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Puppy Mill Redux

The topic of "puppy mills" hit me twice yesterday. 

During the afternoon I received a call from a woman in Hammond, Indiana who had watched a recent Oprah episode about puppy mills.  I think most of us can agree that there is nothing good about puppy mills and the deplorable conditions found in them. They should be shut down and people should quit buying dogs from the pet stores that patronize them.  The caller told me that she loves The Amish Cook column and wanted to support it by joining the "Friend Club" but that this issue was holding her back.  She wanted assurance that Lovina wasn't involved in such things.  I assured her that Lovina and her family have two pet dogs and that she probably doesn't even know what a puppy mill is.  I did tell her, though, that many Amish don't view dogs as "pets" but as livestock, simply another "cash crop" that they can leverage.  This is unfortunate and contributes to the problem.

Fast-foward to last evening when I was giving a talk in Cincinnati. We had a great time and I enjoyed myself, but one woman came up to me after the talk and asked me about puppy mills.
"Several of my friends wanted to come tonight, but they just wouldn't because of this issue."

I basically gave the woman the same speech and assurances about Lovina, still the interactions puzzled me a bit.  Both women went beyond simply asking questions to blanketing all Amish with the broad brush of puppy mills.  Puppy mills ARE owned and operated by some Amish, it's hardly pervasive, but they are there.  But puppy mills are also owned and operated by NON-AMISH people.  In fact the vast majority of puppy mills are run by non-Amish people, but people don't quit associating with all non-Amish.....I'm not trying to sound defensive, I'm just curious why some people hold ALL the Amish accountable for the sins of a few, but they don't apply the same logic to the non-Amish?  Even the Oprah episode did a very fair job of portraying puppy mills as a general societal problem and not as an "Amish problem"  Any thoughts?

Re: Puppy Mill Redux


  I think the problem is that many people have unreal expectations of what being Amish is like. It is like being a member of the clergy. Everyone expects you to be perfect and have perfect children, but that is, of course, not always true. I believe that the Amish by their reputation as "religious" people, and living "relics" of the past,  have come to be seen as never doing anything wrong, so that when they engage in questionable businesses like puppy mills, they are despised for it.  Susan

Re: Puppy Mill Redux

GOD BLESS YOU Many folks are in enough of a HURRY HURRY and most of their info is from soundbites or gossip. Painting with a broadbrush is a specialty of the media, unfortunately.

If you are not mainstream you are a fair target or so it seems.  It is the same way with any group that is trying to live a more conservative lifestyle ie Christians.

Re: Puppy Mill Redux

It's easy to pick on a group that won't retailate,I don't believe in cruelty but for many decades people have humanized animals,to a point that now there is Insurance ,lawyers,and extreeme unnatural behaviour to create in animals what we can't seem to share with our fellow man,I think unnaturel ,and that means going against what God has place in order.In our local area there was more said on the asian import of these dogs. Here in this area of the dog fighting[liken to cock fights] is trying to be stopped,The "puppiesmills" are feed and watered that is more then the fighter dogs.  Rememeber,these are the ways of the world where animals most likley,have more spent on them [daycare grooming etc] then most plain or worldlychildren.

Re: Puppy Mill Redux

Some people just insist on remaining ignorant and stereotyping. It's an unfortunate but common problem.

This mentality about assuming all Amish are a particular way is the same thing that people do when they assume all Arabs are Muslims and that all Muslims are terrorists. Anything that hints of a religious connection or ideololgy always gets the short end of the stick.

The stereotyping is also pervasive with African Americans, Native Americans, people who live in mobile homes.

Much of it has to do with the way the media puts pictures together with certain words. It links a culture with a negative word and it sticks like glue in some brains. I don't blame the media itself though. There is no excuse in the information era to remain unaware of any culture, ethnicity, or religion. However people are often times all to willing to allow 1% of the population to do all their thinking for them. My term for it is "willful ignorance."

Re: Puppy Mill Redux

Well, said Moonstruck!  It's a lot easier and convenient to slap labels on ethnic/cultural sub-groups rather than exploring the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the individual....once one does that, then labels become impossible.....

LuvMaerz's picture
Re: Puppy Mill Redux

"Aspire to inspire before you expire"


I saw the Oprah special a while back, also.  There was a brief mention about the Amish, and a lot of the filming was done in Lancaster County.  Even though you couldn't see their faces (blurred out), you could tell a lot of them were Plain folks.

Probably a lot of them do feel that dogs, like livestock, are a commodity, but so do many "English".  As I have thought back, I have come to realize that when we bought our male dog, he definitely came from a puppy mill.  All of the dogs were in cages outside, and when we got him he was 3 months old and so scared of humans.  After awhile, he warmed up and became very friendly... but he is the worst-behaved dog I have ever owned, and I am not sure if his behavior might be attributed to his early life.  He runs away at every chance and will NEVER come when called.  Even a shock collar did nothing to deter him.  Now I just wish I could find him a better home Frown.

There will always be people out there who believe every story they see on TV (regardless of how it is spun to get better ratings, etc.).  I know a lot of these kind of people, and I am related to quite a few as well.  These are the same people who also think that the Amish don't pay taxes, practice imbreeding/incest, etc etc etc.  I stick to my guns on this topic.... there are bad apples in every bunch, no matter the culture, religion, race, etc.  NO ONE is perfect, but that doesn't make every apple in the basket a rotten one.

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