The Truth About AMISH COUNTRY
The Amish (and Mennonite) community are known as “The Gentle People”. Amish Country is known for its wonderful restaurants, craft shops and well-kept Amish farms. Beautiful fields where bearded men in wide-brimmed hats lead teams of shaggy plow horses tilling the soil. Hay fields dot the rolling hills of Amish country, and the fields that sustain the simple lifestyle are mostly bare. But one crop the most important crop to some remains: Puppies. Be warned … the Amish life that is depicted for tourist is nothing like the reality. There is animal abuse among Amish in the form of puppy mills. A simple Google search for Amish puppy mills will return thousands of hits. For farmers, a big crop of dogs can gross up to $500,000 annually, with successful operations netting six figures. For critics, the men in the suspenders and bushy beards are masking a cruel form of factory farming behind the quaint and pure image of the Amish culture.
In areas of the U.S. where Amish dwell, there is a high number of puppy mills. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement lists 243 kennels in Lancaster County. Pennsylvania, 98% of them owned by Amish. Holmes County, Ohio, has 470 kennels — more than any other county in the nation.
Do you know what puppy mills are?Puppy mills are mass dog-breeding operations. They have been around for decades, but they continue to be a problem because unsuspecting consumers keep buying those adorable puppies in the pet store window or recently on some Internet sites and ads in local newspapers. But many times, these chanels masquerade the truth … they are dogs purchased from puppy mills.
These canine breeding facilities frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly for breeding stock animals who are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. After their fertility days are over, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.
Daily existence for these dogs is a life of neglect, abuse, torture and suffering, and when they have outlived their usefulness, an often brutal ending! Disease, malnutrition, dehydration, sickness and death flourish in cramped filthy cages, freezing in the winter, scorching in the summer. Females bred and over-bred from their first heat cycle through every subsequent one until their bodies are so used up and broken down that death is a welcome release for them. They never know a kind word or a gentle touch. And this description barely scratches the surface of the cruelty.
Do a Google on the Amish and puppy mills. Look at the pictures and read the newspaper articles that come up. Nothing has changed despite attempts to change the laws.
While the Amish landcape is among the most beautiful in the world, the puppies bred at the mills NEVER see the outside of wire cages that are usually stacked on top of each other in dark barns.
We are not throwing ALL the Amish into the same category. Actions of a select few is might sound prejudiced, but hold on! The puppy-mill breeders might be just a small fraction or a very small percent of the Amish population, but the majority of the population have chosen to ignore what is going on in their own backyards. NOTHING IS BEING DONE TO THEM! And we must remember the words of writer, political activist and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel… “to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all.” And the Bible itself says, in James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
“IF” the Amish faith opposed this mass production and torture of dogs, I would hope the people would rise up and take a stand. And what of the Bishops of the Amish faith? They should make it known to all who are of the Amish community that anyone who contributes to this horror will be SHUNNED! What is shunning? Members who break church rules may be called to confess before the congregation. Those who will not correct their behavior are excommunicated. Excommunicated members are shunned in order to shame the individual into returning to the church. Members may not accept anything from the shunned person like a handshake, payment or automobile ride. This form of discipline is recommended by the bishop after a long process of working with the individual. Excommunicated members will be accepted back into the church if they return and confess their wrongdoing. Those in the Amish community can be shunned for something as simple as painting their barn in an unapproved color … SURELY the act of animal cruelty deserves nothing less from their own peers.
Head coverings, long beards and solid-colored clothing DO NOT a Christian make! And as far as speaking in German, puppy mills are WRONG in ANY language!
But as they say, MONEY TALKS. The Amish have been allowed to continue their inhumane treatment of animals without pressure from the rest of the population because of the money that tourism brings to Amish businesses.
Most people who visit Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Holmes County, Ohio go there to experience the Amish Culture. Yes, the Amish in general are a hard working, modest people. But ethical? NO! Hypocritical? ABSOLUTELY. Selling your religion for tourism bucks and international trade does not seem ethical to me. On top of that, they have others (“the English” as they call outsiders) post on the internet for them. Isn’t it amazing how these Godly people who shun the outside world have no qualms about using a third party to do what God has forbidden them from doing. I would say that the majority of Amish are living double lives or have double standards.
The Amish continually breed poor quality pups and keep their breeding animals in a state that defies decency. They all should be barred from dog breeding as all they breed is poor quality dogs. They get away with it because people think that religious people wold never do anything bad. We can’t let their religion exempt them from humane treatment of animals!
SHOCKING!!! In Berlin, Ohio, if it weren’t for the constant yelping of 313 dogs confined in stacked cages in a room closed off to the auction block, it may have appeared to an outsider as just another run-of-the-mill day at the Amish Flea Market. But the Buckeye Dog Auction has grown into anything but run-of-the-mill. Some breeds are able to fetch more than a few thousand dollars, while others can net hundreds of dollars for the seller. The auction and the success of local breeders has convinced others to forsake their farm livestock for canines. Apparently, there’s more money in dogs than cattle.
Take Ervin Raber of Millersburg. Raber is the co-founder of the Buckeye Dog Auction. He also runs a large kennel with about 50 breeding females and 12 male studs. His operation has been inspected and even the president of the Holmes County Humane Society, Karole Butler, gave it high marks. Puppy millers that’s a big controversy going on right now, Raber said. I am currently the president of the Ohio Pro Dog Breeders Assn. and in our opinion there is no such thing as a puppy mill.
Raber said some of the opposition facing the dog breeding business comes from people who believe that every dog should be born in somebody’s kitchen and raised in their backyard. The thing that they understand the least is that these kennel dogs were born and raised in a kennel environment, he said.
They have never been a house pet, so it’s not stressful for them to be confined among 20 others and be used as breeding stock. Many local breeders look to the Buckeye Dog Auction as an opportunity to improve their stock and turn a quick profit.
The auction house takes in a $10 registration fee for every dog to go on the block and a 10 percent commission on the sale. Raber said mixed breeds will sell for as little as $25 while a purebred female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel might sell for more than $5,000.
Raber said he tries to hold about 10 auctions per year. The auction group sponsor seminars for area breeders to learn how to improve kennel conditions and breed quality. One lecture featured a friend of Raber’s who houses more than 2,000 dogs in his Missouri kennel.
Raber said he likes dealing with pet shop brokers. It’s a cut and dry thing, he said. They give you a check and you never hear back from them.
Raber and his colleagues do fear backlash from animal rights groups. That’s the reason I run the auction through a post office box in Walnut Creek. We actually get more e-mails from tourists who come and see signs and pet shops with the Amish puppies for sale.
It MUST Be Stopped! More than 400 kennel licenses are issued in Holmes County alone. Puppy sales have turned into big business! Few are legitimate, well-kept kennels where the breeders limit the number of dogs they have, maintain their physical and mental health and, best yet, care for them like the loving pets they are. The rest are puppy mills.
What is unbelievable is there is no limitation on how many dogs a kennel can have. In Holmes County, there are puppy mills with from 75 to more than 100 dogs.
This is outrageous. How can anyone possibly give this many dogs all the care they need both physically and emotionally?
Even if these puppy mills were to give adequate physical care to their animals, what kind of quality of life do these poor dogs have? These animals are certainly lacking in love, nurturing and companionship. Isn’t that the reason we have pets?
When their usefulness is gone, these dogs are dumped like garbage into the dog pound where they try to undo all the damage that has been done. Or worse, they are taken behind the barn and shot, or drowned in the family pond. Their puppies are sold as pets, but the parents of these puppies are not treated as pets. They are nothing more than livestock to the perpetrators of this disgraceful act. As 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724ï¿½1804) said…We can judge the heart of a man by the way he treats his animals.
It’s imperative that we stop this inhumane process. The best way to stop puppy mills from continuing their abuse is for consumers to stop buying the puppies they breed. Many people think they are rescuing a puppy by buying one. Don’t be fooled. You’re just creating space for another puppy to be sold.
Never buy a dog unless you can see for yourself where it was born, how the parents are kept and what condition all the dogs are in. A reputable kennel owner and breeder will never sell to a pet store, and they will willingly give you the name of their veterinarian as a reference.
Another way is to contact your county dog warden and your commissioners to make sure that they are enforcing what is enforceable. Call or write your state representative. Changes must be made through the law in order to protect God’s loving, innocent creatures from this kind of abuse.
All of us here at NJM are passionate when it comes to dogs everywhere. It has become our mission to raise awareness of any issues that affect them, from their health, food and nutrition and training to their welfare. Canine advocacy is something that everyone who cares about dogs needs to be aware of and we all need to share that and raise our voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
But the cruelty is not limited to Pennsylvania or Ohio. There are also Indiana’s Amish Puppy Mills. When people think of the Amish, they tend to think of a people who live according to God’s word and religion. But watch the following video and you will see a side of the Amish that you never knew. You will see cruelty, heartlessness and greed.
I warn you, there are some graphic images on the video. But if you care anything about the problem of puppy mills, you will force yourself to watch this. Many things have touched and saddened me through the years, but nothing like this. I pray that as you watch it, your tears of sadness may turn into tears of determination.
Sadly, Oprah’s beloved cocker spaniel Sophie died on March 10, 2008. “Sophie gave me 13 years of pure unconditional love,” Oprah says. “She was a true love in my life. In fact, she’s been one of the greatest reasons for me to be a kinder, gentler person.” Just before Sophie passed away, Oprah and thousands of drivers saw a billboard just off the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago that read, “Oprah: Do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need you.”
The man behind the billboard is Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue. Every year, Bill and several volunteers rescue hundreds of abused, unwanted or abandoned animals, rehabilitate them and adopt them out to families. Many of the animals Bill rescues come from puppy mills.
The billboard certainly worked. “It is my belief that when you actually see this, America, with your own eyes,” Oprah says, “that you are not going stand for it.”
And this one-hour program has probably done more to awaken the awareness of this “breeding-for-bucks” mentality. The public outcry has been nothing short of miraculous!
If you are thinking about adopting a new pet, make your first stop the local shelter or animal rescue office. “You can find any kind of dog you want, any age you want, at a shelter or rescue,” Oprah says.
One of Oprah’s favorite Christmas gifts last year came from a neighbor who made a donation in Oprah’s name to a no-kill shelter called The Lange Foundation. Oprah says she wasn’t aware of the gift until she opened a very special Christmas card “written” by the dog saved by that specific donation. That dog was Salina, a blind cocker spaniel who was close to being put down at an overcrowded animal shelter in Los Angeles.
Oprah is asking animal lovers to unite. Find out why it’s important to know where a puppy really comes from before you take it home.
Oprah Winfrey, though all her dogs are purebreds and have come from breeders — including the golden retriever and cocker spaniel who died in the last year — says she plans to turn to animal shelters for her future dogs. While Sophie was not a product of a puppy mill, and her three current dogs all came from breeders, Winfrey says that in the future she would look to adopt from an animal shelter. “I would never, ever adopt another pet now without going to a shelter to do it. I am a changed woman after seeing this show,” she says.
Thank you, Oprah! We are ALL changed because of your efforts!
MEET “BABY”For anyone interested in dog rescue, or just dogs in general, I highly recommend the beautiful book, A Rare Breed of Love, The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere. The publisher describes the book as follows:
“When you meet Baby, the first thing you notice is her limp. She only has three legs, you see — she lost one following years of mistreatment at a puppy mill. But spend a little more time with Baby and her irrepressible “Ma,” Jana Kohl, and you’ll hear the story of how this gentle creature has gone from puppy-mill victim to celebrity “spokesdog” — hobnobbing with celebrities, lobbying politicians and inspiring an entire movement to end the kind of animal abuse she suffered for so many years.
Several years ago, Jana decided she wanted to buy a toy poodle. But the nightmarish conditions she was confronted with at a breeder’s farm — hundreds of dogs confined to small, dirty cages for their entire lives until they were killed for the crime of being too old to produce puppies — opened her eyes to abuses in the world of commercial breeding. There are thousands of puppy mills all across the United States, and most of those cute little puppies in pet store windows are products of such nightmarish places. Jana knew this was a wrong she couldn’t ignore.
Her first step was to adopt a rescued adult dog instead of buying a puppy from a commercial breeder. And that’s how she found Baby, a roughly nine-year-old poodle who had been locked in a cage. But Jana’s mission didn’t stop there. Soon, Jana and Baby (whose sweet face and three-legged hobble attract attention wherever she goes) found themselves speaking to groups about the terrible conditions at many breeders’ farms and urging politicians to change the lax laws that regulate this industry. Today, Baby is the unofficial spokesdog for the Humane Society of the United States on the topic of puppy mills, and she and Jana travel around the country lobbying for reform on this important issue.
A Rare Breed of Love contains more than sixty photographs of Baby with many of her high-profile fans, from Barack Obama to Judge Judy to Patti LaBelle, as well as original essays from luminaries such as Alice Walker and Gloria Steinem about the special love we all have for the pets in our lives. In this heartbreaking, compelling, and ultimately heartwarming book, Jana Kohl and Baby offer practical advice on what each of us can do to raise awareness, make a difference, and stop animal suffering everywhere.”
But Baby is much more than all that! She is engaging, charming and the most “squeezable” little creature as you would ever encounter. NJM’s Pastor Steve & his wife Nancy had the opportunity to meet Baby and her “mother,” Jana Kohl recently (July 12, 2008) in Cincinnati.
“It was an experience that forever changed the way I think about adding family members to my family,” says Pastor Steve. “No more buying, even from reputable breeders. It’s ADOPTION all the way for us from here on.”
It was, in fact, Baby who inspired this page here on NJM! “We want to do our part in spreading the word on this tragic subject … puppy mills. We are so proud to join Jana Kohl in her fight against these commercial breeders. We know it’s an uphill battle, but it’s one that can be WON!”
Baby kisses Pastor Steve
Baby in her stroller
Baby & her Mommy, JanaPlease visit Baby’s website by clicking on the link below …
We would LOVE to see Ophrah do another program on the puppy mill industry, and what a great addition Baby would be to any show! If you would like to see Jana Kohl and the beautiful Baby on The Oprah Show, please write to Oprah’s production company and make a request. As we learned from the billboard story (above), OPRAH LISTENS!
PO Box 909715
Chicago, IL 60690
Join the Battle On this page, we are in no way saying that the puppy mill business is the exclusive problem of the Amish community. Far from it. Approximately 500,000 puppies are produced each year from the country’s 4000-5000 puppy mills. About half the puppies die due to cruel substandard conditions. But we have made ending the Amish puppy mills a “pet-project” of ours! Partly because we are from Ohio, but also because, as Christians, it SICKENS us to see this cruelty being done by those who “claim” to be Christians, too. Too many times, these so-called believers misquote God’s Word for their own benefit … such as the Amish man who reportedly said, “God gave man dominion over the animals.” This Biblical quote was NEVER intended by God as permission to abuse ANY living thing! Let’s not forget that the Bible also says, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10).
The puppy mill business is a vicious cycle and there is only one way to break it. Laws and legislation will only go so far and many of these puppy millers can skate on the edge of abuse and cruelty laws, if they even exist, for years. People need to learn about puppy mills. So many people just do not know that the cute puppy in the window of that neighborhood pet shop comes from a puppy mill or that the ads in the newspaper or on the internet are for puppy mill puppies.
In some areas legislators are working to improve the laws but even if the measures pass they will still fall far short of what it will take to really make a difference. What is necessary is to get the word out, to educate and show people and teach people. There are thousands and thousands of dogs each year that are killed for lack of homes, why bring more puppies into the world, especially puppies that are sick and produced out of the most torturous and horrendous conditions imaginable.
With recent heightened awareness of animal cruelties and abuses and more advocates fighting for ends to these abuses, you are seeing more and more of these inhumane commercial breeders, as they call themselves, under scrutiny, raided, closed down and their owners finally facing charges of cruelty and abuse.
Cracking down on puppy mills is not easy. Many of these large commercial breeders are backed by large organizations whose revenues depend on this mass breeding. Take the AKC for instance. It has been surmised that up to 80% of their registration fees come from commercial breeders. Do you think they want them closed down? In theory, the AKC inspects about 5000 breeding organizations a year and they say when they find substandard conditions they will not issue registrations to the puppies produced there. Easy enough to overcome for puppy millers, just change the kennel name or registrar name.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (Republican-Pennsylvania) introduced legislation to crack down on puppy mills and has fought for changes for many years. “People who are breeding large quantities of dogs now but selling them directly have an exemption under the Animal Welfare Act. 4 And that has to change,” Santorum said. “Unfortunately, a lot of folks are exempted under the law. Many animal rescuers said dogs coming from puppy mills end up in common pet stores. So when purchasing a dog from a pet store, ask about its history.”
Santorum and animal rescuers said an overwhelming number of puppy mill operators are Amish. Why the Amish? Why is it so prevalent in their community? “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a different mindset in regards to animals,” Santorum said.
What YOU Can DoThe first thing you can do is to take the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) pledge to stop puppy mills!
“I will do my part to help stop puppy mills. I pledge to help end this cycle of cruelty by:
Choosing not to buy my next pet from a pet store or Internet site
Refusing to buy supplies from any pet store or Internet site that sells puppies”
Now that you’ve made your pledge, join us in Boycotting Amish Made Products until the Dog Auctions and puppy mills owned by the Amish Community cease to exist!
Quite simply, this means to boycott EVERYTHING that is Amish made or Amish related. Do not buy the handmade Amish furniture, quilts, crafts or food products … not even the little squares of fudge at a flea market! Don’t even eat at Amish restaurants! It’s time to send a strong message, loud and clear! And the only way to do that is to hit them where it hurts … the pocketbook!
Next, DON’T buy from pet stores! You probably already knew this one. But tell your friends, co-workers, anyone and everyone you know. The ASPCA feels that 9 of 10 pups at a Pet store come from a puppy mill.
Petland Stores buy puppies from the Hunte Corporation, who buy from Amish Breeders in Ohio (in Holmes, Coshocton & Tuscawarus Counties). BOYCOTT PETLAND!!!
Keep your eyes and ears open for legislative updates … legislation that will dramatically help the dog overpopulation problem in Ohio. We will need everyone to contact their state reps to get something done.
Find your Ohio State Representative at THIS LINK.
Contact the Governor of Ohio and make your voice heard!
Gov. Ted Strickland
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108
Fax: 614.466.9354Do you want to sound off about the puppy mills in Holmes County? Here are the contacts:
Holmes County Dog Warden: Joe Patterson
2 Court Street, Suite 10
Millersburg, Ohio 44654
Fax: 330.674.0566Contact the Holmes County Tourism Board to tell them how you feel about Holmes County’s dirty little secret: the hundreds of puppy mills hidden in and behind barns, well out of view of the unsuspecting public; the thousands of dogs that live up to ten years in wire cages with no human companionship or socialization. The Amish may live simply and eschew modern technology but tell the Tourism Board to stop hiding the truth from the tourists: that the Amish have cell phones, caller ID, and that they sell dogs over the Internet!
And while you’re at it, tell them: I will boycott all Amish products until puppy mills are stopped. This is greed in its worst form and this is how consumers make their demands known. I simply will not buy Amish products while this practice continues.
Holmes Co Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
M-F, 9-5pm, 35 N Monroe St Millersburg OH 44654
email: info@holmesCountyChamber.comContact the Holmes County Commissioners with the same information and opinions!
The Holmes County Commissioners
2 Court Street, Suite 14
Millersburg, Ohio 44654
Fax: (330) 674-0566We would like Ohio to follow Pennsylvania’s lead and have legislation passed to ban dog auctions. Because officials had the foresight to see they were getting into deep trouble with the puppy mill situation in Lancaster PA, they wisely opted to place a ban on dog auctions. Visit the Ban Ohio Dog Auctions website at the link at the bottom of this page.
The Budget is the most popular and widely read local weekly newspaper in Holmes, western Tuscarawas, southeast Wayne and northern Coshocton counties, in the Heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. Write letters monthly, weekly or daily UNTIL THEY LISTEN!
P.O. Box 249, 134 N. Factory St.
Sugarcreek, OH 44681
Fax: 330-852-4421And continue to demand that puppy mills be stopped in Pennsylvania, too! Please call 1-800-PA-DUTCH and tell them you and your families will not visit Lancaster County until they clean up their act and shut down puppy mills!
Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement
Attn: Sue West
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408
Fax: 717.772.4352And most important of all, don’t forget to pray for all dogs who remain in puppy mills! Pray for them daily (as well as for the animal activists as we try to STOP THE CRUELTY!).
Prayer for Animals Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals,especially for animals who are suffering; for animals that are overworked, underfed and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put death. We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals, and so to share the blessings of the merciful. ~ Albert Schweitzer