’m no longer just existing for myself. I hope that I am actually making a difference in the life of an animal that is at the mercy of humans. I am not just inwardly turned… living only for myself anymore. I think many have never learned how good you feel if you do something good, an act of kindness that cannot be returned. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.

David- Ending puppy Mills is one piece of the puzzle.. it is about changing hearts and minds- bringing about a more compassionate towards all sentient beings. And ultimately ending all forms of animal cruelty.

African American protest for equal rights, 1963
African American protest for equal rights, 1963

Lori- The obvious importance of protesting is the significant role that protests have played in bringing about the necessary change throughout history. Successful protests have the power to positively influence public opinion. Every changed heart is a huge victory. What we believe at the heart level becomes our way of life, and in turn, influences others around us. For me, personally, gathering with others to protest strengthens my resolve to continue to work towards bringing about change.

Kristin- Puppies are adorable. Typically when people walk into a pet store, they have no intention of buying. But they see that adorable puppy and can’t say no. They impulse buy. If people knew where the mom’s and dad’s came from, I believe that there is no way in their right minds that they would buy. There are enough homeless animals that we can all find the perfect pet in a shelter or rescue. We don’t need poor quality and mass breeding. We need to save the ones that are already here.

Peaceful pet store protest
Peaceful pet store protest

Kelsey- I think that protesting is important because consumers deserve to know all of the facts before making a decision. Protesters have no financial stake in the business, so they are being honest and transparent.

Shannon- Protesting is important because you are educating others about puppy mills. I was unaware of the puppy mill problem in Iowa until I started protesting. Because it’s not in the news often, many people in this state are unaware of where pet store puppies come from. I protest to educate.

Katt- I believe protesting is an important step in educating the public because the animals we are protesting for cannot speak for themselves. As simple a step as putting easy to read writing on signs, can lead a person to go home and research puppy mills and to research the business being protested.

As for me… I think protesting is one of the most important things a person can do in their life. Not only are we exercising our rights as free citizens, while educating about a topic that we care passionately about- but we are proving that those dogs trapped in the puppy mills are no longer invisible. We stand as visible reminders every single (day/weekend/month/year) that those dogs DO exist and they are suffering. No longer are we sitting idly by, we are changing the world every day that we are out there. With every new person we educate, the puppy mill industry becomes weaker and weaker.

Everything we have said in the short interviews given are things we wish we could say every single time we are asked “Why”. Instead, most people walk off without a pause for an answer. So we tell them to have a great day and we stare straight ahead and hold our signs. Every time. 

For the dogs.

Can you join us? Even once? 

Bailing Out Benji hosts peaceful protests each weekend in

Ames, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids (Iowa). 

email:  for more information!

— Mindi 

Our peaceful protests in front of Dyvig's Pet Shoppe
Our peaceful protests in front of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe

Oops… We did it again!

Hundreds of Puppy Mills
Thousands of dogs
Immeasurable suffering


Check out our latest bus ad that will be circling around…. DES MOINES, Iowa!

DART buses drive all over the Des Moines area, and 20 other cities! Over 4.4 million people ride these buses each year!

The timing of the bus ad release is strategically planned for… The Iowa State Fair! Which is held each year in Des Moines and hosts over 1 million people! DART shuttles many of the visitors from their cars to the fair during this time!

This ad will run for a year and will also run when the legislators are in session! Let’s hope it sparks some interest and they start making decisions with the best interest of the animals at heart!

We are proud to have Aheinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport displayed on our ad! Not only are they a fantastic rescue, but they have helped rescue many puppy mill dogs in the last few years!