News & Events

9.30.11 - Over 600 People Celebrate Puppy Mill Awareness Day in Austin

Issue Links: Puppy Mills

Summary: Rescue organizations and advocacy groups come together to continue public education about puppy mills and backyard breeders.

Best Friends Network
By Melissa Miller, Best Friends Network volunteer

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Texas made a Texas-sized splash yet again. Hosted at outdoor music venue The Backyard on Sunday, September 25, the event helped bring light to some of the issues surrounding puppy mills and irresponsible breeding in Texas. Hosted by PAWS of Austin, the free event brought out approximately 600 attendees and dozens of (leashed) furry friends on a warm and windy Texas fall day.

“We wanted to educate and inform the public of the horrific conditions of the puppy mills and that they exist right here in our own community,” explained director of Puppy Mill Awareness Day and emergency animal responder Courtney Leigh. “Since the event we have gotten three calls for response to help with local raids."

Leigh also explained that bringing in guest speakers and entertainment helped to draw attention and respect with regard to educating the public and helped to raise awareness. 2011 speakers included Rescue Ink of New York, Chris DeRose of Last Chance for Animals, Poison drummer Rikki Rocket, Monica Hardy of Texas Humane Legislation Network, and Austin celebrity Kinky Friedman

In addition to guest speakers, the event also included a Puppy Mill Survivor Parade, rescue organization booths with pet adoptions, children's activities, vendors and live music. Rescue organizations in attendance included PAWS of Austin Great Dane Rescue, Cocker Spaniel Rescue of Austin and San Antonio, Ay Chihuahua Rescue, Austin Dog Rescue, Lucky Mutts, Lil Paws, Helping Hands Basset Rescue, Italian Greyhound Club of America Rescue, Texas Cane Corso Rescue and Central Texas Dachshund Rescue. And the Best Friends Animal Society was represented at the event, supplying information about the organization and puppy mill initiatives.

A VIP event was also held on Friday, September 23 that included a silent art auction to raise money for the cause.

Plans for Puppy Mill Awareness Day in 2012 are already in the works, as ongoing education is needed to continue to save lives and prevent animals from being treated like products.

The week prior to the event, a puppy mill bust in Williamson County, Texas saved 70 animals who were sent to the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. Just this week, more than 300 dogs were rescued from horrendous conditions at a Floyd County, Texas, kennel. Among the dogs removed were German shepherds, collies and Labrador retrievers.

Texas made significant headway on the fight against puppy mills and large-scale commercial breeders when Governor Rick Perry signed House Bill 1451 into law in June 2011. Passed largely due to the support and education provided by the Texas Humane Legislation Network, the Texas Large-Scale Commercial Breeders Bill requires the first-ever licensing and regulation standards for commercial dog and cat breeding operations in Texas and applies to any person or organization with 11 or more breeding animals that also sell 20 or more animals per year.

Nationally, Best Friends' puppy mill initiatives aim to build awareness about inhumane conditions in puppy mills, encourage people to adopt rather than buy pets, and advocate for better legislation to combat puppy mills.

Learn more about Puppy Mill Awareness Day Texas.

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