Last week, dogs enduring confinement, overcrowded living conditions, excessive breeding, and other problems associated with puppy mills gained as strong an ally as they could find in this country: Oprah Winfrey. Oprah taped an entire hour-long program last week on puppy mills and the related issues of shelter adoptions, spay and neuter, and euthanasia. The show is scheduled to air this Friday, April 4 (check your local market for times).
© The HSUS
HSUS investigative footage will be aired in the show.
Reporter Lisa Ling, teaming up with Main Line Animal Rescue founder Bill Smith, investigates puppy mills in Lancaster County, Penn. and then Oprah leads the guests (me included) through a powerful and emotionally compelling discussion about puppy mills and the suffering and misery for which they are responsible. She shows a remarkable amount of footage, including scenes from The HSUS’s three recent investigations of the mills and related dog auctions.
Please watch the show on Friday—it will be worth your time. And then the challenge will be for all of us—including millions of new allies who are Oprah devotees—to take collective action to turn this situation around.
It’s been a difficult issue for our movement. There’s a high level of awareness within the general public that there’s a problem with puppy mills, but there’s been little effective action to halt the abuses at mills. The key is to convince our friends, coworkers, and family members not to patronize pet stores or buy animals off the Internet. Instead, we must drive them to adopt from shelters. If a consumer insists on buying a dog from a breeder rather than adopting a homeless animal, they must do some research to find the most responsible breeder. And we need legislative solutions, too.
I’ll be writing more about that in the coming days. But let’s hope the show has the effect it had on Oprah herself.