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Puppy Mills: A Side of the Amish that You Never Knew

It is widely known that the Amish and Mennonite communities of Lancaster PA, Holmes County, Ohio and Shipshewana, Indiana are home to thousands of imprisoned breeding dogs, but the truth is many Amish and Mennonite communities have dog farms littered within them. Some of the dog farmers use puppies to supplement their income while others are full-time dog breeders or puppy mills. These farms can have anywhere from 10 to 1,000 + breeding dogs stuffed in barns, stacked in cages living in livestock like conditions. The dogs are nothing more than puppy producing money makers.

Below is a gallery of photos of assorted Amish puppy farms.

Next, are videos showing the Amish involvement in the industry as well as their participation at dog auctions:

The below is a well-known Indiana Amish dog farmer explaining how to run a puppy mill. Warning: This can be upsetting.

And finally, an article from Cleveland Scene. Below is an excerpt (read the whole article).

by Kyle Swenson

The Buckeye Dog Auction is held in a livestock barn off Route 557 in Baltic, an Amish hamlet in eastern Holmes County. Early one Saturday morning in May, the dirt parking lot is already jammed with cars and buggies well before the 10 a.m. kickoff.

As a sky the color of wet pavement starts yielding rain, Amish teens sell fresh produce from a stand near the barn while a pair of bulky sheriff’s deputies march the perimeter, eyeing incoming vehicles. Indoors, the turnout is nearly 80 percent Amish. Walls throughout the building are plastered with signs prohibiting cell phones and cameras, though most in attendance wouldn’t own them anyway. Before the start, potential buyers are free to examine the products in adjacent semi trailers. Caged puppies are stacked floor to ceiling throughout the humid tunnels, literal wailing walls of barking animals.

The auction takes place in a large room with a raised gallery that descends to the floor. There, the animals are displayed one at a time or in small groups. It all has the feel of a high school sporting event: Amish men and women socialize in groups; a concession stand peddles popcorn and cans of soda. In the seats, boys and men closely follow the sales, marking each final price in their program as if scoring a baseball game. When it’s a new dog’s turn, each one is given a quick once-over by an onsite vet; a young boy then holds the twitching puppy on a table while the auctioneer calls the action in his buzz-saw carnival bark.

In many ways, the auction is the heartbeat of the entire backyard breeding world. Ohio is the only state east of the Mississippi River that allows dogs to be sold at auction, so the events draw breeders and buyers from across the Midwest and Eastern seaboard. At the May gathering, local puppies were sold alongside packs from North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and West Virginia.

Conceptually, the idea of a livestock-style auction for dogs is a logical extension of the breeding business. Breeders sell the majority of their animals to brokers, middlemen who buy in bulk and then sell off the pups to individual buyers or pet stores. The auction centralizes the transaction, allowing for smoother business. The atmosphere of onsite competitive bidding also keeps the sale prices high: At the May auction, most puppies went for around $350, although intense bidding for some choice breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers or Maltese, drove up a few tickets to more than $600.

Besides taking issue with the kennels, advocates question the quality of the dogs on sale. According to Mary O’Connor-Shaver, the woman behind a movement to ban the auctions with a ballot initiative, dogs raised in mills and sold at the auction are not raised to breed standards.

“What we have found is that many of these dogs are unhealthy, and they’re not screened for genetic diseases,” she says. “Sometimes they don’t even look like the breed.”

Others accuse the auction of hosting animals with bigger problems than weak genes. Last October, Pennsylvania-based dog advocate Bill Smith and members of his group, Main Line Animal Rescue, traveled to Holmes County for an auction. The team was on the trail of Pennsylvania breeders who were selling animals in Ohio after their home state passed a round of reforms that put a leash on improper practices. They purchased 12 dogs. Once they were home, a vet examined each one and found some with serious medical problems, including infections. The local SPCA built a case, and eventually six breeders were charged with animal cruelty. Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, who Smith says has a poor track record of prosecuting crimes related to animals, later dropped the charges. Now the breeders are suing Smith and his group for defamation; local animal activists have launched a campaign to raised awareness about Stedman’s attitude toward animal crimes.

Put an end to the Amish Puppy Mills.  Do not support Amish tourism or products in stores. Although not all Amish are supportive of the activities of some, they are complacent and accepting of outrageous greed.

Learn more: http://www.banohiodogauctions.com

 
 
 
 
 

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