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Religious Tolerance logo

The Amish:

Part 2:
Allegations of animal neglect in Amish puppy mills

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This topic is continued from Part 1

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2006: Seattle Times report on puppy farms in Lancaster PA:

Brian Murray, writing for Newhouse News Service, said:

"For critics, the men in the suspenders and bushy beards are masking a cruel form of factory farming behind the quaint and pure image of the Amish culture. They so badly want the kennels shut down, they have taken their fight to Congress."

" 'Amish country is synonymous with puppy mills, and Lancaster County is the capital of Pennsylvania puppy mills, with more than 200 kennels,' said Libby Williams, founder of New Jersey Consumers Against Pet Shop Abuse. 'Dogs ... should not be treated like chickens, penned up in coops for their entire lives just to breed'."

"Activists contend more than 200,000 puppies are churned out annually in and around Lancaster County." 1

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2009: ABC News report on puppy mills in Amish country:

Sharyn Alfonsi and Ted Gerstein described an undercover video shot by Main Line Animal Rescue:

"Hundreds of puppies can be seen stacked in crate on top of crate. Most of those puppies will eventually be sold to pet stores, but their mothers will likely never know a home other than this. ..."

""\The female breeders live their life producing litter after litter... until they can't any longer. Bill Smith, the founder of Main Line Animal Rescue, says that the dogs are then disposed of -- sometimes euthanized, sometimes shot. And it's perfectly legal.

"Unfortunately if a kennels breeds fewer than 60 dogs they can shoot them," he said. "If it's over 60 dogs they can't be shot. ... When they come out of the rabbit hutches they walk like crabs because they don't know what it's like to walk on a proper surface." 2

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2015: The Puppy Mill Project's report on "The Amish and Puppy Mills:"

The group comments:

"Dog farming is a large part of the economy for many Amish communities. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Holmes County, Ohio, and Shipshewana, Indiana are home to thousands of breeding dogs that will spend their lives in puppy mills. This comes as a surprise to many given the reputation the Amish, and is a side of the Amish community of which most people are not aware and would never knowingly support.

The dogs in these Amish mills are treated like livestock. They will spend their entire lives in a cage, being bred until they can longer produce. The Amish breeders that we have researched may have anywhere from 10 to over 1,000 dogs. These breeding dogs often spend their lives in a barn in stacked cages, only being removed to breed."

Included in the report is a group of photographs of Amish puppy mills that the Puppy Mill Project has researched. 3

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Legislation in the U.S. to regulate puppy mills:

Both The Humane Society of the United States 4 and Protected Paws 5 has a list of puppy mill laws by U.S. state. Almost half of the states have no regulations in place.

A federal bill, S.395, titled "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act," was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) to the 113th Congress on 2013-FEB-27. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress provided the following summary of the bill:

"Amends the Animal Welfare Act to define a "high volume retail breeder" as a person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit: (1) has an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs; and (2) sells, via any means of conveyance, more than 50 of the offspring of such dogs for use as pets in any one-year period. Considers such a breeder of dogs to be a dealer.

Requires dealers to include on licensing applications and annual renewals the total number of dogs exempted from exercise on the premises of the dealer in the preceding year by a licensed veterinarian.

Requires the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to promulgate requirements for the exercise of dogs at facilities owned or operated by a dealer, including requiring daily access to exercise that: (1) allows the dogs to move sufficiently in a way that is not forced, repetitive, or restrictive; and (2) is in an area that is spacious, cleaned at least once a day, free of infestation by pests or vermin, and designed to prevent the dogs from escaping. Allows an exemption if: (1) a licensed veterinarian determines that a dog should not exercise because of the health, condition, or well-being of the dog; and (2) such determination is reviewed and updated at least once every 30 days by the veterinarian, unless the basis for the determination is a permanent condition. Subjects such a determination to review and approval by the Secretary."

The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry but no further action has been taken as of 2015-NOV. 6

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Websites that deal with pet adoption:

Websites that deal with Amish puppy mills:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Sheldon Ingram, "Action News Extra: Puppy Mills Investigated," 2006-MAY-04, at: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/
  2. Sharyn Alfonsi and Ted Gerstein, "Puppies 'Viewed as Livestock' in Amish Community, Says Rescue Advocate," ABC News, 2009-MAR-27, at: http://abcnews.go.com/
  3. ""The Amish and Puppy Mills, The Puppy Mill Project, 2015-AUG-08, at: http://www.thepuppymillproject.org/
  4. "State Puppy Mill Laws," The Humane Society of the United States, at: http://www.humanesociety.org/
  5. "Puppy Mill Laws By State," Protected Paws, undated, at: http://protectedpaws.org/
  6. "S.395 - Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act," U.S. Congress, 2013, at: https://www.congress.gov/

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Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
First published: 2007-FEB-21
Latest update: 2015-NOV-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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