The U.S. Humane Society, for its part, recognizes the problem and continues to lobby for expanding the Animal Welfare Act so that these mills are subject to regular inspections and forced to comply with federal standards. The CEO of the Humane Society recently told USA Today that eliminating puppy mills is “one of our top five priorities” for 2010. Earlier this month, they took additional steps towards this goal by launching a national toll free hotline (1-877-MILL-TIP) that makes it easier to report suspicious activity at local mills.
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Howard calls this progress “encouraging,” but she’d like to see more laws on the books, and soon. “There needs to be some recourse for all these customers who are buying sick animals and get stuck with thousands of dollars of medical bills.”
As long as the mills continue to do business, advocacy groups like Howard’s will continue their efforts at raising awareness and, whenever possible, to join the Humane Society and others in rescuing dogs that are in serious danger. The Companion Animal Protection Society is unique because it is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals. To do so, they partner with prosecutors and law enforcement, and do extensive public outreach through protests and by developing a program to educate teens about animal treatment in schools.
The work may be hard, but the results speak for themselves. Each member of the family of basset hounds that CAPS rescued several years ago was eventually adopted into good homes. Grandma Basset, the oldest of the bunch, seemed the most traumatized by her early experiences, often frightened of new people. Though she has since passed away, the other two are now leading normal lives. Deborah Howard, founder of CAPS, adopted the youngest member of the family and paid to treat a cough the dog had developed while in the puppy mill. The dog has since grown into an affectionate and well-loved pet.