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Humane Society rescues more than 100 dogs and cats

Vet student Carissa Cruz (left) and Veterinarian Julie Brinker examine one of the puppies that had just been brought in on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, at the Humane Society of Missouri. More than 100 dogs and cats were rescued on Wednesday from Bates County in western Missouri. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

By Susan B. Pickering

Are you proud to be a Missourian? Are you proud to live in the state with the honor of being the number one puppy mill state? Is this because we put no value on life, be it another person, child or animal.

Since most everyone knows I am a dog lover, I get many e-mails and posts concerning animals, especially dogs.

The stories break my heart. Just a couple of days ago, I received the story of a pit bull who was euthanized as she was giving birth to her pups. As she died, she was trying to clean her babies — I couldn’t read the entire article — I still can’t.

The posts keep coming:

• The pup bound with duct tape — all four legs and mouth taped and thrown down a ravine.

• Dogs drug behind cars and trucks and thrown out of car windows

• Dogs full of BBs and paint balls as they are used for target practice.

• Dogs buried up to their necks and left to die.

• Dogs found frozen to the ground after being left out in freezing weather.

• Dogs rescued that are no longer recognizable as dogs.

• Dogs kept in cages having litter after litter of puppies with their nipples bleeding and full of cancer.

• Dogs stolen and used as bait for dog fighting.

I could go on and on. What kind of person would do such things to an animal that just wants food, water, a warm place to sleep and maybe a pat on the head occasionally.

Then there is the special kind of person who works tirelessly to rescue and heal these sweet dogs.

I could not do it — it would tear me into pieces. These rescuers are the true heroes.

I do what I can — I give money and my dog is a rescue who was kept in a cage for four years having puppies, and now she is a bit on the crazy side.

According to The Puppy Mill Project, the standards for breeders are way too lax. The Animal Welfare Act  for breeders is overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture! Are dogs agriculture now? The USDA does not have the manpower to inspect these puppy mills. Anyway, the law will accept such atrocities as: no human interaction, cages with wire or mesh bottoms stacked on top of each other, breeding allowed every breeding cycle without ever being out of their cages, which only are required to be six inches larger than the dog. There are more — many more — and with inspections “maybe” every two to three years, what can we expect?

Why don’t we have more people inspecting the breeders? There aren’t enough employees who work for the agricultural department to inspect kennels and breeders more than maybe once a year?

Do we think if we buy a dog from a pet store, then it is ok — not a puppy mill dog. Where do you think they get the dogs? They are kept in cages at the store, and most of them drugged to keep them quiet.

Then there are the designer dogs — cute little pugapoos, labradoodles, cockapoos, schnoodles and Cavachons. Seems to me, they are the same thing we see every day — “Mutts.”

Most of the purebreds are inbred and start to have all kinds of problems like hip dysplasia, cancer, eye and heart disease and more.

First of all, we need our local, state and federal representatives to wake up and pass some laws protecting dogs and other animals who have no voice. Go online and see how your representatives have voted on issues concerning dogs, puppy mills and breeders. Another great help would be a push to get pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.

I suggest we form a panel of veterinarians to oversee the breeders and puppy mills and hire veterinary students and rescue workers to police these horrible places. It won’t help to stop buying rescue dogs — there are plenty more to take their places.

Missouri is the No. 1 state in the country for puppy mills. Wow, doesn’t that make us proud!

Susan B. Pickering is a retired high school teacher.