A rescuer’s account of life inside a puppy factory


There’s a saying in rescue “you may lose your mind, but you will surely find your soul” I can say there are times when I feel like I’m walking on the edge of my sanity, but as for finding my soul I am not yet sure about that. Witnessing the brutality and cruelty inside puppy factories for the last 20 years I know that pieces of my soul are left behind, with the dogs. Damaged dogs, damaged souls.

It’s been a journey into the darkest places that I could never of imagined. Another world where mammary tumors dental disease, ear infections, eye infections, skin infections, wounds, pain, suffering, genetic diseases and that horrible traumatic condition the industry call “maternal cannibalization”. The conditions are pitiful; the sound can be deafening the stench overwhelming, hundreds of eyes watching your every move, screaming a silent agony. But it’s the dogs that don’t bark, that don’t stare, that try to disappear into the back of their cage hoping you wont notice them, or the dogs that spin in circles oblivious to your presence, these are the dogs that have endured too much, the broken damaged ones nearing the end of their breeding life. Sensory deprivation inflicts severe psychological trauma on our ‘best friends’. But damaged dogs can still produce puppies and as one puppy farmer put it when questioned about her dogs eye infections “Dogs don’t need eyes to pump out puppies”, and unfortunately she is right.

There is no hope for the dogs currently enduring life in NSW puppy factories, unless legislative change happens quickly.

People operating illegal puppy factories need not fear they will be shut down and have their dogs seized as there is nothing in the legislation that empowers authorities to do this, they will just receive a fine and be told to apply for a permit, become legal. The Code of Practice for breeding dogs and cats isn’t worth the paper it’s written on as there are no triggers for its use and enforcement. Puppy factories that are not code compliant are free to operate for years unchecked, once a permit to operate a puppy factory is granted by local government, there is never a need for an annual renewal conditional on compliance the Code , there is no mechanism in place to compel an audit or an inspection. Some NSW puppy factories have operated for years without one inspection. A code that is meant to protect the animals welfare is powerless, Our ‘best friends’ are forgotten and left out of a system that is more concerned with revenue raising and paperwork. And the ‘products’ coming out of these factories are removed from their mothers, flown all over Australia to sit on display in shop windows and consumers will be told “our puppies don’t come from puppy farms” – the entire industry is based on consumer fraud and cruelty.

We need to transcend this current system that is failing our companion animals. It’s already happening in Victoria thanks to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford. Victoria will be the first state to ban the sale of animals in petshops and introduce legislation that will end the financial viability of puppy factories. Minister Pulford remains determined to fulfill her election promises despite extreme lobbying and a scare campaign currently being run by industry, Any wonder puppy farmers in Victoria are talking about moving north over the border.

I know that in NSW there is a Minister that has the desire to help end this injustice, we just haven’t found them yet.

I challenge all MP’s regardless of political party to take this issue on and follow Victoria’s lead. When the majority of people in the community no longer accept a law that allows this cruelty to flourish, then its time for that law to be changed.

The commercial interests of a minority should never over ride animal welfare. There is no justification for factory farming puppies.

For these beautiful but damaged dogs, their life is their message, and for the ones that didn’t make it off the puppy factory alive, their souls cry out for justice. We create hope by acting, and as our actions create change our hopes are realized. Who will be the first NSW MP who stands up and makes this happen?

This article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald May 3 2015