Every day I hear the stories… We all hear them. The stories about beaten or starved animals that somehow survive terrible owners. The stories about perfect strangers falling into the equation, and making their lives better — whether these strangers take the abused animal straight out of the horrific home, or if they give them a second chance by adopting from a shelter.
Everyday I sign on to my facebook page and I see so many posts from all of you, trying to spread the word about animals that need adopting or animals that need transporting.
Every day I see everyone caring so much. I know that I am not the only one that wants to cry when there is news of an animal that needed put down because we couldn’t find it a home.
Everyday I am reminded more and more that I am not alone in this fight. There a millions of us that just want the world to be a better place for our pets. For this, and more, I thank you.
Thank you all so much for supporting“Bailing out Benji”.You are helping to save the lives of those that need us.
Thank you even more, for giving a voice to those that have none. Because if we don’t speak up for them, no one will.
But mainly, thank you all for reminding me everyday how important this all really is.
I have noticed that over the last week, someone (or a few someones) keeps using that search phrase and keeps coming across this blog. Whether you are a friend or foe, I feel as though I must bring some attention to this!
In Winnebago County, IA, there are technically ten breeders that could most definitely fall into the puppy mill category. Not having gone to visit any of these myself, I can only speculate… I shall do so now.
It is my opinion that, since there are only seven actual towns in Winnebago County, that it is the perfect place to have an operation like a puppy mill. It is pretty secluded and right along the Minnesota border! According to various sources, of the seven actual towns in the county (Buffalo Center, Forest City, Lake Mills, Leland, Rake, Scarville, and Thompson) , Leland and Rake are the only two without citizens that could even be considered puppy mill owners. Those aren’t very good odds.
Now that being said, I want to explain to you where my “sources” get their information. Most people who are licensed with the USDA to breed dogs, tend to have conditions that the regular Joe off of the street would find terrible. This is because they have been given permission to breed dogs and then sell them to pet stores. Now, breeders who sell puppies to pet stores must hold a USDA dealer license, and many states also require breeders to obtain a license to have a dog breeding kennel. However, the standards they must follow are little more than simply requiring food, water and shelter for the dogs. It is perfectly legal for a licensed breeder to:
Own hundreds, or even thousands of dogs
Keep all dogs in cages for years at a time
Breed dogs as often as possible, and to churn out as many puppies as possible
These standards set forth by the US government are not meant to make sure that any of these dogs lead a long, happy life; they are meant to impose the only bare minimum of care requirements. That being said, there are only a few inspectors in each state for the hundreds—sometimes thousands- licensed kennels. So you can find names and information about potential mill owners on the USDA website.
Now, because I have been accused of spreading propaganda, I would like to list off a list of things that send up RED FLAGS. Meaning, when you encounter these things, the breeder might more than likely be a puppy mill.
How can you tell the difference between a puppy mill and a “good breeder”? In order to make money, a puppy mill operates differently than a responsible, humane breeder.
The Mill Owner has several breeds of dogs for sale at the same time.
The Mill Owner offers to ship dogs to new owners, without meeting you first.
The Mill Owner will not allow customers to view their property or kennel. (OR they will, but you can’t see the living quarters of the adults, you are only allowed into the showroom to see the puppies)
The Mill Owner does not require an application or references from people buying a puppy.
The Mill Owner does not ask buyers to return the dog or contact them if at any point in the dog’s life if the owners cannot keep the dog.
The Mill Owner has a very large kennel. Owning fifty to several hundred dogs is typical.
The Mill Owner breeds females every time they come into heat.
The Mill Owner is USDA-licensed so they can sell puppies to pet stores. A USDA license is a red flag that a breeder is in the business to make money.
The Mill Owner does not screen his or her dogs for genetic defects
These are the facts. I am not trying to accuse every breeder of neglecting their dogs, and I am certainly not condemning every breeder in Winnebago to the puppy mill category. If you can honestly, 1000% say that you give each of your dogs the care and love that it needs, then awesome. But if you can’t, then maybe you need to reevaluate your situation. I firmly believe that there are good breeders out there. Breeders that care about each dog and puppy that puts its paws on their property… It is the other breeders that I worry about. Then ones that never let the paws touch the ground.
Again, i welcome any comments on this. Criticism or praise.
Many of my readers (my sister included) hate animal abuse, but they are more “cat people”… Just because all of my posts have been about dog abuse or puppy mills, doesn’t mean that cats don’t get a lot of the same treatment… Those are just the cases that get televised. Sorry, Bran, but cats are just as tortured as dogs in this state. This post is going to be about our feline friends who have made some very evil enemies. All of these cases are TRUE and they occurred in IOWA.
Sioux City, Iowa… Woodbury County… October 6, 2010…
A fun-loving kitty named Charlie was found with an arrow coming out of his head. THANKFULLY he is alive! He only had to spend one night at the vet clinic. The arrow wasn’t very sharp, so it ricocheted against the skull… Still, his owner, Chelsie Campbell will never forget the day she saw her loved family member… It is a shame, although Charlie is okay, no one has been able to find out who did it 🙁
Sioux City, Iowa… Woodbury County… May 21, 2010…
Stray kitty, Grace, was found by Office Jake Appel with a thee and a half-inch NAIL through her skull… MIRACULOUSLY, she lived! She was purring, happy, and walked right up to the officer. The nail was placed right between the cat’s eyes (which proves how purposeful this whole crime was), and was later safely removed by a vet…. No leads on who committed this terrible, terrible crime.
AMES, IOWA… STORY COUNTY… July 22, 2008
A cat had to be euthanized after he was found in his own driveway, paralyzed. This poor kitty suffered from severe spinal cord injury after being spun around carelessly by the tail. The kitty crawled all the way home, where he finally collapsed. His family had to put him to sleep because he was in too much pain… There are still no leads on this case.
Marshalltown, Iowa… Marshall County… April 30, 2008…
A stray cat was found shot to death by a BB gun. No arrests have been made and the case is STILL OPEN!
Little Sioux, Iowa… Harrison County… March 23, 2008…
A man was charged with animal torture after he murdered his roommate’s cat because he stepped in her fecal matter. The charges were later dropped.
Warren County, Iowa… Sept/Oct 2011
Three teens admitted to taking out their rifle and shooting what they “thought” was a feral cat. This cat turned out to belong to the family that lived next door and these boys had been in the house over 100 times. Upon realizing it was the neighbors cat, they freaked and dumped it on a dirt road (while it was still alive and fighting for its life). How did they get caught? They were bragging the next day at school and the cat belonged to a classmate. Needless to say charges were filed. If there can be any happy ending to this, I would say it is that the cat, Chester, found his way home a week later. Meowing at the back door and still suffering from the 3 gunshot wounds, the family rushed the cat to the vet and he should make it! The charges are still pending, but that poor kitty will never be the same 🙁
These cases are all so sad to read about… My heart literally hurts for these animals. No one deserves to go through life thinking that they aren’t loved. The point of this post is to show everyone that we are all in this fight together. Dogs or cats… Men or women… We need to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Those animals that make our lives better, more whole.
Just remember, Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter!
This blog is, obviously, just my opinion… But I am going to add a link to what I FIRMLY believe is a dog breeder that falls under the puppy mill category. If I receive flack for pointing fingers, then so be it. But again, you are reading my blog….
Yep… As you can see, you can buy a puppy like you would buy a pair of jeans… or a book. .. or a freaking lamp from IKEA… This is horrendous! This “Breeder” is from Altoona, Iowa… (I am trying SO VERY hard not to write his name down and just bash him…) But I do feel the need to educate as many people as I can.
I hope that you can all see why this is wrong. This “family man” doesn’t even care who his puppies go to. He accepts VISA or a Walmart Money-gram. He will ship these puppies anywhere, for the right price. I called the number, acting as though I were interested in buying a puppy. I wanted to travel the short 40 minutes to see a few, but he wouldn’t let me. He insisted that we meet somewhere halfway, because he didn’t want me to make the whole trip… RED FLAG ANYONE?! I can’t say it enough… These people are just terrible… I knew that people were money hungry, but spitting out puppies like a chicken spits out eggs? Really…. And that is how these dogs are treated… Kept in thin wire cages like a couple of hens…. Bred and then put back until they give birth…. Rinse… and Repeat…
I cannot stress this enough… ADOPT… ADOPT… ADOPT… Don’t give these breeders another way to make money. I know that the puppies in the window are so cute, trust me… But their parents are suffering so these people can make a quick buck. In what world is a tiny dog worth $600? Don’t get me wrong, I would pay as many vet bills as necessary to keep my babies alive and healthy! But why put a price like that on a dog just to simply own them? Because they are “purebred”? That makes no sense… I know many respectable breeders who truly love their dogs, and care about where their pups go. Their prices are low and they check on them from time to time… But shipping them because someone wanted to fork over money via mastercard? This man is seriously demented… And seeing how he treated me on the phone, he knows that what he is doing is wrong.
This is Minnie… She is listed on his site… Are those the eyes of a happy puppy? Or simply a puppy wondering why the human actually picked her up? You can always tell that the puppy isn’t in a healthy home when the pictures of said puppy have a weird blanket-type background… And you never see pictures of the litter together… Just one by one…
I had a man email me to tell me that I was spreading propaganda and that I was uneducated. I couldn’t help but laugh… I may not be the most knowledgable person on this topic, but I am no idiot… And this breeder is a puppy mill… through and through… Please help me stop this! Email me… Comment on this… Share the link on facebook… DO something…
There are so many people in Iowa that simply want the best for our pets! We want harsher punishments for when they are abused, we want mills to stop making puppies daily, and we want the dogs in the shelters to get adopted so they can know what a loving family is! I don’t think that these “wants” are out of the question. I feel like every living being deserves to be fed, to be healthy, and to be loved.
“I don’t believe in killing whatever the reason!” John Lennon
That is why I started “Bailing out Benji”. This Blog is just trying to gain awareness for the vastly growing problem in Iowa. That problem is animal abuse, pet overpopulation and puppy mills. In the first two months we have reached over 2000 people and gained their support! Who knows what will happen in the future! All I know is that we are working so hard to make this a better place for our pets. If you are reading this, and you have any questions, please either comment on this blog or email me at email@example.com. I will reply to you very promptly! It is so very important that we education as thoroughly as possible! Please help us to reach the rest of Iowa. Together we can educate the state on animal abuse!
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” John Lennon
If you want to help… Please let me know! I have many small projects that I am working on, and I would love to get more help with them! For example, I am starting a letter writing campaign to a local pet store that sells puppies (that come from a known puppy mill)! That is such an easy way to help! Email me or comment for more information on the subject!
Just remember, we are the voice for the voiceless… Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter.
From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’sjust a dog,” or “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.”
They don’t understand the distance travelled, the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a dog.”
Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.”
Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted.
Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by
“just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog“ gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”
“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
“Just a dog“ brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of “just a dog“ I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that its’ not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man” or “just a woman.”
So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,” just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”
My babies… Ellie on the left… Zeppelin on the right…
When I read this poem, I couldn’t help but think about all of our work trying to help the pets of Iowa… I know that I, for one, have heard so many insults through this… I have been referred to as a “crazy PETA lady” and have been told that I am not educated enough to know what I am trying to change… I have even been told that I am trying to push an agenda that I know nothing about… To me, none of this rings true. I am simply a pet owner, and an animal lover… I just want everyone to see that our pets aren’t “just animals”. They deserve to be protected like everyone else.
With “Bailing out Benji”, we are just trying to educate as many people as possible… So if you are one of those people that don’t see your pet as “just an animal”, then you should definitely be a supporter of our cause… Because we need to have more people like you on our side!
Pet overpopulation is a big problem in this country. The simple truth is there are too many homeless dogs (and cats) and not enough FOREVER homes. Having our pets altered(fixed) is a solid and effective defense. There are very few no-kill shelters in America, so many dogs are euthanized on a daily basis.
Below are a few of the grisly statistics compiled by national publications and animal rights organizations.
It costs U.S. taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round-up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. (USA Today)
Over 56% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed, based on reports from over 1,055 facilities across America. (National Counsel on Pet Population Study)
An estimated 5 million cats and dogs are killed in shelters each year. That’s one about every six and one half seconds. (The Humane Society of the United States) Millions more are abandoned, only to suffer from illness or injury before dying. (Doris Day Animal League)
In six years one unspayed female and her offspring, can reproduce 67,000 dogs (Spay USA)
The perceived high cost of altering is not the problem, but the lack of education on its benefits. On average it costs approximately $100 to capture, house, feed and eventually kill a homeless animal – a cost that ultimately comes out of our pocket. Low cost spay/neuter services are far below that amount. (Doris Day Animal League)
The cost of having a pregnant female can be much higher than the cost of spaying
Seven dogs & cats are born every day for each person born in the U.S. Of those, only 1 in 5 puppies and kittens say in their original home for their natural lifetime. The remaining 4 are abandoned to the streets or end up at a shelter (The Humane Society of the United States)
Each day 10,000 humans are born in the U.S. and each day 70,000 puppies and kittens are born. As long as these birth rates exist, there will never be enough homes for all the animals (Spay USA)
The public acquires only 14% of its pets from shelters; 48% get their pets as strays, from friends, from animal rescuers, 38% get their pets from breeders or pet stores (The Humane Society of the United States)
In a study of relinquishment of cats and dogs in 12 U.S. animal shelters, 30% of the surrendered dogs were purebreds. The same study indicated that 55% of the surrendered dogs and 47% of the surrendered cats were unaltered. (Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science)
The Humane Society of the United States provided these statistics:
Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year: 8–10 million (HSUS estimate)
Number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year: 4–5 million (HSUS estimate)
Number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year: 3–5 million (HSUS estimate)
Number of cats and dogs reclaimed by owners from shelters each year: Between 600,000 and 750,000—15–30% of dogs and 2–5% of cats entering shelters (HSUS estimate)
Number of animal shelters in the United States: Between 4,000 and 6,000 (HSUS estimate)
Percentage of dogs in shelters who are purebred: 25% (HSUS estimate)
Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2
Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6–10
Only when we are aware of the problem, can we truly be a part of the solution!
The point is… If you love your pet, get him or her altered. There are enough puppies in this world that need loving and FUR-EVER homes.
Because this is my first post, I must first ask everyone for forgiveness. I am definitely really new to this blogging thing, but I felt like I had to use the voice that I have to speak for those who are voiceless… Our Pets
The goal of my blog is to inform, educate, and update the public on the horrors that are going on in our own backyard, while gaining more for this very important issue.
As for my “cause”: I have recently realized that Iowa is within the bottom 6th in the US when it comes to animal cruelty laws. IOWA! I was so shocked upon hearing this; the state that prides itself in being fair, hard working, and being “something we can be proud of.” But when I look at how well our citizens treat our animals, should we really be holding our heads so high? Our pets are not able to speak for themselves, and if we’re not willing to speak up and DEMAND more of each other, who will?
Back in April many people listened and/or read in disgust of the lady in Urbandale who had ten dogs in a motel room.This is the story that finally pushed me over the edge and forced me to start Bailing out Benji…. This lady had 2 female, adult dogs, as well as 8 puppies in which she starved and neglected to the point of the dogs eating cigarette butts! We listen to this in disgust, and if you’re like me, you could even bring yourself to wish harm on this woman, or some type of retribution for her cruelty. Instead, the lady gets off on one count of animal neglect, which under Iowa law is a $65 fine, and 30 days in jail. These are 10 dogs that may never be able to trust humans to take care of them again, and 10 lives that were carelessly neglected. This lady, whose only excuse was she was “down on her luck,” has the audacity to say in the end she wants her dogs back!! Sadly, she is only one case of a growing trend in mistreatment of our pets.
I also learned that Iowa is the SECOND WORST state when it comes to puppy mills. For those of you who aren’t sure what puppy mills are: they are commercialized breeders who are USDA licensed (which means they can breed as many dogs as they want and sell to pet stores). They are referred to as mills because they always have 20 dogs on their property that they breed and can constantly be selling puppies at any given time. For the most part, here in Iowa, the breeders have upwards of 100 dogs on their property (not including the puppies) and there is one notorious mill owner who has over 1000 dogs that he is constantly breeding. These breeders breed their females every heat cycle and keep all of the dogs in small, wire cages with inadequate shelter. And don’t even get me started on the food/water that they are given. The whole puppy mill industry is atrocious! This is why Iowans need to take a stand on commercialized breeding!
Fortunately, Iowa does have some great citizens who often feel the same way as I do. Upon doing all of my research, I have met so many kindred spirits along the way, and, for that I am thankful!