Woman Writes Heartbreaking Letter to the Breeder of Her Puppy Mill Rescue

No dog should suffer the way Lily did. Contact your local politicians to crack down on puppy mills in your area.

4.11.15 - Letter to Lily's Breeder

 

 

This comes from National Mill Dog Rescue:

Dear Martha,

It’s been fifteen months since you and I first met. More than likely, you remember very little about me. After all, we met in your world, on your property in fact. Since that day, elements of your world have become a very big part of mine. For that, myself and many like-minded people are very thankful to you.

In February 2007, I received an email – “50 Italian Greyhounds in need” and with that, a phone number. Having had a lifetime affinity for the breed, I called the number to find out what the story was and how I might be able to help. I’m certain you know where this letter is going now.

Yes, February 17, 2007, after 40+ years, your kennel would be going out of business. Time to retire and relax after four decades of mistreating dogs. Five hundred and sixty one dogs would head to the auction blocks that day, 49 were Italian Greyhounds. It was without question that I would help, though I must admit, I had no idea what I would come to learn through the process. Due to transportation issues, I realized that if I were to be of any use to these dogs, I would have to drive out to Lamar myself. So, on the 16th of February, my daughter and I headed to Missouri.

Understand, I’ve been involved in dog rescue essentially my entire life – fostering and placing homeless dogs, caring for sick or injured dogs, assisting overpopulated shelters, etc. I have always known about puppy mills and pet store puppies but have never shared my home with anything other than rescued animals. For the record, I AM NOT AN ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST. What I am is a person who believes in the right to humane treatment for all living things.

Martha, what I witnessed on your property was far from humane. Hundreds of terrified ailing faces, imprisoned in their wire confines, some staring at me, but most too fearful to look into my eyes, so unsure of how to interpret human contact. That experience has caused me countless sleepless nights and to this very day, the sadness and the fear in their eyes haunts my very being.

I am completely aware that you were operating well within USDA standards – what a despicable thought that is. I am also aware that in your circles, commercial breeding dogs are considered livestock. Dogs are not livestock, Martha. Thousands of years ago, man domesticated dogs to be our protectors, hunters, herders, guardians, but most of all, our companions.

I came home with thirteen of your dogs – nine Italian Greyhounds, two Dachshunds and two Papillons. Not a single dog that I had cared for in over 25 years of rescue work came anywhere close to the physical and emotional damage that your dogs had suffered. As it related to rescuing dogs, the next several months would become the education of a lifetime for me.

 

4.11.15 - Letter to Lily's Breeder3

 

The entire purpose of this letter though, is about just one of those dogs, the one who would find her forever home here with my family….. #251 – AKC registered “Reedgate’s Swift Motion”. Oh, the irony of her name – Swift Motion – an Italian Greyhound who was never able to run. Caging her for her entire life stripped her of ever having enough strength in her legs to experience the joy of running. A cruel reality for a breed built to run.

In our home, we cut the chain from her neck, replaced it with a soft collar and named her Lily. At the age of seven years and one month Lily had been set free.

Lily was one of several of your dogs that was missing her lower jaw. I wonder how you might explain why so many of your dogs were suffering from this condition. I wonder if you were ever concerned about their pain or perhaps about how they were able to eat enough to stay alive. I wonder how many died in your care from the results of this condition. I wonder if you even noticed. I’m very certain you did notice one thing beyond the rotting faces though – their ability to produce puppies. That’s what your business is all about – producing puppies, at any expense.

Lily became an absolute treasure in our home. Despite her many health issues and her extreme fear, in time, with lots of love and care, she found her courage and when she did, no one was immune to her love. Men, women and children brought to tears to hear her story and to have the untold pleasure of meeting her. Lily’s life was no longer about what she could do for you but instead, how we could make it up to her in a warm and loving home.

It was agonizing for our family to watch her suffer through four surgeries to remove mammary tumors, to attempt to repair her decaying face and to spay her — removing the papery black, pus filled organ that was once her uterus. How selfish of you never to see her pain, just the dollars.

Directly because of your gross neglect, every meal Lily ate was a struggle. We tried so many foods and so many different ways to make it easier for her to eat. But in the end, she had to do it her way, the way she learned at your place, the way she kept herself alive for you – picking kibbles out of her bowl, a few at a time with her feet, spreading them around the floor, then rubbing the “good” side of her face along the floor to catch a kibble on her tongue, then extending her neck upwards and swallowing it whole. Think about that, Martha. How would you like to eat just one meal that way?

Do you remember sitting in my car when the auction was over? The guys were gathering up the dogs that I had “won”. You said to me, “I just love my Italian Greyhounds”. Oh, the thoughts that went through my mind when those words came out of your mouth. You don’t love any dogs, Martha. What you did was spend more than forty years of your God given life using dogs for your personal gain. No regard to their physical or mental well-being, just cashing in on their ability to reproduce. Think about the thousands of dogs that passed through your hands – you robbed every single one of them of the simple joys they so deserve. A good meal, a warm and comfortable place to sleep, medical attention, and most of all, a human companion to make their lives whole.

Lily learned so much in our home – about being a family member, being a dog, being worthy. I will always be bothered that she never learned how to run or really how to play. But she learned how to love and be loved and for that, there are no words. She changed our lives forever.

Lily died on May 13, 2008 at the age of eight – about half the life expectancy for an Italian Greyhound. Martha, she died as a direct result of the neglect she suffered for seven years in your care. How many others have suffered the same fate?

This industry has been hidden far too long. The word is out, the days are numbered. People like you will soon venture out into fields of honest work and leave the care of God’s creatures to those of us who truly love them.

Theresa Strader

 

No dog should suffer the way Lily did.  Contact your local politicians to crack down on puppy mills in your area.

 

480 thoughts on “Woman Writes Heartbreaking Letter to the Breeder of Her Puppy Mill Rescue

  1. All during my growing up years we were given dogs that people no longer wanted, all of them found a loving home with us through the years they were alive. I was without a dog for many years, my husband had always promised me a dog. Soon I finally got a puppy, a purebred West Highland White Terrier. Yes I went to a Breeder, NO it was not a “puppy mill” The breeders were clean, the area nicely kept and the dogs all hale and healthy. On our first visit to “check things out”, There was a litter nearly weaned and ready to go up for adoption, they were bright eyed, playful and plump, and mom was loving a sweet natured. Several months later we got a call letting us know that a new litter had been born,( to a different mother) We picked up our little girl at ten weeks old, and ten years later could not ask for a nicer, healthier or happier dog. There is nothing wrong with rescues, but there is also nothing wrong with reputable breeders.

    The breeder in this article was NOT one of them, and there is surely a special place in Hell reserved for her. At least Lily’s last months were happy ones with people who loved her and made her feel safe.

    1. There is no such thing as a reputable breeder. Look at the thousands of dogs and cats who will be put down in shelters because people like you must have whatever breed you choose. The point is Lily could still be alive and instead she was used and abused for profit. It is irresponsible to buy from a breeder or pet store (often puppy mill dogs ), when there are so many needy animals in shelters.

      1. You hit the nail right on the head. I wanted a chocolate lab so bad I had always wanted one but my girlfriend talked me out of it, she really pushed me into a rescue dog. Now will never by a breeder dog my dogs will always be rescue dogs. I rescued a little mix breed that looks a bit like a Vizsla, she is my chocolate lab. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.

      2. I am appauled that you do not believe there are ‘reputible breeders’…. I for one am what I believe is a reputible breeder…. My puppies are born inside my home and the mother is under constant surveillance during the whelping period and during the growth period of the puppies. Puppies are also raised in my home are well socialised and well cared for and vet checked, wormed vaccinated and microchipped. I only sell to approved homes where I believe the puppy will receive the utmost lifelong care… and will be desexed. As a Registered breeder of show dogs I do not believe that I should be considered the same as this sick person who FARMS dogs and does not have any care for their health and welfare!

        1. I 100% agree with you. Im glad puppy farming is coming into the light and has started being seriously adressed. These poor animals deserve a loving home and its unthinkable people can be so cruel. However, i also believe that puppy farming and reputable breeders are on complete opposite ends of the scales! I brought my girl off a breeder, we visited there home, met their family and there dogs. They explained everything to us and we even signed a contract that if for any reasons our circumstances changed and we couldn’t care for our girl she goes back to the breeder and they rehome her. Their dogs are apart of there lives beginning to end. I wish people were more educated as we also have been told you should always rescue otherwise you support farming 🙁

        2. Call yourself whatever you want but the truth is you are adding to the problem. As a supposed dog lover, you should already know that millions of healthy, unwanted dogs are killed every year and you are adding to the problem by breeding.
          Do you want to see what you are contributing to or will you turn away. Earthlings narrated by Joaquin Phoenix is available free to watch at http://www.earthlings.com
          I’d say to watch the whole thing as it is important that everyone is aware, but the part you really need to see it till the end of the pet section so the first twenty minutes of it.
          Animals are not ours to use and are individual beings like you or I. They are not a commodity.

          1. This last message was to anonymous who posted at 1:46am.
            ~ from anonymous at 3:55am. It missed my name. Emma

          2. Well said breeding needs to stop no matter how clean how well cared for doesn’t matter it needs to stop thousands of beautiful dogs are being killed every day and these idiots are just pumping them out like crazy. Hope all breeders regardless who they are rot in hell and are forced to live in a cage. It needs to stop its abuse

          3. I was just about to comment the very same words. There is no need to breed dogs to sell. Like the other person said, there are more than enough rescue animals that need a home. I was adopted and if not for some people that can’t have kids I was saved from being aborted.

        3. My last 2 dogs have been from reputable breeders. I was checked out as much as I checked them out. If for any reason I cannot keep her I have to give her back. She will never go to a shelter. I am all about betterment of the breed. She came with health clearances and a guarantee. I am required to spay her and not allowed to breed her. Her questions for me were very intense and she turned down 4 families before I was chosen. There is nothing wrong with a rescue. I prefer to have a pure bred and know where she came from. I love Labradors, there will be nothing else for me.

  2. Where IS this woman now? Do you know if she read your letter? Unbelievable how cruel and thoughtless people can be. All for a few bucks! Everyone who still considers buying from puppy mills should have to read this story.

  3. this was the most heart breaking and heart warming story. You made sure her last year on this earth was filled with love and joy and dogs are not like humans, they do not let their past impact their future when shown kindness and love. you truly are an angel.

  4. Wish there were more people like you in this world. God Bless you for giving this sweet little girl the love she so deserved, even though it was for just a short time.
    Martha should have been arrested for her awful crimes against these dogs.
    Strict laws should be in place for treating god’s creatures this way

  5. I have never heard such a heart breaking story… My GOD the things that humans do.
    Bless you for showing this lil girl real love during her days with you.

  6. God bless you for all you have done for mans best friend. People that mistreat animals have no heart.

  7. Thank God for you Theresa Strader. I had experiences with these “puppy mills” and so have my sisters. I also had the pleasure of closing down a pet shop who sold sick puppies they had gotten from a mill in Missouri ~ my Sammy, a Golden, was one of them. I loved her and got her the medical attention she needed for so many things she suffered. I’d do it again in a heart beat! My baby also only lived to be seven ~ half the time she should have. May God bless you Theresa <3

    1. That is how long my precious Roxie lived. I wish I could cross over that rainbow bridge, if it meant I could be with her again.

  8. thank you for sharing your story I am a owner of an Italian greyhound named yoda hes the sweetest and most loving.i wish I would have known about that horrible place.please update me and let me know if theres anything I can do.ill think of lily and all the others .thank you thank you for loving [email protected].

  9. Your rescue story is so touching and beautiful, I actually cried at work at my desk

    Thank you for sharing.

  10. A Beautiful but also heartbreaking story. Thankyou for sharing this with us. Many people will read this and share it with others and hopefully, someday soon, all puppy mills will be shut down. The only love puppy mill breeders have is the love of money. All of us must voice what is really happening behind the gates of hell and encourage everyone to first go to your local pound, if that fails, a very reputable breeder, and, I don’t mean the Amish, as they are doing puppy breeding at their farms. So thankful you shared this with so many. We must all do our part. Everything on Gods earth has to be treated with kindness and humanely. God Bless and keep you,. I recused a pit bill out of n.y on death row. She is my blessing. Will continue to rescue, always….

    1. These dogs…..puppies do not deserve to be treated so inhumanely. I do not understand why they are still in business. Isn’t there a way to stop Puppy Mills and the poor Moms and puppies that are subjected to inhumane suffering. These people who are conducting “Puppy Mills” need to be in jail for years (maybe not given food/water like they did to these puppies and probably their Moms. They should be “watched/supervised” so they will never be allowed near another animal. We have to do something to protect these animals…It is our responsibility and we owe it to them.

  11. I just read your story and find myself trying to swallow my tears and the heart break. Thank all of the saviors for these and all animals… we need more like you and the others. What I am about to say sounds wrong to some, but not to those of us who have compassion and love filled hearts for animals… my God seek vengeance on those who hurt and destroy the innocent, they don’t deserve to walk on his Earth. I know we should forgive, but I just cant anymore, not for these people, the ones who pray on the weak and innocent. If they could suffer just one day, the way they cause suffering.
    Again, thank you to all of those who feel compassion in their hearts, who always find a way to love. Please…everyone help, keep your eyes open – they cant speak for themselves.

  12. We have 3 rescued survivors of horrid Missouri puppymills.
    We all must educate ourselves and demand that our representatives fight bills that support this agriculture and puppy farming. It is cruel, inhumane and as a human society, we should expect so much more of ourselves.

  13. Thank you – You are a beautiful human being. I also have a rescue, but luckily I got her before too much damage was done to her. She is only 1 year old. She didn’t know how to play when I adopted her and extremely shy. Our Vet told me she had a fracture that was healed, as she looked to me as if she has scoliosis. She is now playing and we love her so much.
    God Bless you

  14. Theresa Strader was only able to save a very small percentage of the dogs who suffered in this despicable “breeding” location.

    Martha should be held criminally liable for the YEARS of abuse, neglect and near starvation that she put “her” dogs through.

    Dogs are noble creatures —- it is amazing how much pain and suffering they will endure and still be willing to befriend a human. Heaven help us when we humans cannot care for the animals that God created for us. There should be MUCH stiffer penalties for the responsible parties guilty of animal cruelty, abuse and neglect.

  15. These stories always make me cry and the number of these types of stories is beyond comprehension. If I had my way (and I know this will sound absolutely awful), all proven animal abusers should be disposed of the way they dispose of their animals. That alone will eliminate the animal abusers, most likely child abusers, perpetrators of domestic violence, and will cut crime in this country down significantly! Those people (are they really?) who torture and abuse animals have no remorse for any cruel act, and all avenues to hurt any living thing is within their grasp. By my law, they would cease to exist once the evidence was proven!

    1. I agree with you so much Aching to right the wrongs. People who abuse and kill animals will do the same to small children or elderly people if they get the chance. Eye for eye. Let the punishment fit the crime. Torture and kill an animal, torture and kill the perpetrator.

  16. I just lost my most precious tiny Pomeranian. She was just barely 7years old. I bought her from a pet store in my town that is no longer open. I don’t know if she came from a puppy mill or not. At that point I was grieving the loss of my first Pomeranian. The emergency vets killed her, my Ginger dog, by over medicating her to take an x-ray. So I bought this little darling Roxie, for $300.00. She did good for about 5 years and then she got liver disease. Well to cut this short, she died two weeks ago after I had spent over $4,000.00 trying to keep her well. I do think that vets see some of us as cash cows. I really could not afford this kind of cost, so I put it on credit cards. I loved that dog so so much. I will never stop grieving over her. I have an older pom who has, so I am told by the vets, Cushing’s disease and an enlarged heart. She is on a chemo pill and a heart pill. She seems to be doing okay now but she too, is grieving the loss of Roxie. I can’t even go to the park I used to walk them at because it hurts so much. She probably was from a puppy mill and so was my 10 year old pom probably from one. I bought her, the 10 year old, over in Paso Robles at a pet store. I want so much to have another pom but how can I find one that is not from a puppy mill? I got a dog from a no kill shelter to at least help my other pom, who at this point was not eating at all. She is helping my dog and me. But I still want so much to have another pom similiar to Roxie and I am afraid to even try to find one, in case it is from a puppy mill. My first pom was from friends of mine who felt I had not gotten enough commission from the house they bought. They had a female pom and had bred her with a male pom in the Watsonville area. That pom I still keep her picture right here beside my computer. How can I find a puppy that will stay small, my home has a small area that would not be suitable for a big dog, and know it is not from a puppy mill?

    1. Follow your local rescue and humabe society facebook pages. They will post all new adoptablecrescues. I see poms on there regularly who need loving homes.

  17. Please get your next dog or puppy from a rescue group. They are the salt of the earth.
    Never buy a puppy from a pet store.

  18. I am still just heartsick after reading Theresa Stradler’s letter to Martha yesterday. I so agree with the woman who said she hoped there will be a special place in hell for Martha and those like her who abuse the precious God-given lives of these innocent, helpless creatures. I have never before gotten involved (other than by donations) in the movement to try to stop this horrible situation, but I assure you that I intend to begin NOW. May I please encourage all of you who care to join in this movement in whatever ways you can.

  19. This brought tears to my eyes. It really beaks my heart. Where is that terrible woman who abused those animals. She should never be allowed to own an animal. I hope she goes to prison; she is despicable

  20. Anyone who operates a puppy mill ought to be caught, taken out back, and, well, you can use your imagination for the rest!! Poor dogs!!!

  21. Anyone who operates a puppy mill ought to be caught, taken out back, and, well, you can use your imagination for the rest!! Poor dogs!!!

  22. We have loved a puppy mill dog. Amazing little fighters and full of love. Issues, yes. But any dog lover can handle them. Poor babes 🙁

  23. We have loved a puppy mill dog. Amazing little fighters and full of love. Issues, yes. But any dog lover can handle them. Poor babes 🙁

  24. Absolutely heartbreaking. Run free Lily, at least you were loved in your final days. Thank you Theresa for rescuing her and for writing such a powerful letter.

  25. Absolutely heartbreaking. Run free Lily, at least you were loved in your final days. Thank you Theresa for rescuing her and for writing such a powerful letter.

  26. There should be a special place in hell for anyone that abuses animals! I can’t imagine ever being that unfeeling and money hungry!

  27. There should be a special place in hell for anyone that abuses animals! I can’t imagine ever being that unfeeling and money hungry!

  28. Thank you for caring and loving this neglected pup. She was loved by you only a short time but that meant a lot I am sure. To the greedy wicked person who did this well karma baby and she should rot in hell and Never be allowed near any animal . I cried at your powerful story . Again thank you

  29. Thank you for caring and loving this neglected pup. She was loved by you only a short time but that meant a lot I am sure. To the greedy wicked person who did this well karma baby and she should rot in hell and Never be allowed near any animal . I cried at your powerful story . Again thank you

  30. OMG! It took me an hour to read this! We live in America! The home of the free! This doesn’t seem to pertain to animals and that is sooooo wrong! Bawling my head off!

  31. OMG! It took me an hour to read this! We live in America! The home of the free! This doesn’t seem to pertain to animals and that is sooooo wrong! Bawling my head off!

  32. What is so wrong with these people that they show no compassion towards animals? This woman deserves to be shamed and shunned.

  33. What is so wrong with these people that they show no compassion towards animals? This woman deserves to be shamed and shunned.

  34. People should be required to read this before buying a dog. If more people adopted then these monsters wouldn’t have enough business

  35. People should be required to read this before buying a dog. If more people adopted then these monsters wouldn’t have enough business

  36. Thank you Theresa for making the last year of Lilys life comfortable. Martha should have to live the rest of her life the same way she treated her dogs.

  37. Thank you Theresa for making the last year of Lilys life comfortable. Martha should have to live the rest of her life the same way she treated her dogs.

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