The streets of Greenwich Village will soon become a platform for hundreds of compassionate dog lovers running with the PACK (People Against Commercial
Overbreeding, inbreeding, and other forms of animal cruelty are hardly news these days. Major media ranging from the Todayshow to the BBC have exposed serious problems facing dogs on a vast scale. A growing list of celebrities are setting bold examples by rescuing shelter pups, both purebred and mutt, instead of buying them. So why are dog-loving consumers still making impulse purchases at pet stores that manipulate them on the lowest level—by showing them cute faces needing homes as though they were animal charities?
Our walk to Washington Square Park is meant to educate, entertain, and remind many of what they already know. Buying that doggie in the window is not "rescuing" or "adopting," but helping industrial breeders to go on causing needless suffering. We're hoping—like those local anti-puppy mill groups and City Council members—to put New York and the nation on the path of Chicago and Los Angeles where legislation has banned all sales of puppy mill dogs.
The PACK walk is the brainchild of Jacki Flanigan, founder of People Against Commercial Kennels, a not-for-profit advocacy group based in Pennsylvania where many of the nation's commercial breeding facilities are located.
"Dogs in puppy mills live in misery and deplorable conditions for the sole purpose of creating inventories for pet shops and websites," says Flanigan. "Surprisingly, the average consumer seems to have no idea where the majority of puppies come from, and is unaware that many wonderful animals are waiting to be adopted from shelters and rescue groups. We believe that if more people can accept the ugly truth behind the pet industry then they'll make informed and responsible decisions about where to get their next dog and ultimately bring an end to these reprehensible breeders."
Each year, puppy mills have the USDA's approval to go on churning out thousands of dogs under the most appalling conditions. Many animals they produce have a long list of congenital illnesses, anatomical defects, and are exposed to infectious diseases. Breeding animals sometimes spend their entire lives in tiny, filthy cages, unprotected from extreme weather and given substandard veterinary care and inadequate food and water. The puppies to be sold are often deprived of the kind of early socialization so helpful for family pets.
The walk is an uphill climb as advocates face not only bad breeders, but vested interests like the AKC who want "to limit the legal definition of 'puppy mill,' to protect the rights of breeders to keep inbreeding for as many defects as the show-ring judges demand, and to stack their products in cages for as long a shelf life as the law will allow," writes one of our supporters in "The Bark"magazine.
The PACK event will include guest appearances from Main Line Animal Rescue's Bill Smith, Annemarie Lucas of Animal Planet's "Animal Precinct," renowned puppy mill expert Bob Baker, Laura Flynn from HBO's documentary "Madonna of the Mills," and singer/songwriter Danny Nova.
Despite the urgency of our cause, this promises to be a fun-filled day for humans and hounds alike. After the walk, the public is welcome to mingle with our special guests and enter their dogs in contests with celebrity judges to win some terrific prizes at 1:00 p.m.
The event will meet where Ninth Ave & Gansevoort St converge at 11:00 a.m. The walk begins at 12:00 p.m., open and free to the public, will be held rain or shine.
For more information, please visit PACK's website at walkwiththepack.org.
Source: Main Line Animal Rescue, mlar.org