Madonna of the Mills

America has a nasty secret. All of those cute puppies that are sold in pet stores come from “puppy mills.” Their mothers spend their entire lives in a tiny, unsanitary cages, never walked, never petted, never doing anything but making puppies.

America has a nasty secret. All of those cute puppies that are sold in pet stores come from “puppy mills.” Their mothers spend their entire lives in a tiny, unsanitary cages, never walked, never petted, never doing anything but making puppies. When these dogs can no longer produce litters or money for their owners, they are put to death – stoned, shot, drowned or starved.

“Madonna of the Mills” is a documentary about Laura, an office manager from Staten Island, who stumbled on this secret four years ago and vowed to save as many of these breeding dogs as she possibly could. Laura has now rescued over 2,000 dogs from Amish and Mennonite farmers in Pennsylvania. In the process, she has forever changed her life and the lives of those families fortunate enough to adopt one of these remarkable “puppy mill” survivors.

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45 thoughts on “Madonna of the Mills

  1. Holy crap, I have a friend who is a midwife in this area of PA and she is always telling me about how sad all the breeding momma dogs make her. This movie looks amazing, and Hallelujah for people like Laura.

  2. The group we volunteer for Doberman Assistance Network have been taking any of the breeders that are no longer wanted from these vile humans. It is so disheartening when we get theses babies home and try to comfort them. It will truly bring anyone to tears!

    WHAT CAN YOU DO? — When anyone starts to talk about bringing a dog into their family (in the waiting line, doctors office ANYWHERE) you can interject into the conversation about these poor dogs plight and to suggest getting their dog from a Rescue (if they want a pure breed) or the local shelter.

    If we all open the dialogue about this the dirty little secret wont be a secret any longer and we can truly get regulations in order to ensure ethical treatment of these poor dogs! It is up to us to make a difference in this world so start talking!! Start sharing this blog page. Share the YouTube video of Laura!

  3. In addition to the suggestions above (adopt from shelters, from rescue, from reputable breeders) I’d also suggest not buying ANY of your pet supplies from pet stores that sell puppies or kittens! One small step….but each one counts.

    1. That is one of the ways we can boycott pet stores and hit them where it hurts – in the pocketbook. Everyone, boycott them!

  4. We were horrified to see new stores cropping up around here with signs that just say – in big letters – PUPPIES. Just when we thought there was less of this, there it comes again. Just this weekend we passed a brand new one with whole window full of puppies in a store by the railroad station. It’s very upsetting, knowing where they probably come from.

  5. I couldn’t help but cry watching this excerpt. As someone who adopted a puppy mill breeding dog, I know what it is like to see a dog so afraid, so shut down, so confused and scared and uncertain. Daisy is a much different dog now, but the thought of what she went through and what she could have continued to go through makes me sad. God bless this woman. She is doing good work. More than anyone can know. Please keep us updated on this documentary when it is released. I know it will be hard, but I want to see it.

  6. By the way, I am working on an idea to stop the appeal of buying a pet store puppy. The first step is calling them another name… “blood pups”. I know it sounds awful, but you can read the logic behind it in my post “Blood Pup: The New Term For a Pet Store Puppy?”

    1. I like that term, Blood Puppy. Just like the term Blood Diamond. I hope it catches on. I for one will be using the term when describing a puppy mill dog. I hate what those people do. We must stop it!!!

  7. I applaud everyone who takes a part–large or small–in fighting against this puppy mill situation. Madonna of the Mills seems like a sad, yet important documentary. All those dogs deserve better lives.

  8. I e-mailed the production company to ask about the release and received a reply today: “Madonna of the Mills was just finished — 2 weeks ago — and we are premiering at the Artivist Film Festival on December 9th in NYC (Tribeca Cinema). Our site is now live www .madonnaofthemills. com as is our Facebook page.”

  9. Laura Flynn is a saint and a hero. I just viewed the trailer and those dogs faces will haunt me.
    I am against buying puppies (and kittens) from pet stores, knowing that the “merchandise” comes from a puppy mill. I have really issues with regarding companion animals as property. My children aren’t my property, neither are my dogs and the cat. They are my family members and I am responsible for them. Rescue and adopt are the only way to go. Boycotting and education are some of the actions you can take. But what happens to those poor little puppies that no one will buy anymore? It’s misery tenfold, a devil’s circle. What I really don’t get is the mentality especially of the Amish and Mennonites, present themselves as God fearing people but commit such crimes against His creation and pay tribute to one of the seven deadly sins: GREED. I can’t help it, but each time I see pictures of puppy mills I have to think “concentration camp”.

  10. I Can’t stop crying thinking about these beautiful loving animals being treated lie this.! she is truly a saint.)

  11. How sad that this is still going on. Thanks for championing this cause. We all have to do our share to shut these puppy mills down forever. We need to infuence our legislators to recognize that this is a huge problem that involves cruety to animals, which itself is illegal.

  12. Thanks for sharing. We hope that there will be more Laura’s around. It is sad to know that the cute puppies that kids are drawn to when they are in pet stores have moms who are suffering and not well.

  13. I can’t believe there are people in the USA that still don’t know you should not support pet stores. I mean you really have to have your head in the sand. I have coworker who’s sister bought a bullmastiff at a Pet Store. It has bad hips, knees, AND elbows and needs about $10,000 worth of surgery that they cannot afford… and would likely not be successful in such a large dog. 2 year old dog in a lot of pain and they are going to have to put her to sleep soon.

  14. I grew up in the areas of PA that Laura rescues from, I now live in another state. So many of the farmers there and people who have these mills look at dogs as just another livestock, like cows, chicken, etc. I have always been a dog lover, my dogs are my family, and I commend her efforts. Every dog she can save is a blessing. I look forward to seeing the documentary…..and Laura… you wil always be in my prayers.

  15. If Abby could talk, this is what she would tell you…the dogs in this film had it better than me…I lived in a cage 2 feet off the ground. My cage of chicken wire was so small that my head rubbed the top, so because of that and cheap food, my ears will never be like other GSD’s…they won’t stand up. My feet never touched the ground in my whole 10 wks of life, I was never touched by a human, never played with, and was taken from my mother far too young. My mommy found me by accident and she told my dad that she would not leave me there. It has been a challenge for me, but thanks to a good trainer and lots of luv from my parents, I very much better ’cause I am luved lots. I was lucky and blessed. Most are not. Good work Laura, and thank you.

  16. I feel awful but I got Shiver from a pet store which means he came from a puppy mill. And it makes me sick to know that I contributed to that.

    Chico also came from a puppy mill where he was kept in a cage all day every day with little to no human affection. He was only let out to go potty and make babies. Fortunately, he got away from that horror and lives a much better/happier life now!

  17. I could never thought that in USA something like that could exist. For me ( I live in Brazil), USA is the country when animals rights are respected and they are protected from any kind of cruelty. I am horrified. Please, do something. Try, through your congress men, to prohibit the existence of these puppy mills. And spread the idea of not buying animals from pet shops.

  18. I’m not sure how many are aware that Amish have embraced technology and have taken to selling thousands of puppies thru the internet, the whole while claiming they’re from great breeders! I have encountered quite a few lately including on Facebook., and are both on FB and have a huge amount of puppies listed. And also they bear a striking resemblance in their profile page pics! And those are just two I came across. I ‘liked” one group and commented 25 times in a row to each picture in hopes of maybe reaching a few people, and needless to say my comments were removed later. But man it was fun!
    I would love to see Madonna of the Mills as it looks like such a heartfelt and amazing film, and this planet needs so many more like Laura in order to perhaps put an end to this disgusting unregulated practice!
    And another very disturbing thing I discovered while educating myself a while ago about puppy mills is some farmers kill and bury the dogs or useless puppies into the crop fields…talk about stomach turning!
    This has to stop!

  19. I am completely shocked and horrified that the Amish are involved in such cruel activities. I always thought they took such good care of their animals. Boy was I wrong. I for one will never buy anything they make or sell again no matter what it is, now that I know. If we all did that maybe it would send a strong message that we are angry about this practice and refuse to support anything they do. This is heartbreaking. I can’t stop thinking about the dog that turned away from the camera. There is no excuse for this practice! NONE!

    1. The Amish are well known for NOT treating their animals well. And they have a Religious Protection agreement with the U.S. Government . Our laws don’t apply to them and they are not subject our “English” law. That’s why the prosecutors make so little headway against Amish PuppyMills.

  20. Years ago before child welfare children were just wares. I can only hope that in years to come society will look back at the way its animals were treated and shutter. Maybe Animal protective services will be a household name in a new thoughtful, kind and generous society of the future.

  21. You Can Do Your Part: Tell Everyone you meet
    Make Flyers and distribute them where ever you go
    Don’t just talk about it
    Get Involved
    These dogs are in Hell Now!!!!!
    Be Active
    DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!

  22. I love Laura! I live in Staten Island and participate in the yearly fundraiser they have. Two years ago they previewed a “rough draft” of this documentary and it brought me to tears. I am active in cocker rescue, and have seen WAY too many of the discarded mill parents. To help them get a somewhat “normal” life takes lots of time, energy and LOVE which this saint of a woman has in spades.

  23. The thing that most people dont realize is that you arent saving a puppy when you purchase it from a pet store…you are actually condemning its mother and father to hell for the rest of their lives. You are condemning thousands of other dogs and puppies to lives of pain and suffering because of the way they are bred, raised and kept until they are traded off for the almighty dollar. Just like not buying anything from pet stores that sell puppies, people should not buy anything made by the Amish or Mennonites until they stop this horrible practice!

  24. Wales, UK is also a very well known place for Puppy Farming 🙁
    One such place even had the pups sold in places like Harrods!!! Unbelievable and Sickening.
    One council – Carmarthan – has allowed planning applications to expand one such place to allow MORE DOGS to be kept in these vile buildings, actually, more converted farm pens. When farm animals are housed – by LAW, they need a certain area per animal for welfare conditions, these dogs have no such legislation to protect them as they are domesticated!! yet they are bred on the same mass production as agricultural cattle!

    In todays world, how can keeping any animal like this be acceptable, let alone humane?

  25. This is disgusting, but it’s even worse when, should you live in the northwestern counties of PA (as I do), you bring up questions or complaints to the PSPCA about this, they wave you off because you don’t live in or near Philly, Harrisburg or right by Pittsburgh. The local Animal Control officer (as the county I live in seems to only have one) can’t be expected to handle large-scale puppy mill operations as well as strays and other abuse cases. It’s frustrating, walking past a puppy store and seeing all their faces and just knowing about this, but also feeling useless to help them.

  26. I am guessing you weed out any comment that does not agree with you or to join in on the promotion to BURN the Breeders. I may not agree with some of the methods used by these alleged “puppy mill” farms just as I oppose super power conntries who intercede on behalf of American “oil mills” by invading other countries so Americans can drive around and make documentaries but to suggest every dog breeder is part of the “Axis of Evil” is to suggest every Madonna of the Mills is just another “Nut Bag”. I love dogs but I love the idea of freedom much more. If it is ok to breed hatred than It is perfectly ok to breed dogs by whatever means in order to put food on the table. I watched this doc and found it one-sided at best. It is one thing to show some pics of the worst and make it appear as the norm but one should also have the insight to understand the world is a cruel beast. So when you look at that puppy in the window and
    begin to feel so heart sick and useless just understand that for every puppy face you see there are 1000 people faces that have it far worse and who would love to have the puppy chow on their plate.

  27. I see the stories of how the spca goes an investigating the condition of animals, horse, dogs, cats, etc. so why have they not gone to the puppy mills and take custody of these animals? why is the amish protected when private citizens who harm or not care for their pets are taking into custody?
    Laura and family, friends are awesome for caring so much for the dogs so may “God” Bless them richly for their endeavors…

  28. You really make it appear really easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I might never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am having a look ahead to your next put up, I will try to get the hang of it!

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