A lot of folks have had fun this week posting their versions of how they've dealt with the Polar Vortex - that bitter cold snap that engulfed the Midwest. For those left out in the cold, there's nothing funny. Many animal advocates were making the rounds this week looking for pets left in the cold. And, in Albany, New York, animal advocates went to court to go to bat for dogs left outside at a breeding facility. As of Tuesday, the dogs have been taken away from their owner in Sprackers, NY at least temporarily.
Flat Creek Border Collies became a sensation in a bad way on social media this week. Pictures of the dogs at a frozen, snow covered farm in upstate New York quickly spread. They had makeshift shelters - made from plastic barrels - but no real protection from the cold. Tuesday, a court in New York ruled that the 50 to 60 adult breeding dogs would be taken from the property and the owner was ordered to make corrections at the facility. Puppies born there may stay as long as they're inside when it's less than 32 degrees.
This should be a victory, but it's far from it. The problem is that this breeding facility - call it a puppy mill or commercial breeding operation - had been operating within the law. The problem is that Flat Creek Boarder Collies had been investigated and it took a court hearing for any action - no matter how inadequate - to happen. The problem is - the dogs have been taken away temporarily with puppies left behind on the property...and will most likely be returned even though rescues have lined up to take them in.
Throughout the country, these type of facilities are open for business everyday. Some hide in plain sight and others are buried so far back in rural areas that few people will find them. As the media shines the light on this one case and people watch and wait to see what the final outcome will be...millions of other dogs live in worse conditions in puppy mills under the watchful eyes of the U.S.D.A.
As this case progresses, the media spotlight will shine on Flat Creek Border Collies while so many other dogs are left behind in puppy mills. Unfortunately, it's legal and standards are not exactly high. This is why it's important to write your lawmakers, report when you see animal abuse (even if it may be legal) and never shop in a pet store - adopt instead.
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