Amishman Plans Dog Business; Activists Fear Puppy Mill

An Amishman in Custer County, Colorado is seeking a permit to build a commercial dog breeding facility. Animal welfare activists are speaking out against the idea, fearing the planned business to be a “puppy mill“.

Amish have received a lot of bad press for some egregious cases involving members of Amish churches. This has helped foster a perception that the Amish do not treat their animals well – at best raising dogs like livestock, at worst keeping them in deplorable conditions and killing unwanted animals.

Do all Amish treat their dogs poorly? No, but the sad fact that some have done so has attached a stigma to Amish dog breeders. And there have been enough cases that it’s no surprise the reputation of all Amish has suffered as a result.

This is likely on the minds of those speaking out against a planned breeding operation in Colorado. Amishman Martin Troyer would like to open a kennel housing about 30 dogs.

Martin Troyer
Martin Troyer speaks at a zoning meeting

“My biggest concern is the welfare of the dogs,” said a local dog rescue worker. “Any kind of breeding at this level, the breeder is just looking at it to make money.”

Troyer seems to understand the concerns. “I think the people here who are writing these articles would be insurance that these animals would never be neglected. We would be a puppy business…People could come in and inspect the puppies.”

Troyer says he has consulted with breeders in Ohio on how to start the business. I wonder if they discussed public relations as well.

I don’t know what percentage of Amish breeders vs. English breeders would qualify as “puppy millers”. But I do know that when an Amish person makes news for something, all things considered, it travels further and wider than if the person were English.

This is true for both the good (think of Nickel Mines forgiveness or heartwarming “Amish aid” stories), and the bad.

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    1. Robin Miller

      Activists Fear Puppy Mill

      Amish or not … these large scale puppy factories need to stop. So many unwanted dogs, cats who suffer and die in shelters or at the hands of evildoers who abuse them. I agree; the Amish have gotten a bad reputation for running these facilities and so unfair to make it seem like they are the only ones operating “puppy mills” when in fact they are in the minority. Anyone who wants a loving companion, be it breed-specific or a “Heinz 57,” there are rescues in any part of the country who will work with you and match you up with the perfect furbaby. All four of our pugs have been rescues, starting 20 years ago when we adopted our first from the local SPCA; the other 3 from pug rescue. The only way puppy mills will cease is for people to stop buying either directly or from those mall pet shops. Yes, that’s where they get those overpriced pups from … puppy mills. Missouri is notorious for these places. I love animals and I also love and admire the Amish. I’m praying that this man will back down and find another business. Stay strong Colorado …

    2. Derek Stratelak

      30 Dogs!

      So, that likely means 8-10 males and the rest female. With that many dogs, an average of 2 to 3 coming into heat each month and each producing 8-12 pups, it’s a puppy mill. He’ll be producing 20 to 30 pups a month with an income of $8 to $15 thousands each month. You just can’t give that much loving attention to that many puppies, I don’t care who you are or how “good” your intentions are.

      1. What is a puppy mill after all?

        It sounds like he has good intentions and wants to be transparent, but then I wonder how much he knows about the business if his preparation has primarily consisted of consulting with other breeders, which is what it sounds like by the article. It doesn’t sound like he has spent time learning by experience, like I’ve observed Amish people often do before going into a business.

        I also still haven’t heard a good definition of what a puppy mill is. Obviously, the ones with inhumane conditions, with unhealthy dogs living in filth would fit most people’s definitions of a puppy mill. But does having too many dogs but otherwise clean and physically healthy conditions make an operation a puppy mill? If so, what is an acceptable ratio of dogs-to-humans? How often should animals be bred?

        I’m not trying to instigate anything here, I am honestly wondering if there is any consensus among people with expertise in raising these animals. The article this post cites begins with the question: “Is it a commercial dog breeding facility or a puppy mill?” Where is the cutoff between the two?

        Puppy mill is obviously a loaded term, and one I’ve heard used so much but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone lay out an objective definition of what one is. It seems like it would be helpful for all involved if an objective authority laid out guidelines for this with all the various parameters described.

        1. Matt from CT

          Puppy mills treat dogs as livestock.

          That doesn’t mean inhumane necessarily — but they’re not doing the best, reasonable job at raising animals meant to be human companions, living in homes and interacting continously with people.

          That’s were experienced breeders, doing a litter every year or two, can take the time to raise the pups correctly and match them well to buyers.

          The methods used in the mills and in puppy stores greatly increase the chances of selling puppies not well adjusted to live with people.

          We also have to realize not all dogs are companion animals — regulations and “best practices” aimed at the family pet sometimes come into conflict with working livestock guardian dogs, for instance. Follow the normal route of raising a livestock guard dog as you would a pet dog, you end up with a dog bonded to humans and not to the sheep — and you get regulators whining he doesn’t have a dog house that moves with the flock.

        2. Carol Holstein

          In reply to your comment "Guidelines for breeders?"

          I do agree with you. What in fact is the differences between Puppy Mills and Commercial Breeders? We had been down in Berlin at Heini’s Cheese Chalet in 1992. Outside were Amish children with precious little Shelties in a wagon that were for sale. I fell in love with the puppies, but told my husband we did not need another dog, as we already had one. The next week, we went back down to see if we could find the kids, but they were not there. We drove north a short ways on Rt 62. We came across a home with a sign that said, “Shelties for sale”. It was not where the children lived. My first Shetland Sheepdog came from an older Amish man in Berlin. I was shown the litter of Shelties, and when we picked ours out, we were taken into his beautifully upkept home. Our “Bonnie Wee Lassie”, AKA Bonnie went home with us that day in the car. I did not see any evidence of other dogs on the property, but I have since heard that many who run the puppy mills, both Amish and English, have the other puppies hidden way back on the property, or on other properties. A couple of years later, I had my first experience with a rescue. I was told about the puppy mills, and how some of the weaker dogs with physical disabilities come from the mills, and also from inexperienced” backyard breeders” who do not learn how to breed healthy puppies who are socialized before they are weaned. Instead, they breed them may breed the by interbreeding down a generational line, breeding dogs with genetic conditions that can be passed down, breeding two dogs of certain color lines that can cause a dog to be born blind or deaf, Breeding a female too many times or too soon after having a litter, among other situations not good for breeding healthy dogs. Needless to say, we have gotten our last four Shetland Sheepdogs through a Sheltie Rescue. I do wish rules could be tightened, as there are way too many dogs being euthanized because people are out to make money at their expense. And I do feel that it is not just the breeders fault, but also the demand because of people looking for that cute little puppy they find in the cages in the pets stores. Sadly, so many of them are sickly, and die while still in the stores, or not long after they go home with their new owner.

          1. Amish Girl-Rebecca

            I’ve never heard of hiding puppies at the back of the property or on another property.

            1. Carol Holstein

              For Amish Rebecca

              Rebecca, I cannot confirm this myself about the puppy mills being run at the back of property or other farms. But I was told by a neighbor who is heavily involved in rescue that usually a few puppies will be shown, while there are many more that are kept far from view of people either coming to look at the puppies or from rescue groups checking things out. This comment from her was specifically concerning Holmes County, OH and the Sugarcreek area. To be honest with you, I really defend the Amish to her. I tell her that even if some are involved with puppy mills, the majority are not. My husband and I are regulars down in those areas, in fact, spending a week down there very soon. Last year, or the year before, there was a business down there that had a puppy nursery in it. Puppies were for sale, and they had one of the young Amish women sitting in a rocking chair with puppies in her arms. It was really cute, but I think they do not have that now. I am sure they may have gotten some pressure over it. The puppies that I saw did seem healthy, but I am not sure where they came from.

    3. lincolnlady1121

      I agree with Robin. There are so many dogs and cats roaming the streets and in SPCA. Why do they have to breed more? I do have an Amish friend that breeds dogs, but only has two dogs and only breeds once a year. Once he couldn’t sell all his puppies, so he gave them away to good homes. My dog is a pure bread poodle and I got him off of Craig’s List. I couldn’t have gotten a better dog, if I had gotten one at a breeder. He is the best doggie. These 30 dog and 50 dog breeders have to stop, not only in Colorado, but in other states, too including my state New York.

    4. Margaret

      While we don’t know many of the families in that settlement, we have met quite a few of them and have been impressed with their character and openness. We would think this young man has every intention of doing things in a humane and honorable way, but we surely understand the concerns and the horror stories we have heard.

      However, with the short growing season, lack of moisture, and other problems with living in the a mountainous area, farming is very difficult. The Amish do have a few stores, but again, that isn’t enough to provide for all the families there…especially when tourist season ends. We hope a solution becomes obvious for all concerned.

    5. Mark - Holmes Co.

      I hope the readers of this will realize that not all Amish who raise dogs have puppy mills! We have two dogs right now and one is a terrier cross we adopted. She’s a very friendly dog who lives outside or in the barn until it gets cold then she likes to sleep in the house. Though she was “just a stray” she has been a good watch dog and good companion. The other is a chihuahua who is usually in the house. We bought her from one of our own people who has a kennel. Is it a mill? No. Though they have about 8-10 adult dogs, it is obvious this family keeps them healthy and clean and well cared for and followed up on shots, etc. I don’t think anyone who knows this family or sees the affection this older couple has for their dogs could call it a mill. If they did, watching the dogs run around outside wagging their tails and following the couple around might think again. For this couple it is definitely a hobby and they obviously enjoy their dogs.
      Do puppy mills exist? I’m sure they do, but I would never consider buying from one whether it was Amish or English owned. I don’t personally know anyone who operates a mill, but I’m not doubting they exist at all. We used to raise puppies to sell from our two Yorkies, both who lived in our home as pets, but after both died we decided not to try and breed anymore.
      If people would stop buying from mills and the profit dried up, the business would, too. I think inspecting dog breeders would help a lot. I understand breeders are inspected, but if so, how do these mills keep operating?
      But please, don’t class all Amish dog owners as the type of people who support or condone puppy mills. Our dogs are loved and cared for.

    6. Debbie H

      Puppy Mill vs Commercial

      I do not know the definition of either but I am against both. There are many private breeders out there for those wanting purebreds. As for those Amish in Colorado who have a hard time making an income because farming is not good in that area, Find something else to do. Amish in farm country are forced to get jobs in factories, etc. or start a business like woodworking so why can’t the Amish? Anytime you raise a large quantity of anything, even in the best conditions, it is a business. Dogs are social and desire love and attention. No way can someone raising 30 or more give them the attention they need. Dogs also need to roam, run and play. That is hard to do when they live in a cage. I hope they vote it down. Sorry, that is how I feel.

    7. Brad of the Brethren

      Puppy Mills

      Erik, I think you’re right in that Mr Troyer has good intentions but is just not aware of what he’s getting into. I think Robin is spot on, there are so many dogs out there and each year thousands are euthanized. All 5 of my dogs are rescue from ‘Puppy Mills’ all were scheduled to be euthanized only because they did not meet AKC specifications therefore breeder could not sell so he puts them down. 2 of my dogs are blind, 2 are deaf and blind, 1 is cripple all result of bad breeding and recessive gene’s trying to get a certain look. Even with their handicap my dogs are great, couldn’t ask for better companions. So I say no to puppy mills ! Rescue ! Rescue ! You’ll get a wonderful dog. Take the money you’ll save and donate to your local shelter.

    8. Trish in Indiana

      Given that some people are against all breeding of pets, whether for profit or not, I am not sure there is any way to make such a business “proof” against ugly accusations.

      Yes, there are people who say every pet should be “adopted” from a shelter, and should be spayed or neutered, until the shelters are completely empty and there are no more unwanted or mistreated pets, anywhere. There are even some people who say that at that point, pet species should be allowed to go extinct, because companion animals are a form of slavery. I, however, happen to think there will always be a legitimate place for animals specifically born to be pets.

      If people with stricter views want to make breeding illegal, they should go through the normal legislative process and accept the results if other citizens disagree enough to prevent their measures from becoming law. When the law theoretically provides for the possibility of such a business, it seems underhanded to individually portray each one that applies for a permit as a public nuisance in order to get the effect of a law outlawing all breeding, without having to engage in the broader public debate that would be required to pass such a law.

      1. Guidelines for breeders?

        Trish, I’m on board with your comments. As noble as it is and as much as we can admire those who rescue animals from shelters, there is going to be a market for animals of certain readily available breeds whether or not some of us agree with that or not. I think it would be most helpful to develop some clear guidelines concerning the animals’ welfare. Maybe they’re already out there, and if that’s the case, they ought to be more widely publicized. There seems to be room for education in this area.

        One thing I’d like to see quantified, to the degree that it can be, is how much attention/care/quality time, in man-hours or some other variable, is reasonably sufficient to ensure a healthy, well-adjusted companion animal. I realize it could vary by breed or other factors. But if that hasn’t already been done, the people who care so much about these dogs would be doing them a service by putting the resources into developing something like that.

        Also, having some sort of “non-puppy mill” certification, if one doesn’t already exist, might be a good way to help safeguard more animals and also secure a higher price for the no doubt higher costs incurred by breeders raising a non-puppy-mill animal.

        I don’t think that just assuming this or that breeder is automatically a puppy mill is the answer. Nor is casting aspersions on someone just because they are at least in part motivated by profit. Unfortunately I feel that whenever this topic comes up, it too easily gets enveloped in grey area (besides of course the obvious cruelty cases).

        My disclaimer here is that I’m not a dog person. But if this man is planning to raise dogs as a family enterprise, with 6-8 children helping to lavish care and love on the animals, it seems like that would potentially be a good environment for quite a few dogs. But I believe each situation is different and should be addressed on an individual basis, and having some clear definitions and guidelines is a necessary starting point.

        That said I’m still not so confident that he fully knows what he’s doing, based on the admittedly limited information in how he describes his preparation to run this business. But maybe there is more to it than that.

    9. Robin Miller

      Please think twice ...

      God bless you Brad for adopting your 5 dogs from puppy mill situations. Two of our four pug rescues also came from a puppy mill, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The oldest was only 5 and only God knows how many puppies she gave birth to. The other was barely 3 and deemed “unfit” and was being starved to death when rescue came in. The owner of the mill was refusing to surrender her so the rescue “angel” asked how much she was worth to him and when he replied “$200” she promptly took out her personal check book, stroked out the check and took this dog too … she was able to pull 5 or 6 that day alone. Anyone who has not educated themselves on puppy mills should … horrid prisons, breeding animals condemned to lives in cages in brutal conditions. Yes, there are those who have good intentions when they run these large breeding operations. However it is an unnecessary business. Folks will buy many of these unfortunate dogs and cats just this Christmas season as gifts for their children, girlfriends … then check your shelters come January or February (if the animals are lucky) and see how many wound up there because they weren’t really wanted. Our first “rescue” from the SPCA was turned in the day after Christmas … we’re guessing she “ruined” someone’s Christmas … As for Mr. Troyer, if he’s successful and starts this business, I only pray that he’ll do well with these dogs but with that many, it’s hardly possible.

    10. Don Curtis


      I totally am in support of adopting dogs and cats from pet shelters. My three legged dachshund, Fritzi, came from the local Humane Society. He is my little buddy. Mark’s dog, Reba, came from the same shelter. What a nice dog she is, too. There are so many pets out there just waiting to be adopted. It’s sad. But, between Mark and I there are at least two that aren’t hoping, anymore. They have forever homes. And, if Fritzi outlives me, which is a possibility as I am 92, Mark has promised me that he’ll take Fritzi in and care for him. Mark spoils Fritizi worse than I do, as it is, so I’m not worried about that little boy having a good home if I’m not around anymore.

    11. Lee Ann

      Puppy Mills

      I suspect that this man’s intentions may be good, and that he may even make sure that his dogs are well kept from a physical point of view. However, you cannot have many dogs and attend to their emotional needs. Dogs are very social animals. Keeping them in clean kennels, for example, is simply not sufficient. My dog, for instance, wants to be with me. She relates to me, cuddles with me, and, in my case, even sleeps with me (not advocating this for everyone!). When my husband and I are gettting ready for work, she is standing by our feet, clearly not wanting us to go. For this reason, we take her to doggie day care at least once a week. Having a dog is a great responsibility, and any responsible dog owner/human companion knows this and attends the best they can to the dog’s needs. With 30 dogs, this is absolutely impossible. So yes, it is a puppy mill, even it were to be the cleanest, best-kept puppy mill around. When you are set up to breed dogs for the money, and can’t attend to the physical, emotional, and social needs of the dog, I think it is fair to call something a puppy mill.

      And yes, I do believe in rescue dogs, however my husband favours pure-bred, and we have had 3 pure-bred dogs (I am insisting that the next one is rescue). So I am not saying that the only way to get a dog is through rescue (though I strongly recommend it – too many dogs are put down). However, we got our dogs from small scale, reputable breeders,people who love the breed, house-raise the puppies, and attend to all the needs (physicial, social, emotional) of the parents. I really think that is the difference between a breeder and a puppy mill.

    12. Marvin

      More Mills

      It’s not only puppy mills, we have lots of chicken mills in our area. They all get killed. I believe they are just doing it for money. They tell me they have duck mills in Indiana. There’s cow mills too and horse mills. It’s all for money.

      1. Trish in Indiana

        Of course the keeping of livestock animals like chickens, ducks and cattle is “all for money.” Very, very few of those species are kept as pets, and their history with the human race is as food, not as companions. Likewise for pigs. As for horses, while not raised primarily for food, in their long history with humans, they have been kept as work animals (the role they still play in Amish life) rather than as “pets” until very, very recently.

        Yes, these animals are raised “for money.” Why would anyone expect it to be otherwise? Is farming of livestock somehow a shameful way of earning a living? Would any of us want someone to redefine our source of income as an activity that should only be a hobby? “We need to close down the book-editing mills, because you can’t possibly be doing it out of a real love for the books if your underlying motive is profit. You can’t give each one the attention it deserves if you edit so many of them.”

        By all means, promote animal welfare, so that animals are kept in humane conditions while being raised to meet human needs; this is our duty to the creatures whose very lives provide valuable service to us. But please don’t hold up the mere fact that they are raised for profit as an automatic sign of mistreatment.

        1. Well said

          Well said, Trish.

      2. OldKat


        Surely you are NOT serious. This is a joke, right?

    13. Jerry

      I like to visit a Mennointe farm store at least every other week. Sometimes thay have a run outside of the store that sells puppies. Maybe five times a year. These are usually mixed breeds and the prices are from $35.00 to $65.00. If I take my ex-wife with me and she sees these puppies she wants to bring all of the home so I have to put my foot down and just so NO. I’ve also seen puppies for sale at Amish School auctions. Those this past year are usually purebred and average about $100.00 each. I don’t think they actually sell many because it’s like an impulse buy and that’s not how most people buy a puppy.

      While driving around in the country two years ago I saw a sign “Puppies for Sale”. I drove down the lane to the farm and the family came out. I asked what kind of puppies they had as I was thinking of getting a basset after my “Gertie” passed at the age of 16, three years ago. The family was Amish and they took me to the barn to see the puppies. They had a stall about 10 by 10 feet with seven puppies playing around in a thick straw bed. They had three breeds but no bassetts or beagles. They took me to see the runs and there were about 8 of them. All of the dogs seemed healthly and well cared for. I left without a puppy but left my phone number if they happened to find a basset. I never received a call.

      On one of the Old Order Mennoite farms I vist, the family has two Basset-beagle dogs that are often out in the pastures chasing rabbits. Sometimes one will be roaming when I’m at the produce stand. She’s a sweetie and as friendly as can be and very well cared for. I told the girl working there that I could easily take her home with me and she said, “I wouldn’t mind but I don’t think Dad would like that very much.”

      I think the Amish adults don’t usually display attachments to their animals. I think they consider all animals to be used as property that are here to serve the owners. “To serve mankind”. They don’t mistreat any animals as they know that healthy animals produce the best results/performance.

      Another Nevada Order family I know breeds and sells hunting dogs. They are tree walker coon hounds. He told me that he only sells trained dogs and usually get $400 to $500 for each. He sells about 15 dogs a year and he never spays or neuters his dogs.

      I keep looking for these notorious puppy mills but haven’t found one yet. I do see a lot of Amish farms that have signs for “Free Kittens”.

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        I don’t know about adults not showing affection to pets… If I’m reading in the easy chair in the evening, our chihuahua is often curled up in my lap asleep and I always greet her with pats in the morning. Our mostly-outside dog will come running for attention in the morning if she’s been outdoors. She usually sleeps in our son’s bedroom winters and can be found in the kitchen as soon as we get up,wagging her stumpy tail and seeking equal attention if she’s slept indoors. Both dogs love attention and tagging along after the family. 🙂

    14. Steve B

      Rescue groups? No Thanks!!

      While I sympathize with those fearing that this man will open a puppy mill, here in MA it’s getting harder and harder to get a dog, period. All the rescue groups make you fill out lots of paper work. They have all manner of rules requiring adopters to have large homes and yards, and of course, fenced-in yards. Live in a condo or apartment? Forget getting most any dog beyond a toy breed. Some rescues want income tax returns, and home inspections not only before you adopt, but at random, unannounced times months and months after you’ve adopted as well. The rescues also snap up most of the best and healthiest dogs at the town shelters only to put would-be adopters through a maze of restrictions on those dogs as well. The alternative is to go to a breeder, but since the shelters and rescue groups have attached such a stigma to almost any dog breeder now, one practically has to go out of state to an elite breeder and pay $1000 on up for a dog.

      I don’t want to see puppy mills proliferate, but thanks to the dog elitists, the available channels for acquiring a dog around here are getting fewer and fewer. I suspect things are going to get tighter for people in other parts of the country trying to acquire a dog as well.

      1. Liz Detrich

        Steve B,
        Rescue groups have a responsibility to vet a potential home to ensure it’s a good fit. I don’t understand asking for a copy of one’s tax returns, but if you’re a renter, it’s appropriate the agency sees language allowing for a pet is in the lease agreement. They also make sure you’re not adopting a high energy pet when you’re not home to walk or exercise it. That’s just responsible on the part of the agency and prevents returned animals who aren’t a good match for their new home.

        I don’t see how it’s difficult to get a rescue dog. I’ve provided a link below from Mass. gov. for your reference. There seems to be a pretty good sized list. 🙂
        best regards,

        1. Matt from CT

          No, I concur with Steve.

          Based on friend’s experiences, I wouldn’t be able to get a rescue dog today (I’ve had three in the past.)

          Kids? Nope, can’t have a dog from us.

          Don’t have a physical fence? Nope, can’t have a dog from us.

          You both work? Oh dear, that might be a problem.

          By the time you look at their applications and read the rules, just wait till you find your own dog on Craigslist (and realize many of the rescues will, like they do with pounds, be trying to snap up the best ones as well).

          Then there also a number “rescues” here that I can not morally support — they’re nothing but thin cover for businesses that import pound pups from down south to sell in New England…but don’t want to be held to business or agricultural regulations, after all it’s just the humane thing they’re trying to do. They are also often the most vocal in the press — a/k/a free advertising.

          Both ends of the spectrum of rescues have gone far beyond anything reasonable here.

    15. Interesting article, and I’m sure there are quite interesting comments although I simply do not have the time to read through them at the present. But one comment worthy (I hope)of making comes to mind: It seems that so many people want to get all negative and say something like, “Look at all the unwanted dogs out there right now — why make more?” But when you look at it, wouldn’t the same logic insist that since there are so many unwanted and under-loved children in the world, then no one should ever have another baby — at least until all the unwanted’s are wanted. But if we can see our way to being happy when we have a newborn, or when a friend has a newborn, then it would seem to me that it’s more than a bit inconsistent to then decry someone t bringing a new puppy (or lots of them) into the world and be happy — or at least non-confrontational — about it. Sure, there’s a chance that the dogs will not be taken care of properly…, but hey, isn’t this the country where a man is assumed innocent until he — *he*, and not others in his same business — is proven otherwise?

      Just my $.02.

    16. Liz Detrich

      Sorry, not buying it

      As an animal lover and someone who works with animal rescues in N.CA, I can’t support his decision to start a business.

      In shelters across the country 3–4 million animals are needlessly euthanized annually; did you know the yearly expense to U.S. taxpayers to impound, shelter, euthanize, and dispose of homeless animals approaches $2 billion? What if that money could be used for schools or infrastructure repairs?

      As someone who lived among a large Mennonite community in Sarasota FL and grew up in farm country on Long Island, I understand that animals have a role to play on a working farm. My experience interacting with those from Amish and Mennonite communities has been wonderful and positive.

      But the fact is that Mr. Troyer does not have enough information nor experience to begin this type of business.

      My view MIGHT be different if he were a handler who shows dogs and wanted to improve aspects of the breed but honestly, the last thing we need is more unwanted puppies.

      This is a waste, on every level.

      1. NorCal

        Just wondered where in NorCal you are?
        I am in Redding

    17. Steve B.


      I get all the responsibility that rescue groups have. That, after all, is what dog ownership is all about. I’m just saying they go too far.

      I have a very progressive friend that is a super foster mom and general social activist, and she herself found that going the rescue route wasn’t for her:

      Said Sharon: “As much as I’d prefer to support rescue operations, I just don’t think I’ll be using one. The requirements of many of them are fairly ridiculous – one asks you to sign a contract that they can come to your property and investigate your dog’s condition at any time. I don’t abuse my animals, and I support their desire to protect dogs that have already endured trauma – but I don’t make strangers free of my property, either. Multiple home visits before you can adopt – I’m willing to do that for children, but not for animals.”

      I have found that rescue groups are increasingly run by fanatics. Sorry, but that’s the way more and more seeing it.

    18. Ed from NY

      I’m something of an armchair economist, and I have an honest question: Why does anyone BUY a dog or cat from a breeder? Everyone here is saying don’t buy a pet, go to an animal shelter instead and adopt one. OK, well, if animal shelters are so great, wouldn’t everyone already be using them? Why do people go to breeders anyway?

      Is it because shelters charge fees or ‘required donations’ that are equal to or more than what a breeder charges?

      Is it because some people want a very specific breed, which breeders can reliably supply but shelters cannot?

      Is it because breeders can show specific genetic bloodlines, and shelters cannot?

      Is it because (as some commenters imply here) that shelters have too many requirements, make people jump through “hoops” before adopting a pet?

      Are there some advantage that breeders have, over shelters?

      Do breeders market themselves better than shelters (doubtful, I see community service messages and ads for shelters a lot. Never saw one for a breeder.)

      Thanks for any answers. FWIW, I don’t have any pets now, though I did growing up. I am rather sympathetic to the concept of shelters though I’ve never been to one. But something tells me that when lots of people seemingly make the “wrong” choice about something, there’s other issues at play.

    19. Osiah Horst

      Right on, Ed.

      If this young man were my son, I would say “DON’T GO THERE!!! As we can see from this topic, it does not matter what is right or wrong. Like always, when animal welfare comes into play very strong feelings come into play.

      Why force livestock operations out of business? When people cease to purchase what livestock operators provide for sale, they will discontinue the business. As long as consumers are willing to purchase at a price where the seller can make a profit, they will continue to offer their commodity for sale.

      Amish and Mennonite people have many pets, but most serve some practical purpose as well. Dogs are definitely pets but can also help with other livestock control or as watch dogs, alerting the family when visitors arrive. Many children have pet goats or sheep or calves and all have names. Most dairy cows are given names and are known as individuals. Horses have names and are good friends of children and adults alike although they also serve a practical purpose.

      All animals will bring greater profits to their owners if they are treated humanely. Most livestock owners also realize the extremely bad publicity that is generated when livestock is maltreated. Their very livelihood depends on treating animals well, not only for the health of the animals but also to protect themselves from activists.

    20. Linda

      Application for proposed kennel facility withdrawn

      “Custer County will not have a dog breeding kennel. The disputed business application submitted by Martin Troyer was pulled on Tuesday, December 16.”

      1. Thanks for the update on this story Linda. Here were Martin Troyer’s comments from the story you linked, I believe these are from the original Dec. 2 meeting:

        “The Amish have been well-accepted by the (local) community,” Troyer had said, “and if this is a bridge too far we will withdraw the application, because we don’t want to cause a problem between the community and Amish over a kennel.”