Last Sunday, twenty-four dogs rescued from large-scale breeding facilities all over the Midwest, arrived at a cold and empty Edina parking lot as the sun was beginning to set. They were met by volunteers from five area dog rescue organizations, who will give them foster care and get them ready for adoption. The deliveries happen twice a month, part of Best Friends Animal Society’s national puppy mill initiative.
Most of the dogs were used as breeding stock at legal large-scale puppy mills and are no longer useful to the breeder. Puppy mills provide some of the millions of dogs sold at pet stores and online every year. Most breeding dogs spent their lives in wire cages with little human contact. Only a few have names.
“People don’t know how bad these puppy mills are,” said Arianna Pittman, the Society’s Puppy Mill Initiatives Coordinator in the Twin Cities. Volunteers take the dogs for what is usually their first veterinary check and then work with the new arrivals to socialize them. The dogs tend to have dental problems and some have bad knees or matted hair. “Some of these problems come from bad breeding. Some come from being kept in wire cages,” she said. “These breeders just don’t care.”
Once the dogs are socialized and cleared medically, they are put up for adoption. “I’m always surprised,” Pittman said, “how even the shyest dog will respond to a loving human touch.”
Time until the dogs are ready for adoption varies from as little as two days to several months. Information on adopting available dogs can be found at All Dog Rescue, Twin Cities Pet Rescue, Underdog Rescue, Luv on a Leash and Secondhand Hounds.
Puppy Mill Initiative Coordinator Arianna Pittman meets a van filled with dogs needing new homes.
The first of the dogs is unloaded.
Two daschunds peer out of their crates.
Two dogs await their foster homes
A Jack Russell Terrier watches the activity
Volunteer Kate Benvenuti and a foster dog
Marilyn Loden’s rescue is in need of grooming
Most of the dogs were either toy breeds or very small.
Susel Faunillan cuddles an arrival