Talk Back: Puppy Truths on TV

By on April 8, 2008 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" has a worldwide audience of 40 million people. So once word began to circulate that Oprah Winfrey would be dedicating an episode of her show to the abusive conditions at puppy mills and the related issues of pet overpopulation, euthanasia, and spay and neuter, there was anticipation and excitement in the comments that came into the blog:

I know a lot of people who are really looking forward to this show. I used to foster for a rescue organization, and it’s all we’ve been talking about for the past two days. I was glad to learn today that Wayne was on the show. I’ll be taping it and watching it tomorrow night. —Tracy Habenicht

As our nation prepares to watch "Oprah" tomorrow (hopefully everyone here loves Oprah like I do!), I’ll be praying the impact of the show will reach far and wide. I look forward to seeing you live for the first time; I’m so proud of you. When I gathered signatures for the farmed animal initiative all I could think about for weeks was where is Oprah. If only she could get wind of the animal suffering around the world, I know she could help bring about REAL change. So I’m holding out for the best outcome for all you do in the name of animals. —JG

The response amplified as the show aired across the country, and I’ve included a sampler of your comments below.

Wayne, I watched Oprah’s show yesterday, as painful as it was at times. I’m a volunteer with a rescue group here in Austin, but I’ve never seen a puppy mill firsthand. Let’s hope the show enlightened a few thousand more people. I’m grateful for The HSUS and all the great work you do. Thank you. —Sue Rostvold, Austin, Texas

Thank you for being on Oprah’s show on Friday, April 4, regarding the horrors of puppy mills. It was excellent, but so much more needs to be done. Please encourage Oprah to do follow up shows about these horrible puppy mills. The next show needs to focus on the need for federal legislation and tell viewers what they can do to convince their U. S. Representative and Senator to force these commercial breeders to improve conditions for these dogs! Thank you! —Gayle K. Randol

I just finished watching Oprah’s show about puppy mills. It was a wonderful show and I am very happy that she now considers herself a changed woman who will, in the future, adopt from shelters. I hope that this does not prove to be her last show on this subject. What I do not understand, however, is why the people who presented the material did not take the opportunity to ask viewers to contact their elected representatives about the lack of USDA inspections of these mills and the need for better laws to govern these breeding facilities. You can preach forever and encourage people to do the right thing, but only legislation and enforcement will make the HUGE changes that are necessary. —Janet White

Great news! After seeing the heartbreaking “Oprah” show today, I called my Congressman, Frank LoBiondo, who is a tireless animal advocate, and before the show even aired he had sponsored legislation that will shut down all puppy mills in this country! Kudos to the Congressman, Wayne Pacelle, HSUS and Oprah! —Maria D. Dicino

Thank you so much Wayne Pacelle from HSUS, Bill Smith from Main Line Animal Rescue, investigative reporter Lisa Ling, and Oprah for airing the recent exposé on puppy mills on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” And all the others out there that have committed to this tremendous feat of ending puppy mills forever! I can’t imagine how one can sleep at night after visiting these mills and looking into the eyes of these poor little souls. I haven’t even been able to get any of the images out of my head since I watched the show. However, as difficult as it was to watch, I knew it was my responsibility to do so. I can be a part of the solution to stop these mills. In fact, I’m so thankful that I do know now so I can spread the word each and every day. I, like many people, had heard of them but had NO idea that the conditions are so horrific. This is a horrible tragedy and it takes place in our country. I’m ashamed that the United States, our government, is aware of what’s happening to these animals in these mills and they’re not doing anything to stop them immediately. How is this legal? I thought we had laws to protect animals from abuse and cruelty. Now I learn that we actually allow it. It’s sickening. Our government should be ashamed for allowing this to take place and for not banning all puppy mills and bad breeders immediately. Thank God for The HSUS, the rescues and all the animal lovers. We all have to work together to do whatever we can to save these fur kids today… I’m in 100 percent to do whatever I can to help. I’ve started sending my donations for the fight to stop puppy mills, I’ve emailed everyone I know and asked for their help. I’ve emailed my local legislators and asked all my friends and family to do the same. I’m going to post flyers everywhere I know I can. What else can I do? I need to help these animals. We all do… —Sherry

I own four Bichons; three are rescues from puppy mills. In Wisconsin, we have many mill owners moving here since we have no restrictions. Some are aware that we don’t want them here. They have started an underhanded operation called satellites. This is when they pay regular people to take mill puppies into their homes to sell them, so it appears as though they were home-raised. I just thought that the public should be made aware of this. Thank you. —BL

This past year, I was vacationing in Texas. We were driving on the highway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Along the highway we saw a red Cocker Spaniel sitting on the side of the road. We stopped and picked the dog up. She was old, blind, and had fleas on her like I’ve never seen. I thought they were huge ants, but they were fleas. She was shaking terribly because I’m sure she could feel the vibration of the trucks on the highway, but didn’t know where she was. We stopped and picked up food and supplies for her. When we reached our destination, I immediately gave her a flea bath. She slowly warmed up to her surroundings and walked around the yard, running into the fence, but was extremely happy. She ate soft food very well, and acted like she was starved. Since we were flying home within the next two days, I knew that I needed to find someone that could take her and hopefully find her a home. With a donation, the humane society of Rockport, Texas, took her and were going to take her to a vet for a complete checkup on the following Monday. We found out that there were actually three Cockers dumped on the highway that day by a puppy mill. The other two were picked up and taken somewhere else. With the conditions that I found "Ginger" in, I can’t even imagine the horrific conditions of the mill. It must have been absolutely deplorable. I called the Rockport Humane Society to check up on Ginger and see what the vet had said. They had taken her to the vet on Monday and, sad to say, because of her terrible teeth and blindness, they had put her down. The only comfort that I felt in this was that she didn’t have to suffer any longer. Please do everything you can to help stop this horrible treatment and conditions for these dogs. I will help to do my part. —Jo Yancey Edmond, Okla.

For more than four decades The HSUS has been investigating and fighting puppy mills. We have outlined 10 ways you can help at Most importantly, we all need to act as ambassadors and encourage consumers not to patronize pet stores that sell puppies or to buy animals through Internet sites. The episode on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was a big moment in our campaign, but this is still just the beginning of our fight. Stay with us in this campaign.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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