Posted on February 9, 2012
Shame On You Gorham, New York!
I read the article in the Canandaigua Messenger A with disbelief. It appears that the town of Gorham, New York is rolling out the red carpet for a large-scale puppy mill expected to house 500 breeding dogs (yes, you read this correctly, there will be 500). The proprietors, Curtis and Jolene Martin are not new to puppy milling. In fact, they have been previously cited for their work- busted by the USDA for violations such as rodent droppings in whelping boxes, sick and injured dogs on the premises, and inadequate staffing.
Mr. Martin maintains that he is not into mass breeding just for the money. He states:
We don’t just produce as many puppies as we can, that’s not our goal. Yes, we do have to do that but it’s not the main reason we’re in it. We’re in it for the animals.
Have a look at the minutes from the December 19, 2012 Town of Gorham Planning Board Meeting. Be forewarned, reading these minutes made me feel sick inside. There was plenty of discussion
about numbers of dogs (not to worry, puppies don’t take up much room), noise prevention (not to worry, the dogs will be housed completely indoors with plenty of sound-proofing), and composting and burying of dead dogs (not to worry, there will be enough containment so as to prevent water contamination in the neighborhood). Never once during the lengthy discussion did a single board member question how the dogs would be exercised, how they would be fed, what size cages would be provided, or how the emotional needs of the dogs would be met. Was there not a single dog lover in that boardroom?
I’m not naïve enough to believe that what’s happening in Gorham, New York isn’t happening in many other towns throughout the United States. Perhaps this situation strikes a particularly sensitive nerve because it is happening in the state where I attended veterinary school and received an extraordinary education. On the one hand New York trains veterinarians to care adeptly and compassionately for dogs. With the other hand they welcome the abuse of dogs. I suspect that the Gorham town board members have their eyes focused on the prize. Can you imagine the tax revenue stream from the sale of thousands and thousands of purebred puppies?
What can you do to help stop such madness? If you happen to live in the vicinity of Gorham, New York please contact city and county officials there to find out what would be needed to change their minds about welcoming the Martins or any other puppy millers into your community.
If you don’t live in or near Gorham, but feel fired up about what is going on there please put that energy to good use. Puppy mills exist throughout the United States. Learn more about what is happening in your neck of the woods and begin a letter writing campaign, organize a peaceful protest, educate a classroom of children about puppy mills, counsel a friend or relative who is ready to purchase a purebred pup on how to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization. Never ever purchase a pup from a pet store or online site and sight unseen. Feel free to share this blog post. Every little bit helps. One less purchase from a puppy mill brings us one step closer to their eradication.
How do you feel after reading the minutes from Town of Gorham Planning Board Meeting?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.