Friday, March 5, 2010

34 - Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills; Carol Bradley






 (possible spoilers)

I knew this book would not be an easy read, but I just had to read it. Just 2 weeks ago a family member rescued a four year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, like Gracie, from a Georgia puppy mill. This dog is the sweetest little lap dog ever, but everything is foreign to him: his bed, toys, leash, grass, the sound of cars, birds -- all of these things are new to a puppy mill dog.

Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills, is not all about one dog (later named Gracie). It is a story about a raid on one particular puppy mill - Mike Mar Kennels in Oxford, PA. It is also a wake up call to law enforcement, state and federal agencies about the nationwide problem of often unregulated breeding facilities or puppy mills, and the need for stricter laws and the enforcement of these laws as well.

In the case of Mike-Mar Kennels, owner Mike Wolf, back in the 1960's raised top "show dogs", and in the 1970's began breeding dogs. Sadly his interest grew to thoughts of profit instead of the humane treatment of the dogs in his care. Beginning in 2000, evidence began to mount against Wolf and the kennel. He was cited for failure to maintain the kennel in a sanitary and humane manner and paid a fine of (a laughable) $87.50. In 2004 the AKC stepped in and revoked his kennel and AKC license. But then both the State of PA and the AKC lost track of him and his operations. Finally, in February of 2006, following a tip, the SPCA prepared intervene and to seize what was believed to be some 136 dogs from this facility.

What the team found was worst than expected. The conditions were beyond deplorable. (I'll spare you the details). Nearly all of the dogs had some health issue, and these dogs had most likely never left their cages. All these dogs were simply a number--never a name. Some 30 people took part in the rescue, and a total of 327 dogs, 3 cats and 3 parrots were rescued. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), this case was rated as a 100.

The public was outraged and some 3,000 animal lovers flooded the shelters with calls of concern and questions about adoption. The owner and associates were put on trial, jailed and/or fined and banned from owning animals. For the rescued dogs, at least for a while, it was not easy going: nearly every puppy mill survivor refused to walk on a leash, some avoided human contact. This was especially true for Dog 132, later adopted by Linda Jackson and her family and named Gracie.

MY THOUGHTS: Gracie was one of the lucky dogs, but this story has just a little to do with Gracie, and her new life. Lucky Gracie, but what about all of the puppy mill dogs that never get to live their life outside of a wire cage? This book made me shed a tear or two, but it is an important story which hopefully will help to raise public awareness to get more people involved in petitioning to change the laws on large scale dog breeding operations. The author, Carol Bradley is a former newspaper reporter, who has written many publications on animal welfare, animal hoarding and animal cruelty. This is not an easy book to read, but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (4.5/5 stars)

(Review Copy received through the Amazon Vine program)

17 comments:

  1. I'm sure this was difficult to read. When Oprah did her special on puppy mills, I could hardly stand to watch it.

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  2. I don't think I could handle reading this ... and I'm not even the world's biggest dog person. I just don't get how people can do this to animals.

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  3. I don't think I could read this book. It sickens me to hear about what people do to animals. It's really sad.

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  4. thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩ ........................................

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  5. My heart goes out to all the puppy mill dogs. Gracie is one lucky puppy!

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  6. My heart go out to all the puppy mill dogs. Thanks for the review. Gracie is one lucky dog...

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  7. Great review, this is a new title for me.

    I am a new follower from the book blog hop. Love your blog!

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  8. I am writing this comment as two of my three yellow labs have their heads in my lap wanting to be petted.

    Just reading this review makes me wish I could live in the country with lots and lots of room and provide loving homes for all those dogs who have been so terribly abused.

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  9. Molly, me too.....I wish I had enough $$ to buy a large farm and foster abused animals. MY DREAM.

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  10. This had to be a heartbreaker. The whole puppy mill thing is completely heartbreaking to me.

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  11. thanks for this-it is important for people to realize what puppy mills are and where pet stores often times get their animals from. It is rather disgusting what people do for a profit.

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  12. This sounds like a really emotional and challenging book. It breaks my heart that so many animals are mistreated. Kudos to you and Carol Bradley for shedding light on this subject.

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  13. I imagine this was very hard to read, but an important story. It amazes me how cruel people can be, and puppy mills are deplorable. Just reading your review brought a tear to my eye, and I am thankful that these animals were rescued, and people opened their hearts to these poor animals that extra love and a lot of TLC!

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  14. I watched some sort of documentary on this and it broke my heart when some of the dogs were released and wouldn't walk on the grass because they didn't know what it was and also because they couldn't walk. Much like a child that suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, these dogs suffer from lack of connection with humans, animals, and the outside world. What a sad story but maybe one that will change the laws on these puppy mills!

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  15. This sounds like such a sad story. I am a huge animal lover, so I'm sure it would be a difficult read for me, but I do think it would be worthwhile. Great review on what I am sure was a very difficult book.

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  16. This book would break my heart for sure and I will only be able to read it at the right time. I'm afraid it would send me off to adopt a bunch of dogs and I just can't manage more than the 1 I have already!

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  17. I agree, this is very important to read, though I'm sure I'll cry all the way through. I didn't realize this problem existed here in America. I only heard the more well-meaning rules of animal care and welfare. This is new to me (I've been here in the US less than 2 years only). I'll be adding it to my list!

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