On Memorial Day weekend, I spent a few hours Saturday and Sunday at the dog park, collecting signatures on a petition for The Ohio Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions. The hope is that banning dog auctions in Ohio will put a dent in Ohio puppy mills, and also hurt those mills in other states that come here to auction dogs.
This is the second time around for the petition drive, since not enough votes were collected the first time. With enough signatures, the measure to ban dog auctions will be put on the Nov. 2012 ballet.
I'm hopeful, but worried.
Does the general public know enough about puppy mills to vote against dog auctions? Even a few of the dog park people hadn't heard of puppy mills. Will anti-puppymill groups be able to raise money to help educate the public about the horrible lives (or living deaths) mill dogs live? Will the news media provide coverage of the issue?
My dogs have gone out to lie on the grass in shade. I think of how happy and comfortable they look, then I think of mill dogs in cramped cages in dark barns where the air doesn't move. I think of matted hair, flies gathering around open sores, mosquitoes carrying heart worm. The mill dogs spend their lives like this, no doubt going quietly insane.
If everyone knew the conditions of puppy mills, would mills still exist?
I continue to work on new dog welfare designs and messages for my POD shops, convinced it's one thing I can do to try and help spread the word about homeless dogs and puppy mills. Bringing the plight of mill dogs to everyone's attention and educating others is critically important. It's something everyone can do.