Tag Archives: breeder

Lucy’s Law – The Story and Why the Proposed Legislation is so Significant

Lucy’s Law, or more commonly seen as #LucysLaw, is named for Lucy the Rescue Cavalier. Lucy was rescued from the life of a UK puppy farm breeder at the age of 5, in March 2013. According to her website (written in Lucy’s voice),

“As a result of years of neglect I had discoloured fur on my legs from the urine and faeces I had been kept in. My fur and skin had a burnt odour to them which was a result of the ammonia in the urine burning my skin.

Lucy immediately after rescue
Lucy the Rescue Cavalier when she was first rescued.

“In addition, I suffered with bald patches to my fur, fused hips, and an extremely arched back, to the extent my back feet nearly touched my front!.  I was very underweight, weighing in at a tiny 3.5 kg when I was rescued, less than half of what most Cavaliers generally weigh.

“For a long time I was scared of doorways and even to this day, don’t like to be locked in a room or left on my own.  I eat every meal like it might be my last and when someone goes to pick me up sometimes I still cower, I have to remind myself that not every human is going to treat me badly.”

However, Lucy also adapted quickly surrounded by love in her forever home, and became “the happiest dog you’ll ever meet.” Lucy’s mom, Lisa Garner wrote.

A smiley Lucy.
Lucy after her body healed and she learned to love and trust.

Lisa began fighting for the rights of puppy mill dogs in the UK, and Lucy fast became the poster child for the fight. Sadly Lucy passed away in December of 2016 but not before she made a considerable impression on animal welfare campaigns, stars, and government officials.Lucy stop puppy farming t-shirt

In 2014, Lucy the Rescue Cavalier was awarded a ‘Heroic Hound’ award at The National Pet Show for overcoming adversity & raising awareness. Dogs Today magazine awarded her a Hero award at Dogfest 2016, also for her work in raising awareness about puppy farming. In 2016, Lucy and her mom, Lisa Garner, were floored and thrilled when she won Daily Mirror’s Animal Hero Awards – ‘Rescue Animal Of The Year’ 2016.

Plum Pudding holding sign
Plum Pudding carrying on the fight for #LucysLaw

 

Shortly after Lucy passed, Lisa rescued another dog, Plum Pudding, who now carries on the fight for her sister Lucy.

 

 

 

According to the C.A.R.I.A.D (Care and Respect Includes All Dogs) Campaign, “Lucy’s Law was launched in December 2017 at a reception hosted by vet and campaigner, Marc Abraham, of Pup Aid, and supported by APDAWG, the All Party Parliamentary Group for dog welfare, chaired by Dr. Lisa Cameron MP.

Lucy’s Law has been championed by the Daily Mirror, and has
received significant attention and support, from MPs across all
parties, from the press, and in social media.”

Lucy’s Law calls for the ban on third-party sales of puppies and to make it illegal to sell puppies without the mother present. The ban will make it incredibly difficult for the puppy mill industry to continue as most farms rely on these third-party sales to hide the atrocious conditions in which these dogs are born and live.

The launch of Lucy's Law
At the launch of Lucy’s Law in Westminster with Marc Abraham (Vet and Founder of PupAid),  Rebecca Weller (PupAid), Lisa Garner (Lucy the Rescue Cavalier), Dr. Lisa Cameron MP, Peter Egan.

According to the Daily Mirror, “The call for a ban on third-party puppy sales has the backing of the RSPCA, while the Kennel Club recently stated: ‘Third-party selling is effectively puppy dealing. We believe that legitimising third-party sales contributes to the increasing problem of puppy farming and buyers not knowing where to get a well-bred puppy.'”

However, the UK government is considering more lenient restrictions despite acknowledging both the research and the problem.

The C.A.R.I.A.D. Campaign site states, “The Government rejected the recommendation, referring to lack of clarity over enforcement and stating it supported “robust licensing” as an alternative solution. However, the Government also reiterated the importance of prospective buyers seeing puppies interacting with their mother which seems to conflict with continuing permission for commercial third-party dealers to sell puppies, where the mother is not present.

“Instead of a ban on these third-party sales, the Government, at the moment, prefers the idea of continuing to license them. This means that anyone in the business of selling pet dogs would require a license, as is currently the case. Licensing is based upon the assumption that animal welfare needs can be met, and that the regime will be able to prevent harm from occurring.”

In reality, a licensing regulation would put most of the responsibility of detection on the public and would likely create stretched resources unable to investigate every case of potential unlicensed puppy sales.

We have seen the impacts of licensing regulations in various states and counties throughout the United States, very few of these have had much effect if any.

Support for Lucy’s Law has been rushing in from across the world. Between the tweets of photos of pets holding signs that say I Support #LucysLaw, to the number of people who have written the Daily Mirror with pictures of their pets, stories, comments, and support. (Callie is in this list of supporters!)

Goya the Setter on Twitter
Goya the Setter Supports Lucy’s Law on Twitter

Lucy’s Law could be the first step in breaking apart the commercial dog breeding industry in the United Kingdom. The legislation could also be the building block for other countries to enact similar laws, protecting their dogs as well.

Please, if you haven’t, take the time to write the Daily Mirror (using their form at the bottom of the page) in support of Lucy’s Law. Tweet if you have Twitter. If you are in the UK, write your local MP. If you are elsewhere, write your representatives, over and over and over!

The more people fighting for it, the louder we get!

In South Australia, there have been recent changes to their dog and cat welfare policies. The government has put new stringent licensing systems in place which also give officials the ability to take photographs, seize evidence, and require people to provide their name and information without jumping through so many hoops. Perhaps this will be an example of whether or not licensing policies help puppy mill dogs.

What If I Do Want to Find A Good Breeder?

It’s evident that I am a rescue oriented person, and so is this blog. However, I will admit that my bucket list includes purchasing a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy from a breeder. At some point. Way down the road. Still, I want to, and I never want individuals to come read this blog and wonder why it seems like rescue people will not talk about purchasing a dog, ever.

So, you want to buy a puppy, but you want to do it right. That’s cool. Support good breeders all the way! Without good breeders, the Cavalier breed would die out.

Cavalier king charles spaniel puppies
Adorable Cavalier puppies in all four colors.

First, a question. Is the puppy a gift? If so, remember, pets should NEVER be given as gifts, and decent breeders will not sell a dog for someone to give as a gift.

USDA approved puppy mill
USDA approved puppy mill

How do you find a puppy without supporting a puppy mill?

Sometimes that’s harder than it seems. Aside from avoiding those pet store pups and any that can be purchased over the internet, how do you know? Not all puppy mills look like this one.

Some mills are smaller, harder to see, but are still putting profit above the welfare of their animals. On top of that, finding a good breeder with a litter of puppies can take more than a year.

Not all breeders are great. Even some of those listed on sites like the AKC breeder recommendation list don’t fall into the category of a “good breeder.” The AKC doesn’t have the capacity to inspect every breeder they certify and have acknowledged such.

Puppy mill in a house
Puppy Mill run out of a house

 

Some breeders might look good from the outside but be running small puppy mill operations out of their home or another location.

 

Some breeders may not have that many dogs, but if they don’t care for the health of their females, and breed them repeatedly for several litters, the breeder still fits in the category of using the animal for profit.

Some breeders think they are doing everything right but don’t health test. These breeders aren’t contributing to the future health of the breed, which is currently tenuous, and therefore do not care about the welfare of the dogs. Find out more about health testing at Cavalier Health.

Some breeders don’t want you to visit, or don’t want you to see any of their other dogs aside from the mother. This is a big red flag. It may well look like the house above if they are unwilling to show you where the dogs live.

Some breeders don’t want you to offer you any guidance after you purchase the dog. This is not necessarily a sign of a puppy mill but just a sign of a breeder worth avoiding.

Ok, all these no’s probably aren’t helping you figure out how to tell what a GOOD breeder looks like and how to find one. 

A breeder you found online is neither a good or a bad one although their website may or may not give you some information about them.

The first sign that you have found a good breeder is if you feel a little interrogated, politely of course. Questions you should be asked include:

  • Why do you want a dog and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in particular?
  • Who in your family will be responsible for the pup’s daily care and training?
  • Where the dog will spend most of his or her time?
  • How often will the dog be left alone?
  • Can you provide both veterinarian and personal references?
  • Will you sign a contract to spay/neuter the dog?
  • Are you willing to sign a contract agreeing to return the dog should anything change in your situation?

A breeder is going to want to know all these answers in depth. They are also going to want to hear you ask questions. Some things you need to ask are,

  • How old are the mother, father, and their parents? The mother and father should be 2 or older and the parents preferably 5+.
  • Do you health test? Will you provide me with the results of these parents/grandparents? (You are looking for MVD and SM in particular.)
  • Can I come visit?
  • When is your next litter of puppies planned?
  • Do you have a waiting list?
  • Can you provide me with references?
  • Do you breed any other dogs? Breeders with multiple kinds of dogs are not likely to be good breeders.
  • Are you willing to answer my questions after a puppy comes home with me?
  • Do you have a contract?
One website you can start with for a list of breeders, as well as more information on purchasing a puppy, is spanielking.

 

Good luck!

Happy Gotcha-Day Callie-Wag

To the girl who started it all, the one who fit the missing space in our family, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love you.

You are magic. Your presence has changed our family for the better since the day we saw you; first on Petfinder, with your terrified eyes and ridiculous looking picture – you still make yourself look like a fat turtle in some photos – and then, in person, at the rescue. Again you looked scared beyond belief but you rose above your fear to protect your fellow adult rescue, cutting her off to keep her from pacing too close to the wires where she would jump up and cut her feet. That’s who you are. A lover, a protector of other animals from whatever possible abuses you had experienced at the puppy mill where you had been churning babies out for years.

Even in your eyes on the car ride home, I could see the love blooming, despite your understandable myriad of fears.

I can’t fully put into words just how special you are, Callie, instead I have a photo tribute. Happy First Gotcha-Day baby girl!

The ride home from the rescue
Is that love hidden behind the fear? The car ride home.

 

Callie snuggling on couch
Callie learned that kids make the best friends, and cuddle buddies.
Callie running
Callie learned to go for walks, even if it meant she had to run to catch up
Callie walking
She got a little better at walks 😉
That first time you fell asleep on me. ❤️
Callie watching us in the snow
Callie learned what snow was, but questioned why we played in it.

Callie did amazing in her first obedience class.

And then she got to learn what a real vacation was on our Cavalier & Mother’s Day vacation at Wilburton Inn in Manchester, VT.

Our Twitter CavPack book with our dear friends’ faces and silly pictures throughout.
That time we brought home a puppy. You don’t look very happy in this photo, Callie.
Rescue Cavalier's Callie and Charlie snuggle
Serious little brother love happened anyway.

So much so, he taught you to play –

We started having doggie play dates and you found a new best friend.
Although you’ve been a bit sick lately and we’ve even started acupuncture to help, that hasn’t changed everything about you.
Callie's smile
You’re still one of the smiliest girls around 😊
We were bad, we couldn’t resist getting her some kind of treat for her gotcha-day 😉😁
Because this girl gets to experience freedom forever, even the freedom to go past the yard limit and get in trouble (recognize that facial expression anyone 😂)

Mom made her dinner gotcha-day cake, although sitting at the table was a little scary!

Charlie's bowtie
Charlie looked dapper with his first bow-tie

I love you forever Callie Wag. I hope we will be so lucky as to be celebrating your gotcha-day next year when you turn 8.

pic of Callie snuggling
My heart and soul. This dog is magic.

If you want to see another small tribute to Callie, check out this post from the mini version of Callie’s Wag, a new blog on a local website called the DailyUV.

Rescuing Puppy Mill Girls – Charlotte and Felicity

Charlotte was three months old when her mom adopted her. She had gone to the pet store for rabbit food, but,

“[There was an] adoption drive all set up and boy did they have puppies that day – tons. Most were in one big pen, jumping all over each other and yapping.

‘She was sitting by herself in her own crate. I swear she stared me down. When I walked over, she cautiously wagged her tail a little bit and sniffed my fingers. I asked if I could hold her and when I did, she put one paw on each of my shoulders and buried her head in my neck. So I got a puppy that day.”

Charlotte's first day
Charlotte, the day she was adopted

Charlotte was from a puppy mill but was rescued when she was still a young pup. She was with a rescue called Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education (C.A.R.E.) out of Hillsboro Missouri.

She had already been bounced around between homes at only three months old. The first adopters gave Charlotte back and then she had two foster homes before her forever home came along. Her mom noted that it was a while before Charlotte realized she was going to stay.

Charlotte and mom on bench
Charlotte and her mom

As with many puppy mill puppies, Charlotte was often sick. Her mom said “I don’t believe she came from a very healthy mother. Most of a puppy’s immune system comes from their mother’s milk, and she didn’t have much of one at all. We went through a few upper respiratory infections when she was younger, lots of tummy troubles, and then it turned into a slew of eye infections, UTIs, and eventually diabetes when she was five.”

But even diabetes didn’t stop this pair from their exploits. Like many Cavaliers, Charlotte is her mom’s best friend. She’s 9 years old now.

“Charlotte is my nonstop adventure buddy. We have taken road trips all the way from our home in St. Louis to Galveston, TX, Key West Florida, Savannah, GA, northern WI, even NY, and everywhere in between. Most of the time, it’s just her and me on the road trips. Those are my favorite trips. Just me and my dog on an island, or a mountain, or lakeside, and in the car for hours. She loves fancy hotels and acts like a total diva when we stay in one. When we are home, we go to all the local parks, the drive-in movies or movies in the park events, food truck festivals, run in charity 5ks (her in the stroller) for local rescues, she rides on my paddle board while I paddle around local lakes, and we brunch out on dog friendly patios. Things got tricky when she was diagnosed diabetic, but learning to home test has meant that not only are her sugars very well controlled, but I have the freedom for her to live a normal dog life. I just take that meter and some snacks everywhere so that if there is ever a problem, I can detect it and treat it on the spot. 3.5 years diabetic and you would never guess it, she lives a totally normal, dog life, she just gets poked several times a day, which she doesn’t mind. She’s been the best friend I didn’t know I was missing. She is my absolute heart and soul.”

Charlotte on the beach
Charlotte the Beach Dog

Recently, Charlotte and her mom decided that it was time to add to their rescue Cavalier family and they brought home Felicity. Felicity is a 6 yr old former puppy mill breeder who was saved from the auction block by Gateway 4 Paws, in O’Fallom IL.

Felicity on the couch
Felicity arrives home and discovers the couch!

Gateway for Paws attends puppy mill auctions where they sell off various breeder dogs and puppies, and they buy as many as they can to rehabilitate them and get them out of the cycle. And, as is often true for rescues, they spent four times what her adoption fee was to get Felicity out of that auction and fix her up. She got spayed, cleaned up, and had 11 painfully rotten teeth pulled.

Felicity’s new mom said, “9\16\17 is the day she was thrown up on the auction block, listed as a breeder, covered in matted fur, a mouth full of rotten teeth, and her eyes swollen shut from infection. She was only with them for a week. I adopted her on 9\24. She was still recovering from surgery at the time and required meds, and we are still treating the eyes (I’m betting that will be lifelong), but the foster knew what I go through every day with Charlotte’s diabetes, so she knew I was responsible enough to handle it. Special needs pups are right up my alley.

‘When I applied to Gateway 4 Paws, it was actually because they had posted some cavalier puppies for adoption. When the foster called, she told me about Felicity. I knew that this mill mama needed me and deserved to have a happy, spoiled life. I also knew the puppies would have no trouble finding homes, while not too many people want older rescue dogs, especially when she wasn’t exactly a beautiful cavalier in her current state, but I saw it and knew she was gorgeous under years of neglect.”

And she’s right. It can be hard to see the love and beauty under the horrible condition the mills have left the mamas in. But, if you look closely, there is a glimmer in these mamas, a force of light, because they have already spent so much of their lives fighting to live, they are going to fight to love.

I asked Felicity and Charlotte’s mom how much Felicity has changed already, and her emotional response belies the feelings that most of us have, especially when rescuing puppy mill dogs.

“I have never cried so much in my entire life! Every time she learns something new, that it seems all dogs should know all along, like what a treat is, or a warm bed, you can see the utter joy in her eyes. The fact that she is so willing to trust me and wants to make me happy (that cavalier need to please), even after all the crap she has been through just amazes and inspires me. It was slow going at first. She was just terrified and confused. I patiently taught her all I could. I made a point to hold her and cuddle her, even though it made her uncomfortable at first, so she could see that I wasn’t anything to be afraid of. I had to hand feed her the first night, but now she eats like a champ.

‘My friend who has two mill rescues told me to take her everywhere, make people pet her and hold her, so that’s what I’ve done. She’s been to the pet store a couple times, my parents came over, I introduced her to the neighbors (who work in rescue and have three rescue beagles), and then I mustered the courage to take her to the Canine Carnival this weekend, which I was afraid would scare her, but instead she was so happy. She was totally loving it, letting strangers pet her without flinching, sniffing other dogs, she was all about it!

Stroller dogs in pumpkin patch
Charlotte and Felicity in the Pumpkin Patch

‘She still panics and runs from me sometimes, hasn’t slept through the night a few times, and gets a little freaked out in the back yard if the air conditioner kicks on or a noisy car goes by. She’ll learn. I don’t believe she sees well, which probably contributes to her anxiety. My vet said there is significant damage to her eyes from years of neglect, which may or may not reverse. She greets me at the door now when I get home from work, Cavalier tail wag in full effect, so we’re getting there.”

It sounds like it! And what amazing rescue stories 😍

Gotcha day and welcome home
Gotcha Day and Welcome Home all in one!
Snuggling with mom
Charlotte taught Felicity all about snuggling with mom on the couch.

Cavalier Rescue of AL talks Puppy Mill Rescues

Today is Puppy Mill Awareness Day.

Today is the day dedicated to educating the public about the horrific conditions in which many dogs are being bred.

Today is a day devoted to dogs like Callie and Charlie. Callie who spent six years in a mill, being bred over and over and over again. Charlie, who was lucky to escape the cycle at 3 months and end up with people who understand and are willing to deal with his luxating patellas.

To dogs like Dewey, who was rescued by Cavalier Rescue of Alabama at a mill dog auction and is learning love with his foster mom, waiting for his forever home.

 

I had the chance to interview Brittney Wilk, Co-Founder & Rescue Coordinator at Cavalier Rescue of Alabama and foster mom of Dewey, among several other dogs at the house.

Brittney and her dogs
Brittney Wilk, left to right: Juliet, Dewey, Harley, Happy Go Lucky, Romeo

Me: How long have you been rescuing?

B: I have been rescuing for about nine years. I started doing it privately and then found Cavalier Rescue USA. There I was the coordinator for Alabama and Georgia for several years before my rescue partner, and I co-founded Cavalier Rescue of Alabama together in January 2015.

Me: What got you into it?

B: I got into Cavalier rescue after I purchased my first two Cavaliers – Like so many people, I felt I had done my research but at that point didn’t have a trained ‘eye’ to pick up on ‘red flags’ and ending up discovering that I had purchased from a substandard breeder.

My two puppies were very, very ill with pneumonia for months. Throughout their journey of getting them well and afterward, I heard of so many people with similar stories as mine and felt it was so important to help educate and advocate for the breed. Learning more and more about substandard breeding and Cavaliers being so prolific in that industry, I found rescue and felt that is where I could make a difference.

At that time I got involved in Cavalier Rescue USA, there was not an in-state coordinator there, and the role sort of fell into my lap. I had no idea what I was necessarily getting in for and certainly had no idea that it would be so life changing and lead me to where I am today.

Me: Do you work outside of rescue or has it become your full-time job?

B: We are an all-volunteer organization, so none of us collect any salaries or stipends for the rescue work we do. Therefore we do have to manage full-time jobs in addition to our rescue work which at times can be challenging and overwhelming as our rescue work is definitely a full-time job.

 

Dogs on bed
Even the dogs get tired with all that work!
L to R: Romeo, Happy Go Lucky, Harley, Dewey, Juliet

Me: How many hours a week do you think you put into rescue?

B: I have never kept track of my rescue work hours, but it is certainly around the clock from the moment I open my eyes until I fall asleep. If I had to make a best guess, I would say on average about 60 hours a week with there being times of heavy intake when we put forth much more than that.

Me: How many rescues do you personally have?

B: I have four rescues, and am currently fostering two. I have two rescue alums from Cavalier Rescue USA and two rescue alums from Cavalier Rescue of Alabama, and then two current Cavalier Rescue of Alabama fosters.

They are all puppy mill survivors as my expertise is in rehabbing abused, neglected, emotionally damaged and under-socialized dogs.

Me: Why did you rescue?

B: I rescue because I know I can provide a home, family, endless love, and wonderful care to Cavaliers in need. My favorite thing is seeing [my rescue dogs] relaxed and peaceful after enduring such suffering and stress.

Happy dogs
Happy dogs ❤️ In no particular order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the most important thing though – today may be Puppy Mill Awareness Day – but every day these dogs are stuck in mills, every day these dogs need you to fight to end puppy mills, to stop the breeders that are cruel, that breed without care, that shove their dogs into tiny cages. FIGHT BACK FOR THE DOGS.

Fight for the love that these dogs still have, somehow, inside them.