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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Call to Action!

Rescue is a difficult job. It attracts people that are passionate, emotional, and strongwilled. This creates a lot of clashing of the wills within rescue groups as well as between rescue groups. When you start doing animal rescue, you do it because you are willing to invest your time, your money, and your feelings into doing something that you passionately believe is the right thing to do. Eventually you wittle down your time and your money. Your emotions become raw from experiences that melt your heart and scarred from experiences that scauld your heart.
In rescue, when one thing goes wrong, emotions fly! It's the nature of the game. Much of it is likely displaced anger. Years of frustration suddenly erupting after one unrelated stressful event.  We start to judge other groups and other rescue people and forget that our goal is the same regardless of our differences.

I work with many groups, with many volunteers. I have seen transports fall 6 hours behind schedule, resulting in irate transport volunteers. I have heard rescue groups getting upset with other groups over whether they do home visits for adopters prior to adoption, whether all the appropriate vet work is done on their animals prior to adoption, whether they adopt out to just anyone to increase their numbers. I am not trying to belittle these arguments. They are valid points and if we all had the personel and the finances to do everything perfectly,  and equally, I think we would. But we don't. There are groups that are financially better off than others. There are groups that have access to more volunteers than others. There are groups that have better facilities, easier access to supplies, more affordable veterinary care, bigger donors...   Need I continue? We do things differently because our situations are different. But we need to unite on one front, and we need to do so now.

The time, money, and feelings that we each invest in our rescue efforts are all personal items that we give away, not just at our own expense but often at the expense of our family and our friends. When something goes wrong in a rescue, we take it personally because we are invested,  and usually overdrawn in our time, money, and emotional accounts.

We get angry. We judge. We refuse to work with certain people or specific groups. We blame. We whine. We vent. We quit.  We return. We complain. We cry. We FORGET.

We forget WHY we are doing rescue work. We forget that if we don't work together, especially here in Iowa, and especially right now during this legislative season, we are going to let down the most important group involved: the thousands of dogs that are living in substandard commercial breeding facilities throughout the state. The dogs that spend year after year producing litters of puppies that are sold on the internet, in the newspapers, and in the pet stores.  Puppies that go to new homes while their parents never leave their cages, never touch grass, never get hugs. Puppies that go to new homes while animals of all shapes, sizes, colors, temperaments, breeds are euthanized in our shelters daily.  These are the faces you do not want to let down.

We need to stop bickering and start acting.  If we could all designate ONE or TWO volunteers (or more of course) to be dedicated to writing letters to our legislators about our experiences, oh what a difference we could make.  On, there are 131 rescue groups and shelters registered within the state of Iowa.  But there are more than that.  There are many groups that do not use petfinder for lack of computer access and other reasons.  Imagine all those letters flowing in to our legislators.  Words that come from experience.  Words that come with passion.  Words that come from the heart.  Even without first hand knowledge of these commercial breeding facilities, we all experience the extreme strain of the pet overpopulation problem.  We know that adding thousands of puppies to the market during an economy when beloved pets are being heartbreakingly relinquished by their owners due to job loss, housing changes, or marital changes is not to the betterment of our state.  We see it.  We feel it.  We need to share it.

You don't have to be a "good writer" to address this issue with your legislator.  You simply need to know how to send an email or place a stamp on an envelope.  If you know how to do either, it is that simple.  If all your letter states is "please support the puppy mill bill", it still says a lot to your legislator because they see that it was important enough for you to take the time and effort to send it. 

If you are from Iowa, read the following information about how you can make a difference in our state.  If you are not from Iowa, find out where your state stands in relation to puppy mills by contacting the or to find out how you can make a difference in your state.  Especially if you are from Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.


The "Puppy Mill Bill" as it is being referred to (HSB604) is moving through the legislative process quickly -- so that means we need to get to work! Please call or write your legislators -- both senator and representative -- and ask them to SUPPORT the Puppy Mill Bill/HSB 604. We need you to do this ASAP!

Key points to mention in your conversations/emails:

**YOU as their constituent want Iowa to have better oversight of the USDA-licensed breeders in our state.

**You want them to support HSB604 and vote yes to a clean passage of that bill (meaning, no amendments).

If you don't know who your legislator is; you can find that information easily here:

Additionally, if one of the following is your representative, we need you to especially get in touch with them -- they really need to hear from their constituents on this issue. Ask for their commitment to the 'clean' passage of HSB604, The Puppy Mill Bill. Please include a comment that this bill addresses the recommendations unanimously agreed upon by a bipartisan interim study committee. I've attached a link to their website page at the Iowa Legislature which will allow you to see information on them; as well as email them easily/get phone numbers to reach them.

Deborah Berry (D, 22); Waterloo area;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=298&ga=83

Curt Hansen (D, 90); Van Buren county;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=10340&ga=83
Jerry Kerns (D, 92); Lee county;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=7498&ga=83
Linda Miller (R, 82); Quad Cities;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=6487&ga=83
Christopher Rants (R, 54); Sioux City;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=3&ga=83
Mark Smith (D, 43); Marshalltown area;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=64&ga=83
Doug Struyk (R, 99); Council Bluffs;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=262&ga=83

Roger Wendt (D, 2); Sioux City;jsessionid=0CCE20BC3187AD9CFF77F17014094F1F?id=170&ga=83


For further updates on what you can do to help, visit and register with  You will receive updates in your email box that will keep you current on the progress of the bill.

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Deb Dempsey said...

I would love to send you enough issues of The American Dog Magazine to give to each and every legislator. This quarter's issue is packed with information on puppy mills, including and article about a rescued pair of retired breeders from an Iowa puppy mill. Is there someone who could orchestrate handing them out if I ship them to you?

Kristin said...

Lisa I totally agree! Every group does things differently based upon resources. But in the end we are all trying to achieve the same goal. We all need to band together and feelings aside!

Aspiring freelance writer said...

Hi, this is jenicoe2001 from eHow! Outstanding blog! I live in Missouri- shamefully THE "Puppy Mill Capitol". Great job spreading the word!!!

Aspiring freelance writer said...

Kristin, do you have a "follow" or Rss feed on your Puppy Mill Blog? I couldbn't find it... Terrific blog too, btw!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a reader from Texas and loving your blog. Just forwarded to a friend! Everything you say has such thought and truth behind it. Keep em coming :)