Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Pets
  3. General Pets

Puppy Mill experiences first hand

See also

There has been an amazing amount of traffic on my column the past few days regarding Prop B and the state of puppy mills/commercial breeders in the State of Missouri.

To those of you who say I don't know what I am talking about, I am lying and I don't have my facts straight, I say this to you: I HAVE BEEN TO PUPPY MILLS. I HAVE SEEN THEM FIRST HAND.

July 2009 we went to rescue victims of a puppy mill just west of Harrisonville. The owner's girlfriend had called an animal welfare friend of ours and said "my boyfriend is going to start shooting the dogs. He can't afford to feed the big ones and the small ones won't breed anymore. He said he is going to shoot them on Saturday."

We went to that puppy mill. Without a word, without a grimmace and without telling this man what we thought about him, we took more than TEN TRUCKLOADS of dogs from him. The small dogs, as his girlfriend said, woudn't breed anymore because their bodies had nearly fallen apart from being bred too many times.

My friend Melissa and I watched in horror as this man dragged mastiffs - normally 150+ pounds - who were terrified and skin-and-bones (not one weighed over 70 lbs). The mastiffs were pancake dogs - a termed used by the animal community when a dog is so terrified he hits the ground, like a pancake. These dogs had NEVER seen sunlight. NEVER stepped on grass. Many of the male dogs' back legs had atrophied because they'd never been used. They were kept in cages so tiny they couldn't stand up. They were only needed to impregnate the females so why give them a good sized crate?

This is a small tidbit of what I've seen. So, when you get all hysterical that I am lying, not doing my research and don't know what I'm talking about, I ask you:

Have you seen the look in a dog's eyes when he's given up hope? Have you seen what a dog looks like after living EIGHT YEARS in a wire crate with infections on her paws from standing in her own urine and feces?

I'm co-writing a column with Melissa describing our days at that puppy please, stay tuned for more factual accounts of what some Missouri commercial breeders really are.


  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    For every bad breeder, there are hundreds of good ones. Your bad experience made an impression on you, of course, but that one breeder is in no way typical of today's state-licensed breeder. One horrible breeder who doesn't take care of his dogs is relative only to that one incident. You cannot draw a parallel to other dog breeders.
    It is the same thing as the shelter in KC that left the dogs in tiny cages for days because they didn't have anyone to walk them. I hear that it was such a nasty mess, that the dogs were 'rescued' by another shelter. Does that make most shelters cruel and abusive? Of course not! Same thing with breeders. Everyone is an individual running an independent business. Just because one is bad, has nothing to do with the other ones.

  • Profile picture of shelleyp
    shelleyp 3 years ago

    I don't about Sarah, but I've read most of the USDA inspection reports for breeders in this state, and we have a significant number of very bad breeders. Breeders still licensed because of gaps in existing laws.

    Even dogs at breeders in compliance don't have a good life. They can be kept in wire cages 6 inches longer than they are. They can be kept outdoors in these cold temperatures with only a pastic "dogloo" and a little bit of straw. They never have to be seen by a vet, even if hurt or sick.

    Many are bred so much they develop tumors and other problems.

    Dogs only have be given access to water every 8 hours, and if the water is frozen or brackish, well that's OK too.

    Many just give up, because they live lives in cages surrounded by hundreds of other dogs in cages, with little or no individual attention.

    This is all legal, but none of this is good.

    Too many people got into dog breeding not because they know dogs, or like dogs, but because it was an easy way to make a buck. Easier than hog farming.

  • Profile picture of Kathy Romo
    Kathy Romo 3 years ago

    It takes a lot of courage to get the word out about animal abuse and be such an honest writer. People don't want to acknowledge the truth because it is just too hard to handle. Congrats on all your efforts for making a good life for those 4-legged friends who can't fend for themselves!

  • Profile picture of Sarah Estlund
    Sarah Estlund 3 years ago

    Kathy, thank you for your support and for reading the article. Being open to my opinion is definitely not the "safe" team to play for. Thank you!

  • Profile picture of shelleyp
    shelleyp 3 years ago

    Thank you for writing this, and your companion piece. The state representatives need to be reminded of what they're overriding the will of the people for. I believe you should send links to every state representative who is sponsoring or co-sponsoring one of the anti-Prop B bills.

    I have seen that look you describe. I haven't participated in a rescue, but I have seen that look in videos of large scale commercial breeders, even ones that are considered "blue ribbon". I've see that look in dogs down at HSMO.

    Hopelessness. Absolutely despair and hopelessness. That we legalize such treatment of dogs...shame on our state reps. Shame on them.

  • Profile picture of shelleyp
    shelleyp 3 years ago

    Sorry, meant to say newly rescued dogs down at HSMO.

  • Profile picture of Sarah Estlund
    Sarah Estlund 3 years ago

    Shelly you're awesome. You work with HSMO? Which city?

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    Sarah, I read where Shelley said on another site that she is an athiest. Doesn't believe in God. Don't get corrupted by her evil heart. Be careful.

  • Profile picture of Sarah Estlund
    Sarah Estlund 3 years ago

    Laughing my butt off right now anonymous, are you serious?? Do you realize how that just made you sound? "Be careful. She is an atheist. Doesn't believe in God." Lol! I don't judge people because of their religious beliefs! I only judge people by their treament of God's creatures. My husband is an atheist. You are so ridiculous. You just discredited every other comment you ever made here.

  • Profile picture of shelleyp
    shelleyp 3 years ago

    Sorry, no I don't work at the HSMO. My roommate is a volunteer walker at the St. Louis HSMO.

  • Anonymous 3 years ago

    I guess you have more in common with Shelley that I thought. I did not realize that atheism went hand in hand with animal rights. I take back the few nice things I said. Yikes, you really ARE all nuts!

  • Profile picture of shelleyp
    shelleyp 3 years ago

    And extrapolating from your comment, do we assume that puppy mills and Christianity go hand in hand?



  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    5 Photos