Update on American Bulldog Puppy Mill Raid

This is an update on the American Bulldog puppy mill rescue case I mentioned in an earlier thread. Jen of Las Vegas Wrinkle Rescue is working to raise enough funds to take on ten of the rescued dogs, and they also are in desperate need of supplies. If you can help, please contact Jen at the website below.

 Las Vegas Wrinkle Rescue is a small rescue group specializing in American Bulldogs, we are working with the Houston SPCA to get these dogs into rescues that know the breed. At this moment we are scrambling to get the kennels and other various supplies that will enable us to take 10 of these dogs. So if anyone would like to help us out please visit our website at www.lvwrinklerescue.com to see how you can help these dogs.

Jen Olden
Founder LVWR

American Bulldogs Seized in Houston from "Torture Chamber"

It just doesn’t seem to stop, does it?

On Thursday, Houston SPCA officials pulled over 80 American Bulldogs out a kennel that one official described as a ‘torture chamber’. Over 30 of the animals were already dead by the time they arrived. 45 other sick and starving dogs, and a handful of cats, were removed. An SPCA officer at the scene described the dead animals as “recently decaying” or “absolute skeletons.”

This wasn’t what I suppose people typically think of as a ‘puppy mill’, with poorly bred dogs and no concern for bloodlines. Picket Pride had apparently been a serious breeder of American Bulldogs, according to customer testimonials, and a trainer who had worked with dogs sold by the kennel.

Dan Linder, a dog trainer at Action Dogs USA in Navasota, said he was shocked to hear that authorities had found such a grisly scene. Linder has trained about a dozen bulldogs people had purchased at Pickett’s Pride.

“They were pretty proud of those dogs at one time, so I don’t know why they would neglect them,” Linder said.

Rather, this seems more like a case of a breeder who let their kennel get out of hand, acquiring and keeping too many dogs to be able to care for them all. There’s a fine line sometimes between ‘breeder’, and collector. Animal collecting, or hoarding, has recently become to be regarded as a form of mental illness. Author Kelly Luker writes “For these people, one pet is too many, and a thousand is not enough as they obsessively collect more animals than they can possibly care for. They’re depressingly familiar to virtually every animal control agency, and have inspired articles, psychological studies and, of course, horror stories within the animal-welfare world.”

Other American Bulldog breeders regarded Picket Pride as having good dogs, but had heard rumors that the dogs weren’t being kept in great conditions.

Bo Waston, a Midland breeder of American bulldogs, said he had done business with the owners of Pickett’s Pride.

“In the past few years, I have heard from other breeders that there were terrible conditions. With as many animals as they had, it wouldn’t be hard for them to be in poor condition. They had too many dogs,” Watson said.

This wasn’t the SPCA’s first visit to Picket Pride kennels – in fact, SPCA cruelty investigators had been to the property before, but had never found conditions as severe as they did Thursday. According to a police official on the scene, authorities had visited the kennel about two years ago to investigate reports of poor conditions, but had not visited the site since owners made improvements after the earlier complaints.

A question could be raised here about why more follow up visits weren’t made, if officials already knew that the owners were having a hard time keeping up with that many dogs. Regular, monthly inspections could have gone a long way to saving the lives of these dogs. Hopefully this case might make some changes to the way that follow up visits are made in the Houston area. I can’t imagine that what Humane workers and police found at that kennel will be easily forgotten by any of them.

I suppose it’s also an awfully good thing that these are American Bulldogs, and not American Pit Bull Terriers. After all, in Texas there’s apparently ‘no such thing as a good pit bull‘. It’s ironic how different the fate of these dogs would have been if they were Pit Bulls, considering how close in looks and temperment most ABs and APBTs are. Our closest shelters regularly label all dogs with blocky heads and rose ears ‘Pit Bulls’, regardless of the fact that half of them are probably lab/bulldog crosses, or American Bulldogs, or Cane Corsos, or whatever. Semantics shouldn’t be  all that stands between life and death, but for more and more ‘pit bull type dogs’, it all comes down to a name.

The SPCA now has the dogs on a starvation recovery diet, and has the ultimate goal of placing them for adoption. If you can, a donation to the Houston SPCA would go a long way to helping them care for these dogs. They happen to have the highest efficiency rating of any animal charity in their area, according to the ever-helpful Charity Navigator.

Read the full story after the cut, along with a video clip of the raid. Read more

200 Dogs, Including French Bulldogs, Seized from Puppy Mill in Maine

From Itchmo:



Police authorities, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and the Animal Welfare Society, seized more than 200 dogs from a dog kennel in Buxton, Maine.”This is the largest seizure ever in Maine,” said Susan Britt, director of operations at the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.

The owners of the J’aime kennel, John and Heidi Frasca, have been served 14 summonses for having an unlicensed kennel, two summonses for animal cruelty and one for failure to provide necessary medical treatment to animals. They could face more charges after the district attorney’s office reviews the case.

“They are facilities that place the profit over the welfare of the animals,” said Carol Ann MacKinnon with the Animal Welfare Society. “The animals, the puppies that come from these mills often have defects as well as behavior problems.”

About 200 dogs and puppies were tested for giardia, an one-cell parasite that lives in the intestines, and sarcoptic mange, a skin disease. Several animals have tested positive for the diseases and are being treated.

Over the years, police said they responded to complaints about the J’Aime Kennel, but they were turned away by the owners every time they asked to inspect the facility. Last Tuesday, police returned with a search warrant and discovered what they describe as a large-scale puppy mill.

Authorities said a puppy recently sold by the kennel was diagnosed with giardia. Anyone who has purchased an animal from J’aime Kennel within the last couple of months is urged to have it tested for giardia and mange.

J’Aime Kennel is one of the many names by which the Frascas advertised their business on the Internet. The couple sold various breeds including French bulldogs, German shepherds, Brussels Griffons, mini Australian shepherds, American bulldogs and Pugs on seven different websites.

I found one of their websites:


To me, it has all of the tell tale signs of a mill website. Their ‘sires and dams’ section lists first-name only dogs. If a pedigree is mentioned, it’s to boast there are ‘champions in it’ – Champions that are never named, of course, because they’re two generations back. The photos show dogs with grievous breed faults – bad bites, tongues that can’t fit into their mouths, wall eyes. Their health ‘guarantee’ insists you return the dog to them – “J’aime Kennels does not give money refunds…..replacement only…..same breed and sex…..contingent on availability….” – something that I don’t think any caring new owner is ever going to be willing to do. Sticking that line into your contract is a nice way to be able to promise the world, and yet never have to deliver.

All of this makes me unbelievably sad and frustrated. I am old enough, and have owned Frenchies long enough, to remember a time when a single French Bulldog in need of rescue was news, meriting an article in one of the breed magazines. A puppy mill mass rescue was huge news, scrambling people from states away into action, galvanizing the community, shocking all of us with the images we were shown. Now, we have videos from the HSUS showing Frenchies stacked in crates, awaiting sale to the highest bidder at Amish Puppy Mill auctions. We routinely have footage of groups of Frenchies being hauled out of squalid kennels, filth matted, frightened and alone. We see it so often, and hear it so often, that it’s almost stopped being shocking, even if it can never stop being sad.

You can’t turn back time – I know that. You can’t tell all of those ‘new people’ who now suddenly need to own a Frenchie to pick another breed. What you can do, however, is be a breed ambassador every single day.

Talk to people – if they ask about your Frenchie, encourage them to seek out a good, ethical breeder. Suggest your own, if you were happy with them. Attend your local meet up, and help inform prospective owners on how they can find a good breeder.

For those people seeking a puppy, learn to know where to look, what to ask, and when to walk away. If that voice in your head tells you something isn’t right, listen to it. Don’t let greed or impatience push you into making a bad decision. Avoid pet shops, at all costs, and make sure you’re buying direct from a breeder and not a broker. Your Frenchie is a life time investment in friendship and love – do some research, to make sure that not only are you getting a great puppy, but that your puppy’s mother isn’t suffering quietly in some filthy pen, pumping out her tenth litter to feed the market for the newest fad dog breed.

Film clip on puppy mill bust after the cut, and a clip from the HSUS showing Frenchies at an Amish puppy mill auction.

Read more

Defining 'Puppy Mills'

I’ve been thinking about the phrase ‘puppy mills’ for the last few days – what it means, really means, when we refer to someone as a ‘puppy mill’.

Some definitions are simple – places like the ones shown on Prisoners of Greed, for example, or the ones Kim Townsend exposes through No Puppy Mills. Sad, abused, neglected dogs, stacked in filthy crates or wire cages, and denied the very basic necessities of a humane life. No clean water, no veterinary care, no human interaction, no quality food. Breeding machines, used time and time again to produce a product that can be sold. This is what I think of when I hear ‘Puppy Mill’. I think it’s what we are meant to think of. Read more