Puppy Mills Breed Misery
Commercial Kennels
Rescue from Country Rose Puppy Mill in Ft Scott, Kansas

On May 17, 1997 two volunteers drove to Fort Scott, Kansas, and spent the day at the disbursement dog auction of the Country Rose, a commercial dog kennel. The sale bill advertised 218 dogs plus litters of puppies to be sold.

In a rural setting of grass, trees, and wildflowers a large crowd assembled, and the ugly scene of the day began. The dogs were dragged from their banks of tiny cages and displayed at the auctioneer's table. Obvious health problems and genetic defects were announced - missing teeth, skin disorders, hernias, blindness, tumors, infections, stiff arthritic legs, missing eyes, and a missing bottom jaw. It was all perfectly acceptable and dismissed as insignificant because the only thing that counted was how well the dogs could produce.

"Not a tooth in her head" bawled the auctioneer, "but that's not where she breeds." The auctioneer knew very well that a crowd had only one thing in mind - how much money they could possibly squeeze out of misery.

The bidding was fast and competitive with many big selling prices. Pitiful looking dogs sold as though they were first place show winners. Our volunteers were able to purchase the freedom of 18 dogs; two others were sold as pets; the remainder went to bidders who gave every appearance of being breeders very similar to the owners of the Country Rose.

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I am called Noah. I am a tiny, 8 year old Poodle. I lived all my life in a cage walking on wires. My food was gritty and partly sawdust. All of my teeth ached and my gums were very sore. I had itchy skin and I chewed on my feet all the time. Since I am afraid of people and I don't do what they say, I was hit in the face. The pain in my jaw was terrible.

When I came to the Shelter I was scared. I sat in the corner of my play pen and shook. Then I realized they meant it - I could come out and play with friends! I ran and ran! I was so happy.

My food is delicious, and the vet says my broken jaw has healed. My teeth have all been fixed (the few I have left). I take special pills for my skin, and I think that I'm really getting beautiful. Best of all this woman holds me. She scratches my ears and hugs me. Today I went for a ride with her in the car with my head out the window and my ears blowing in the breeze. I think she really loves me.

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I think they mean me when they say "Keifer." I get away from them every time although I can't really run. My joints are still stiff. I cringe, and they pick me up carefully and rub my back and say nice things.

I don't like people. They're mean. I was in pain for a long time. My legs hurt, and my wire cage was hard to stand up in. I itched all over. A lot of my hair fell out especially on my elbows and sides. And my mouth hurt so much. It was the worst. I've been fixed up now. I feel good and my legs work a lot better.

Today she gave me something she called a toy. I've never seen anything like it in all of my seven years. When I bit it, it squeaked. I right away told everyone else to stay away from it. It's mine and I'm going to play with it.

I really study her. I know she cares a lot about me. It's hard for me to believe anything good, but she gives me hope. I'm trying to give her some nice looks to say thank you.

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My name is Whitney. I was very scared the day all the people came to the place where I lived. My brother and I curled up together. In our short lives we had learned that no one would hold us or love us and we just wanted to hide. When a woman came and took me out of my tiny cage, I cried for my brother. But that woman took me home and now she's my mama. She promises to love me forever.

I never dreamed that life could be this wonderful. I run in the grass and let my ears fly. I had never run before and it is so much fun. I race across the yard after squirrels and birds along with my adopted brothers and sisters. They are all bigger than I am, but I can run almost and fast and bark almost as loud! I have some fun doing some naughty things, but mama says I never got to be a puppy so I can just be one now.

At night I lie on my mama's chest, and she strokes my head. Most of the time I see her crying as she looks down at me. She tells me how sorry she is for the terrible pain that I suffered when I gave birth to puppies when I was only six months old. She looks into my only eye and worries about those puppies because I have micropthalmia which is genetic. Then she tells me that she is so sorry that she couldn't save all the dogs at that place. She cries for my brother. I wish he could run in the grass too.


And then there was Meryl. Meryl was sold with AKC papers stating that she was a four year old lhasa. We knew right away that Meryl was in pain. She continuously rubbed her face on her blanket. Her mouth was lopsided from missing teeth and swollen gums. Her ears were packed with black muck. Meryl was the first to be hospitalized in an effort to give her some comfort. She returned to the Shelter with clean ears and only two teeth left on one side of her mouth. She seemed much more contented.

After weeks of antibiotics, Meryl was taken to be spayed. That was the last time we saw Meryl. She died during surgery due to severely deteriorated kidneys and generally advanced age. Our veterinarian said that she was a much older dog than was represented. She had cataracts, and all her internal organs were those of an old dog. She had ovarian cysts larger than any they had ever seen or could even imagine. Pregnancies and births would have caused her excruciating pain. She had many caesarean births, although the auctioneers repeatedly announced that there were no caesarean births at the Country Rose. Her uterus was so brittle that the vets were afraid to touch it for fear it would dissolve.

Meryl had three weeks of freedom. We were able to give her love and comfort and time to wander in the grass. It was not enough. Just when she had a chance in her whole tragic, pain-ridden life, she died. This we will not forget. In honor of Meryl our dedication and effort to end the mass production of dogs will be relentless.

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