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It's been an emotional week for Kimberley Thomas of Kismutt Rescue (see here, here and here) and then last night she got a phone call:

You will not believe what happened tonight. I got a call from one of my mill owner's in Perth East Township. He kept me on the phone for 1.5 hours. He asked me to take his dogs.....all of them! I said, "Maynard, I can't take all your dogs". He told me he didn't want to fight anymore, that this was going to cost him too much money. He said if he has to bring his kennels up to standard then it will cost him too much money. He asked for my "opinion" on what he should do. I told him my honest opinion was to get out of the dog breeding business. He said if he does he will have to get a job off the farm. His voice cracked and it went silent. When he spoke again, I could tell he was crying.

I am sitting at the kitchen table dumbfounded, holding the phone. He told me he has an order in for 12 young breeding Yorkies coming in from Pennsylvania, and he wanted my opinion as to whether he should cancel his order. I said Maynard, if you are asking my honest opinion, I think it would be wise for you to get out of the dogs. My opinion is that the Townships are going to have no choice but to force their kennels to come up to standards of the Canadian Kennel Code and meet their own by-laws.

Then he says to me....."could you buy all the dogs I have in my kennel now and I will close down"? I said, "No Maynard, I cannot buy your dogs". His voice started cracking again and he said, "I have to make a decision what to do. I can't afford to bring my kennels up to standard, and I can't afford lawyers, and I can't afford to have the OSPCA come in and charge me or I will really be in trouble." I told him again, "then get out of the dogs".

It was a very very sad conversation. He spoke so quiet and meek. He cried. He almost made me cry. This whole thing is like an emotional roller coaster. He said to me, I want you to know something. He said, "I don't believe you are discriminating against me. You have helped me out with the dogs a lot over the years and I was happy to give them to you".

I told him, that he had to understand it from our perspective too. We take these dogs and we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on them to make them well enough to find them homes. We spend our life savings on these dogs that you have made a lot of money on. When you are done with these dogs, and they are spent, we pick up the tab to make them better, we spay them, we neuter them, we make them well. It costs you nothing. It costs us thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

I did not know this but on Nov. 20th his kennel was inspected with a SURPRISE visit. The ACO came with the by-law officer. They told Maynard he has to put in a whole new ceiling, new support system for the ceiling, 2 new walls, he had to clean up, all the dogs had to be groomed, and he had to strip everything out and disinfect.

This is unbelievable to me. All this is happening because of our pressure of emails to the township. This has NEVER happened before. Every single kennel is getting surprise inspections, and they told Maynard that at ANYTIME they will be doing surprise inspections ANYTIME of day and NO NOTICE. If they fail their inspections, the OSPCA will be called and they will lose their license. I am beyond floored.

It was a very emotional conversation, and he thanked me and told me him and his wife had to make a decision.I told him to let me know what he decides.

When I got off the phone with him, I cried. I cried because this has been such a long fight and it is finally coming to fruition, but I also cried because he cried, and he made me feel guilty.

27 Comments to “A Conversation Between a Puppy Miller and a Dog Rescuer”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I cannot imagine how difficult the conversation must have been for the both of you. I have no doubt he loves his dogs, and I feel sorry for him. I think what you are doing is wonderful.

  2. mel says:

    I'm so glad you're posting about this, Fred. Especially when there are people like this: on the other side.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kimberly please don't feel guilty. He chose to exploit those dogs for financial gain and I am sure doesn't manage to squeeze out a tear for the terrible lives of the dogs living in puppy mills just like his. Confined, bred over and over and with no one to give them a word of comfort. Sounds to me that being a "user" he knew that a compassionate person like you would fall for his crocodile tears and he would be able to make more money out of his sad dogs. I would never trust him to "close down"!!!!! And if it makes him take a job off the "farm" well it just might open his eyes to a better kinder world!
    Stay strong! and be proud.

  4. WOW! Amazing letter. She shouldn't feel guilty. These people choose to get into this business and choose to run their businesses in an illegal manner, and so they must deal with the consequences. They could have bred dogs in a responsible manner and charged more for them, but they chose to cut corners and now they will lose their livelihood. I don't feel bad for them at all. The rest of us have to work legal, humane jobs that do not harm others. They should too!

  5. Luan says:

    Wow, what awesome news. I am so glad that finally, Municipalities in this region are enforcing bylaw standards on these farms and working with the OSPCA to shut them down if they do not comply and continue to neglect the dogs. These are some of the real costs and expectations that go with being licensed to operate a Dog Kennel, it is not all about easy money and using animals up without investing in their care.

    Farming is a hard life. I am sure that surviving in this economic climate is even harder for communities who adhere to old traditions and methods. I feel for people like Maynard and the family his farm struggles to support. But to compare the breeding and raising of large numbers of dogs destined to be family pets to the raising and selling of livestock destined for consumption only highlights the fact that they do not understand their product or their market and are only in it because it is lucrative. And it is only so lucrative because they are not doing it properly.

    If the Amish and Mennonites love their barns full of breeding dogs so much, if they truly believe they are producing quality puppies, why are their names and addresses not given to the end buyers? Why can't those purchasers visit them and see where their dogs came from? Why can't they see the parents and know their health and life histories? Why do they hide behind Brokers who use the modern practices they themselves reject, who post on Kijiji and Craigslist and sell to Pet Stores? They certainly rely on modern day technology and modern sensibilities when they choose to target and supply homes with mass-produced family pets. That makes them big fat hypocrites in my book.

    Kim is a hero for working so tirelessly to help these dogs and fighting so hard to get standards of care met by these communities or lose the right to operate. People like Maynard, people who have known her for years, people who have handed their dog over to her, know deep in their hearts that this is not about discrimination.

    Keep it up Kim, the tide is turning.

  6. You have no reason to feel guilty, even though I understand that you do. You have worked tirelessly and I am sure you have spent fortunes of your own money to save these poor dogs and try to educate the millers. They did not listen and finally they must pay for their free ride on the backs of these helpless souls. Persistence has finally paid off, kudos to you. Bless you and thank you for all those you have a will save.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Wow! What an amazing woman you are! Keep up the great work, all your efforts are paying off!

  8. Unknown says:

    The writer who suggests crocodile tears has a point. How many tears were shed each time the trigger was pulled on some defenseless, battered and defeated animal? How often did he cry when he sold you a cull dog? How heartbroken was he when he abused those dogs for all those years?
    I think he's scared. Just like all the other people who have lost jobs. It's scary. But, the truth remains the truth. For how many years did he run a puppy mill, with no regard for the devastating effects on those dogs? He didn't mind at all when the complicit inspector turned a blind eye to the cruelty. He didn't offer to improve anything on his own. He waited until he saw that he would be forced to comply with regulations. Even then, he wants to profit from losing his licence. If he truly cared now, he would ask you to help him find rescue for the dogs. He isn't doing that. He continues to feel he has a right to exploit not only the dogs, but you as well.
    No one with a conscience feels joy at the fear and pain of another, and that's why you're feeling guilty - it is a testament to your character. Remember though, that you would never have received that call if things had continued to go his way.

  9. Kimberly, it sounds like he was trying to dump his dogs on you so he didn't have to pay to upgrade the so-called kennels. You don't have a single thing to feel guilty about, Maynard has a lot to feel guilty about and to answer making those dogs' lives a living hell while he profited off them.

  10. Question - "If they fail their inspections, the OSPCA will be called and they will lose their license."

    What will the OSPCA do with the dogs?

  11. This is a positive thing this surprise inspecting of puppy mills. You have no reason to feel guilty. The gentleman you were speaking with obviously CHOSE to use innocent animals to make a living. If his kennels are not up to standard then he has obviously no concern for the health and welfare of the animals he was keeping as breeders and should be shut down anyway. Any legitimate breeder would keep their kennels up to code because they would be concerned for the health and welfare of their dogs in the first place, therefore they wouldn't have to make expensive repairs to stay in business. But then legitimate breeders don't view breeding as a business.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The only reason he is thinking about giving up his dogs is because he has been caught with substandard conditions and can now see the tide is turning against him. You have worked so hard for this - there is absolutely no reason for you to feel guilty. Thank you for your dedication

  13. Anonymous says:

    Please do not feel guilty. He needs to get a real job. He cannot keep abusing these animals. I truly hate puppy mills because every dog I've rescued from there has been traumatized. He needs to shut down his dirty business and others need to follow, if they don't we will continue to protest and bug the authorities until they all shut down!

  14. Anonymous says:

    the journey was difficult~ but now ~maybe the animals will " live " ~~ when one gets hit where it hurts the most ($$$) in business~is only when things change ...sad.

  15. Your heart is too big. You should not have cried for someone who made money off the backs of poor defenseless dogs. He has other choices just like the rest of the world.

  16. Unknown says:

    I don't know what the OSPCA will do with the dogs, Social Mange. I cannot take them, that is fir sure. It would not only be a conflict of interest, but I am already full right now with mill dogs to care for. Kimberly from Kismutt.

  17. CJ in London says:

    It's a step in a positive direction. I empathize with why you were upset talking to him Kimberly, you're human and you care, even though they have done horrible things to dogs. Several of my dear friends have puppy mill rescues, and on behalf of them, THANK YOU for being the leader for change.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Kim thank you from the bottom of my heart - I just went to your website and watched the "Life of a shelter dog" youtube. Thank you!

  19. Anonymous says:

    I couldn't agree more with what Barb is saying. He only feels badly because things are not going his way. There is no way on earth anyone could convince me that he cares one bit for the well being of those dogs. They are a business, to him. There is no way that he can not know that these dogs are suffering. just look at the dogs you have taken off of him over the years and spent thousands of dollars in vet bills, do you really think that he believed for a minute that those dogs were in good shape? people like this cry because they are in fear for their own future not because of concern for the dogs.

  20. Anonymous says:

    He cried because his life might change? He might not pull a profit off his mini concentration and extermination camp for dogs? He robbed many a life from many a dog. Did he cry for those lives? It never ceases to surprize me how selfish people can be.

  21. Jan.louise4 says:

    This is groundbreaking and hopefully a view of what is to come. Keep up the pressure and know that we all support you. I am so encouraged.

  22. Lea James says:

    I have my little shih tzu, Queenie, because of you, Kim. What kind of life did the Queen have before you rescued her from a mill like this man has? Did anyone care? Not the millers, and their tears are only for themselves. We are all in your debt, Kim, for what you have accomplished and we thank you for your legacy of shattered lives made whole again.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I don't think he was crying for the dogs sake. He was crying and emotional because he won't be able to make easy money off the dogs anymore and will have to figure another way to support his family! He wanted to surrender them to Kissmutt but they couldn't take them? What will happen to these dogs now?I hope that he doesn't kill them!

  24. Unknown says:

    I want these people charged not just told they have to come up to standards! Thanks Kimberly for saving my beautiful girl Panda from one of these mills! It makes me sad to think of her parents when I see her lying on the couch with her head on a pillow or running in the dog park!

  25. Unknown says:

    Thanks Kimberly for saving so many dogs and also dealing with the root of the problem of puppy mills in your area. I want to see these people charged, not just told they have to come up to standards! I got my lovely girl Panda from you and I shudder to think of the lives of her mother and father. What a difference you made to her and to so many others and what an amount of suffering you are are preventing!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Don't ever feel bad about helping dogs or about feeling empathy for another human being. You are making a difference in this world. Maynard has lost his livelihood which is the right thing. If you weren't the type of person who cried when another living human being cries in front of you, pours his heart out to you, you also wouldn't be the kind of person who could save dogs. kudos to you. As for society, we should be ashamed that we continue to allow puppy mills to operate. Breeders make a mess that Joe Q. Public pays out of pocket to clean up. The government allows animals to be tortured, sick, injured then says we either pay for it or pay to have them destroyed. What kind of solution is that? We really need to change the laws in this country so animals are treated better than property. And we also need to change our attitudes. Do you know how many times I've been able to convince dog owners to either change their dogs' living conditions or to surrender them (to whatever rescue I was with at the time) using empathy? Actually trying to understand people's motives then using kind words is helpful. The hard tack, yelling or accusing people of being awful human beings never works. I've watched countless SPCA and various cities' staff berate dog owners and get nowhere. Just something to think about.

  27. jill says:

    People do all sorts of things for money to keep going. They sell drugs, booze, their bodies, porn, and unfortunately dogs. You often do what will make you the most money to keep your head above water and we breed cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and unfortunately dogs. It pays the bills.

    Don't feel guilty for what has happened to this person but feel compassion for him and his family. There are so many animal mills that are dirty and cruel breeding the food that we eat. These animals won't be rescued after fifty litters. Only dogs have a chance at a better life away from the breeders and that is a small victory for you. I've met so many people with breeder rescues and their happy, healthy dogs who are madly in love with each other. It is the success of getting them to home and happiness that only dogs are lucky enough to achieve.

    Feel compassion for this man and his family who may lose everything because they chose the wrong animal to breed. Sadly, if this was a pig farmer and had a barn full of pigs in disgusting conditions he'd probably be getting along fine. The next question though is what did he do with those breeding doggies he had?

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A request

The reason for this blog is to help get specific dogs adopted from TAS but equally important is to try to normalize the idea of shelter dogs being just as good and just as desirable as any other dogs including those which are regularly merchandised by backyard breeders, puppy millers and those few remaining pet store owners who still feel a need to sell live animals. The single greatest stigma shelter animals still face is the belief that shelter animals are substandard animals. Anyone who has had enough experience with shelter animals knows this is untrue but the general public hasn't had the same experiences you've had. They see a nice dog photo in a glossy magazine and too many of them would never think of associating that dog with a dog from a shelter. After all, no one abandons perfectly good dogs, right? Unfortunately, as we all know, perfectly good dogs are abandoned all the time.

The public still too often associates shelter dogs with images of beat up, sick, dirty, severely traumatized animals and while we definitely sometimes see victims such as these, they are certainly not the majority and, regardless, even the most abused animals can very often be saved and made whole again.

Pound Dogs sometimes discusses the sad histories some of the dogs have suffered. For the most part, though, it tries to present the dogs not as victims but as great potential family members. The goal is to raise the profiles of animals in adoption centers so that a potential pet owner sees them as the best choice, not just as the charity choice.

So, here's the favour I'm asking. Whenever you see a dog picture on these pages you think is decent enough, I'd like you to consider sharing it on Facebook or any other social media sites you're using (I know many of you do this already and thank you for that). And when you share it, please mention that the dog in the photo is a shelter dog like so many other shelter dogs waiting for a home. If we can get even five percent of the pet buying public to see shelter dogs differently, to see how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are, and to consider shelter dogs as their first choice for a new family member, we can end the suffering of homeless pets in this country.