Originally created 08/18/99

Warns of `puppy mills' in Augusta



This letter is a warning to well-meaning folks who advertise small pure-bred dogs to be sold or find these dogs and run an ad. Augusta has "puppy mills." These dog breeders look for someone to sell them a Maltese, poodle, Shih Tzu, or other small breeds that can fit into a cage. Often these dog breeders pose as handicapped or elderly people who want a little dog to bark when the phone rings.

They will try to talk you into reducing the price or giving them the dog. They will even try to claim a found poodle or maltese. Once they get them, the little dog is neglected and mistreated, confined to a small cage, rarely fed, and bred constantly. The pups are then sold for inflated prices and the circle keeps going. Often the mother dog is sick and malnourished and exists only to feed these people's greed for money. You will even see ads asking for someone to give an elderly person a purebred small dog or to sell one for a reasonable price.

Please, if you love animals, be wary of these people. Find out their real name, address, vet, and references. I was given a mistreated mother poodle (formerly owned by a puppy mill operator). Missy was blind from malnutrition and had lost four litters of puppies -- that's why the puppy mill breeder gave her up. She could not make any money off this precious poodle.

So please, when you hear a sweet, cultured voice over the phone claiming the Shih Tzu or Pomeranian you just found, make sure it's really the owner or the right kind of person to own the pup. You will have just saved a beautiful creature from a horrible fate. The only agency that can shut puppy mill operators down is the Department of Agriculture in Atlanta and agents have to catch the operators in the act. Your vigilance and "gut feelings" can also hamper their evil trade. ...

B. Butler, Augusta