For those of you who don’t read my Heavenly Creatures blog over at Patheos.com, you may have missed the hot topic last week about a commercial dog breeding facility proposed for Gorham, NY. The town board originally approved a special use permit for Curtis and Jolene Martin, who currently operate a facility in Varick, NY (near Seneca Falls in Seneca County). The plan is to build a facility to house 200-500 dogs to breed and sell wholesale to pet stores across the country.
The approval for the special use permit was unanimous, but once word got out about the planned breeding facility, it was clear the board didn’t have any idea what they’d just OK’d. The Martins run what is nicely called a wholesale dog breeding facility – but is also referred to as a puppy mill (or puppy “farm”, if you listen to Channel 10 news). Hundreds of dogs bred over and over and over to produce puppies for sale to commercial pet stores. They’ve been cited for violations in the care of the dogs. And even without violations, breeding 500 dogs factory-style just isn’t right any way you look at it.
Well, that’s how I feel about it, anyway.
It’s a hot story that culminated Wednesday with an open meeting in Gorham that saw 400 people show up to share their views. The meeting opened with a statement from the town supervisor that the permit had been nullified and plans would have to be approved by the Ontario County Planning Board. If you missed anything, you can catch up on the Heavenly Creatures blog:
- Large “wholesale” dog breeding facility (puppy mill) approved for Gorham, NY
- Gorham Town Supervisor recommends moratorium on dog breeding
- What you can do about animal cruelty in your community (whether you live in Gorham or not)
- USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reports on the Martin’s Seneca Falls facility
- Gorham residents speak out on dog breeding facility; approval nullified for now
One of the things people who were riled up did to try and make a difference was to start petitions. One girl in Buffalo collected 9,000 signatures. And I found out today that someone had started a petition opposing the puppy mill, with the target as my blog … to “STOP HEAVENLY CREATURES APPROVAL TO BUILD AND BREED.”
Which is ridiculous, because I’m a writer, not a breeder or a builder.
And even worse, they used a photo of my Scout as the logo for their petition.
So if you are asked to sign a petition about a puppy mill that includes “Heavenly Creatures” and this photo of Scout – don’t sign it. I have no clue what this person is trying to do – he appears to be an animal welfare advocate - and I don’t want my readers to be taken in because you see darling Scout’s photo and assume I’m involved.
All of the hubbub did do one positive thing: I’ve become fascinated by the fervor that some animal welfare advocates have approached this topic; it reminds me of the polarizing, self absorbed, single issue mindset I’ve seen in religious communities. People driving hours to protest puppies while ignorning animal cruelty to other animals. Also surprising: the diverse attitudes within the Christian community; there were people of faith whose response to the puppy mill issue is “it’s their business.” So I’ve launched a little project to research and write more on animal advocacy and religion.
Well, that’s all the writing news from The Funny Farm for now. In dog news?
My crying bouts over Scout have become controllable; his remains are in a lovely wooden box from the vet, which is inside a pretty box that says, “Love and Inspire”. It also holds his collar and paw print in plaster (OMG that was such a lovely thing to get from the vet). It sits near my bed. I still can’t go into my office, where he spent most of his time. He preferred to hide under my desk and wedged behind the chair. Even though he chose that spot, it pains me to think of him there, hiding out by himself. I’m plagued by guilt over what I could have done, should have done, the stress his had in the last six months of his life with Bandit and Bailey. Sigh. I need to go find the tissues.
Bailey is doing a lovely job with her puppy school practice, what little we manage to do. She’s quite fond of doing circus dog tricks – through the hoop, over the yardstick; I think she’s channeling Scout. Bandit occasionally seems a bit lonely without his brother but he’s one super snuggle monster. We’ve been hitting the park for romps and runs, and Bandit made a new friend at Beyond Hardware. You can read more on his blog. These two are still separated 24/7 but they’ve calmed down a lot. I still don’t leave them home alone together, even separated. Bailey is an escape artist and if she broke out of her crate … well, we’re not ready for that yet. But she’s doing great working on spending time in a crate. And when I go somewhere, I just take a dog with me!
Well, that’s all for now. Stay tuned and keep in touch!