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

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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.


0 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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!

        • 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 🙁

        • 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.

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

          • 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

          • 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.

        • 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.


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