Tails: Why I am Content Blaming ALL the Amish for Puppy Mills

The other night as we drove through an area of Wisconsin known for Amish communities, I posted what I thought was an innocent comment about the Amish.  I simply said that it seemed to me that whomever the God was for the Amish s/he would prefer they use electricity, buy an iPhone, and drive a car than beat a horse to death or breed dogs in filth and neglect.

While many people liked and even shared my post, there were some who felt it was wrong of me to blame all of the Amish for those behaviors.  I get it.  While I have yet to meet an Amish or Mennonite who doesn’t breed dogs, I bet there are a few out there.

This subject of Amish puppy mills is one so dear to my heart and soul that even I admit I might not be able to use rational judgement.  I wrote an entire book based on the cruelty and neglect of Amish puppy mills, so I think it is safe to say that I am in pretty deep when it comes to the subject matter.

None the less, since it was a few of my dear friends who posted the charges against me, I had no choice but to dig deeper into my own feelings to figure out why it is I am so content blaming ALL Amish for puppy mills.

One basic truth is that not all puppy mills are run by Amish.  There are hundreds across the country run by “English” (people like me).  Those mills can be just as horrendous.

So, I started REALLY thinking about this… and here is my belief.  As English people, we have no problem protesting, legislating, even criminalizing heinous, cruel behavior towards animals.  I KNOW there are millions of English people taking a stand against puppy mills (against people just like us as far as race and religion, etc…) every single day.  I see it in the pet store protests, in the political lobbying, and in social media posts.  I know that while there are people in our culture propagating puppy mills, there are also people ACTIVELY fighting it.  It is hard to accuse an entire community of being cruel, when half of the community is speaking out against the cruelty.

I have yet to see or hear of a single Amish person actively fighting against puppy mills in their communities.  I have never heard of anyone in the Amish community taking a stand for the better treatment of animals.  Yes, there might be Amish families who do treat their farm animals with compassion or have a family dog who sleeps in the house on his own bed, but until  they are willing to publicly take a stand against puppy mills or animal cruelty, they are only permitting the awful acts to continue.

I blame ALL Amish for puppy mills because no one within their community is trying to change anything.  I firmly believe that until members of their own community come out against the cruelty, they are all to blame.

Turning a blind eye to cruelty should be a crime.  The Amish people need to take responsibility for the actions of everyone in their community.  If they want to truly be the “kinder, gentler people,” they should be willing stand up and fight for the beliefs and actions that truly represent a kind community.  Keeping dogs in small wire cages, covered in feces and breeding them until they die is not what I consider a kind act.

It IS wrong to blame an entire community or race or religion based on the heinous acts of a few, however, when no one in that community appears to be against the heinous act, it isn’t a false accusation of blame, it is actually the truth.



73 thoughts on “Tails: Why I am Content Blaming ALL the Amish for Puppy Mills

  1. Mary Ellen Paglianite

    Wish those speaking out for the Amish would use their energy speaking out for innocent animals suffering without a voice….
    Horses are not hard wired to trot alongside of 18 wheelers roaring past….
    They don’t have a choice…..
    That is the first thought that comes to my mind when hearing of a roadway accident
    involving a buggy and a horse…. The animal was forced into a dangerous situation…
    Sorry I err on the side of the innocent animal…..
    I look at the pristine barns against the gorgeous countryside
    Do you know what I see?
    The tons of cages inside with pitiful dogs crammed inside held hostage for their puppies
    What I have noticed is this….
    People just don’t care
    They want the perfect dog as others will comment on what a gorgeous dog they have….
    What if we as humans discarded others who weren’t perfect?
    I see the perfect mutt walking by….
    Obviously loved in spite of its many physical imperfections and I so much admire its human….
    We can
    What type of heart do you have?

  2. Martha Leary

    I think these kinds of blanket accusations are so unfair and so misleading. I live in the heart of the various “Amish communities” in OH.: Holmes and Wayne CO. I started and direct a 501-C-3 dog rescue organization called Star-Mar Rescue, registered with the State of OH. We have taken in close to 1000 puppy mill survivors over the past 13 years. I assisted in the writing and passing of OH’s puppy mill bill, Senate Bill 130, have testified before numerous Legislative committees, met with hundreds of groups and organizations, and served on the OH Dept. of Agriculture’s Ad Hoc Committee to set regulations after the bill passed.

    Here’s the truth — MOST Amish do not raise dogs. All of my neighbors are Amish and none of them raise dogs. Since I’ve traveled most all the buggy roads in Holmes County and been to many, many of the mills when rescues were still allowed in by the owners, I can tell you that only a small percentage of Amish raise dogs and with the passing of Senate Bill 130 many, many of them closed down unwilling to meet new regulations that became effective 1/1/16. I understand that because the standards of care are so below what any normal person would find acceptable, the Amish that do breed stand out like sore thumbs. And I would be the last to argue that anyone keeping dogs in many of the conditions that I’ve seen shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions.

    HOWEVER, in order for me or anyone to do something about those conditions, those actions have to be against the law. In order for anyone, Amish or non Amish, to be responsible for the acts of others there must be an avenue to rectify those wrongs. In other words there must be law and punishment. For the most part, there is not. Water, food and shelter….. how many times have we all heard that??

    With the passing of Senate Bill 130 and new regulations for standard of care, things are better – NOT GREAT – but better in OH. A major flaw in OH’s bill, in my opinion, is that the “commercial breeders” are allowed to self identify. Since most Amish breeders are selling to brokers who sell to pet stores, and you must hold a license to do that, many breeders did comply BUT there is a threshold that puts a breeder into that category and there’s the loophole. Stay below the threshold and you don’t need to be licensed by the State. This works even better for English breeders who mostly sell directly to the public. How many dogs did you breed and how many puppies did you sell? Where would the records be for those sales that would give an honest account/amount? USDA doesn’t even know about most of these breeders, most don’t sell to brokers who need to buy from licensed breeders and so non Amish breeders, selling hundred of thousands of puppies every year, just fly below the radar….

    Hidden behind the internet and shipping their wares all over the states, unlicensed and uncaring are thousands and thousands of non Amish puppy mill owners. They hid behind a nice home, nice clothes and nice car. They advertise 5, 10, a dozen different breeds of puppies for sale and show pictures of adorable, beribboned pups. They hid behind cute names like Sherri’s Posh Pets or BeRich Kennels. You can’t separate them by the way they dress or speak. Those breeders laugh at us “advocates” for concentrating solely on the Amish while they are doing exactly the same thing.

    Are you responsible for all those non Amish mills? If you live in Medina OH are you responsible for the non Amish puppy mill that’s there? Did we hold the Holmes Co. (Millersburg OH.) non Amish residents responsible for BeRich Kennels owned by Beth Dye? (who was finally raided and shut down) Of course not and it becomes more apparent how ridiculous this requirement is when we’re the ones being held “responsible” for the actions of others. You can make phone calls, report problems whether you’re Amish or not Amish but ONLY the law and the people elected or hired to uphold those laws can do anything about it!

    Are you willing to be “responsible for the actions of everyone in your community.” Isn’t “fighting for the beliefs and actions that truly represent a kind community” something we should ALL be doing? Why are we holding the Amish to a higher standard then ourselves? UNTIL not “keeping dogs in small wire cages, covered in feces and breeding them until they die” becomes a law that is upheld by County and State officials – who I will add ARE NOT Amish – this won’t change. And while we focus our anger and disgust on the Amish, there is a very large group of breeders that are getting away with murder; unlicensed, unregulated and uncaring. We can’t change what is happening with commercial dog breeding unless we recognize and address the entire problem. While we spend our time shaming the Amish we are allowing hundred of thousand of puppies to be born and sold without regard to their health or temperament and with NO regard to the dogs that created them.

    The USDA and the ODA both end with the word “agriculture” and for the most part the Amish fit in that category. Until we change the concept that raising dogs is an agricultural “business” and remove the dog breeding business from their oversight, we won’t get far with addressing the entire dog breeding problems in this country.

    You are grossly unfair to blame an entire group for the actions of some. That is being a bigot. I hope that people who blame ALL the Amish for Amish puppy mills, are not Catholic….

    1. Andrea weiss

      Come to Lancaster Pennsylvania. You’ll have a different opinion. You can’t even ride down the road without seeing dogs or all sizes shoved in rabbit hutches. And like the article states , no one steps up against it. Come to Pennsylvania and watch what they do to their horses. After they run them down so bad they can hardly walk they take them to new Holland auction and dump them on kill buyers. I have friends that are Amish and they can back up every word I said. Very very few speak up about it

    2. Bernadette

      Drive through an Amish neighborhood and see how many barns there are. Those barns are full of dogs that have been “de-barked” so nobody hears them. Then spy on the barns and see how many dogs they shoot in the head after they are done breeding them. I adopted a Yorkshire terrier from a rescue who saved the dog from a puppy mill in Lancaster County, PA. All Amish stick together, ask any rescue owner. They rescue mostly from the Amish, especially from Lancaster County, PA. My little Molly has 4 teeth, is supposedly 2 years old, has 6 huge nipples from being bred several times, has never been to the vet until now, never been groomed until now, never hugged, never knew kissed, never walked, is scared of everyone and barks very low from her throat being squeezed so hard so her vocal cords would forever be damaged. She may never recover but I saved her from being shot in the head. Hopefully one day…an Amish person will have a voice for dogs and start advocating for them. Maybe they will even protest in front of a puppy mill however they know that their life will most likely be in danger if they do. The Amish mafia will literally come and shoot them since they most likely get a stipend from puppy mill sales. It’s all about the money. Adopt…Don’t shop and let’s put them out of business.

  3. Toni Kalish

    I am interested that this post is once again generating discussion.
    Although, I previously replied, I want to revisit the discussion.
    People are responsible for what they do and say, so it follows that if you turn a blind eye to what is going on in your community, you become part of the problem and not the solution.
    It is also true that many well intentioned people are ignorant about the puppy mill situation and it is necessary to educate the public and get the word out.
    The fact that a person chooses to buy a dog from a website (set up by puppy mill owners), doesn’t absolve any breeder of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is just that, animal cruelty. Beliefs, lifestyle, needs and so forth do not make cruelty acceptable.
    So no, I will not relent in getting the word out, boycotting the abusers, pushing for changes in the law, and having puppy mill rescues in my 4 member canine family!

    1. sheltertails5839 Post author

      Thank you for commenting again. The blog is generating new discussion because I posted it in response to the Justice For Libre fb page. If you have not heard of this… I will be blogging about it really soon, but Libre is an amish puppy mill dog who almost died due to pure neglect and then was left for dead by the Lancaster SPCA shelter director. Check it out on FB if you can…Thank you for rescuing and supporting the anti-mill campaign.

  4. Pat

    I’ve said it many times and I’ll continue to say it. If you KNOW, HEARD of, or SEEN any abuse in any form against man, woman, child AND/OR animal, and you do NOTHING (not even a call to authorities, let alone step in to help) – than you’re guilty of that abuse, too. Turning a blind eye does not make you innocent. Amish included. I will not support them by buying puppies from a pet store that buys from puppy mills nor buy any Amish products. You cannot call yourselves Godly people and inflict pain upon these animals. God gave us the responsibility to care for and love his creations. To do otherwise is sinful. Shut down puppy mills (I know, a lot of politicians and organizations will have less money in their pockets), but tough crap. We need to step up and speak out against this abuse at puppy mills and animal fighting. Humans who are involved in either in any way, shape, or form are disgusting and a disgrace to mankind.

  5. Brandon Zalonis

    Just a thought; The solution lies in the heart of the issue. They are struggling desperately to maintain a way of life that has remained unchanged from the 1890’s to the 1980’s, in an era in which family farms and rural simple living are getting impossible in the face of huge corporate farms, tourism, and overurbanization. This means having to resort to factory work, furnature manufactury, mass migration to the Mid and far West, or trying to buy up as much of their traditional stomping grounds so they can raise their children Amish in a safe family friendly aggrarian environment. From their perspective, one that regards nature as a gift from God to be taken care of and maintained, if it takes puppy mills to do that so be it. While I don’t think the latter is a sustainable longterm solution I can see where they’re coming from. Maybe it’s the Indian in me but if God intended Humanity to live in a highrise He wouldn’t have put us in a Garden at the beginning. The fact that the Federal Government owns huge portions of Montana, for example, is ridiculous. In short the challanges Old Order groups face today are the same challanges all rural people, and particularly those of us stateside, face in general. Meaningful solutions to those shared problems take dialogue and a willingness to listen to each other. Conversly to quote Bruce Wayne to Poison Ivy, “People come first Dr. Isley.”

    1. sheltertails5839 Post author

      I respectfully disagree with you 100%. The Amish were introduced to the concept of puppy mills during WWII by the AKC, so they have been doing this long before the nation outgrew them. Breeding animals in filth, with no vet care and no human contact is beyond anything remotely acceptable to me.

      1. Connie

        I have a real problem with your explanation and defense for the Amish when it comes to not caring humanely for the dogs they are breeding and selling. Is there a reason why they can’t clean cages and provide proper vet care? Why do you think their right to practice their religion or where they live have anything to do with how they care for these dogs and puppies. Elbow grease, soap and water come cheap. I don’t get your logic at all. I hope you don’t have any pets.

        1. sheltertails5839 Post author

          I’m hoping you don’t think I approve of the Amish? I wrote this blog and published a book detailing how horrible they are. Perhaps, your comment is in response to someone else?

    2. Margaret Meldeau

      It is a shame you believe the Amish have the right to breed and abuse dogs..have puppy mills.
      just so they can make a living. It is not right!!!!!!

  6. Terri Wilson

    I live in Lancaster PA and am in total agreement with the heinous acts the Amish commit daily upon animals. This article is interesting to me since just last week I was lambasted by a Facebook friend for a post I did on the unimaginable cruelties many Amish inflict especially on the dogs they breed, most illegally. They ARE ALL
    responsible for their inaction.

  7. Jim Kieselburg

    I live in Wisconsin and there are ‘clusters’ of amish all across the state, other than Thorp, WI. The Human Society of the United States annually publishes a listing of the 100 worst puppy-mills in America. This current 2015 list has four in Wisconsin and I personally researched and found all four to be amish. (http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2015/05/horrible-hundred-2015-problem-puppy-mills.html)

    If any one has the ‘stomach’ for it, go to YouTube and enter Amish Puppymills and there are a number of videos which show the deplorable conditions in these operations by the ‘gentle people’. Lancaster County PA, (amish country) is noted to be the puppy-mill capital of the U.S.

    I note that just in the short time I have been a commenter here that several have remarked that Becky is wrong for her position. Such is definitely not the case. Research and educate yourselves and make a conscious effort to tell others. Thank you.

  8. Lisa

    It’s a sick chain of cruelty. The catalyst is uneducated or uncaring buyers.

    Then there are the deceptive and unscrupulous middlemen and companies who sell the puppies (internet and brick and mortar). Case in point, despite my adamant warnings, an acquaintance in California bought a Beagle puppy on the internet. Every indication was that the puppy was from California; it turned out to be from Missouri and from this scum company: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/press_releases/2011/12/purebred_breeders_120711.html. Still, I warned her, and she was stupid to do so.

    And finally there’s the horrid puppy mill owners who care only about money and nothing about the dogs of which the Amish are a significant portion.

    Let us not forget about politicians who have the power to shut down puppy mills or at least control if companies sell puppy mill puppies. Sometimes they come through; sometimes they fail miserably like Governor Doug Ducey in Arizona who just signed pro puppy mill legislation.

    Destroy any part of the chain, and the chain breaks. Thank God there are people working on every part.

  9. B.G. Witt

    I’m afraid you condemning a hole sector of people does not do you or them a service. I am aware of the problem also but to blame the Amish in whole? for the problem? They could not sell , if the didn’the have buyers! Where are the majority of the buyers from – the english. There are more and more pets taken to shelter due to ‘the english’ – not being responsible pet owners . ( Get tired of the amimal as a pet or part of the family). I detest both practices – puppy mills and those that support them. I am self am english.

    1. betch grammar

      B.G. Witt,

      Perhaps you should return to English class? Judging by your spelling, grammar and overall message; you’re not very educated or you’re lazy.

    2. Debbie

      I thing she is taking about The Amish in a community. They are well aware of everyone who runs a puppy mills but they do nothing about it. When you know that animals are being abused and do nothing to end it your just as guilty of the crime!

    3. Margaret Meldeau

      They would not need buyers if they didnt breed..over 2 million animals euthanized each year….
      but lets let the Amish breed and breed and breed…yes, i blame the Amish. Find another way to make a living…

  10. john and chris morrison

    The Amish are NOT God’s chosen people, no matter what they choose to believe in their close minded, cruel lives. I’ve been to some of these mills, seen the huge un-windowed buildings where they keep these poor souls in heat and cold, no light, no nothing. They are also unkind to their women. There is nothing nice about the Amish, although they try to portray an image so that tourists will buy from them. A few of them actually turned in dogs at a Puppymill Awareness fair, they were in the worst shape of any dogs I’ve seen come into rescue. Pathetic…. and NOT how God would like his creatures to be treated.

  11. Debbie Kinsey

    I bought a cute little puppy from a pet store many years ago before I knew anything about puppy mills. If you google Indiana Amish puppy mills you will find a video about a man called John Graber and this is where my cute little Gizmo came from. It breaks my heart. I’m like you about the Amish 100% and while I know it’s wrong to blame them all, I can’t help it I do. Gizmo has so many problems from his breeding but he has had a lot of love and vet care, something his Mom and Dad never had. And right or wrong, I HATE the Amish….

  12. Kristine

    I would like there to be as much compassion, regulation and laws for all living things! Babies, puppies, horses…

  13. Gayle

    I thank you and others who post the truth. I didn’t realize the extent of the problem and it made me recommit to rescue for getting another dog. I support legal changes to eliminate the problem. While I appreciate purchasing dogs at auction helps that dog it also puts money in the pockets of the abuser. Same thing with saving horses going to slaughter. Dealers don’t care who pays them. Now they have more money to buy more

  14. Toni Kalish

    It is disheartening to have individuals leave ignorant and mean spirited remarks on this matter.
    Number one, there is no acknowledgment of animals as sentient beings among the Amish who run these mills. As this is contrary to their belief system, the law must protect them. I boycotted Tuna back in the day with millions of others, and that changed the fishing net laws. When you make it possible to remove profit, educate the “English”, that buying from a mill perpetuates the abuse and enact laws to protect animals, things can change. Lastly, if you don’t think this happens on a large scale, try doing your own research. I have a wonderful life, and I would like this to be true for the dogs, too.
    One of my 6 animals was a puppy mill dog, he is a wonderful Golden Retriever that I rescued. To this day he eats as though he never was fed and he is terrified of a hand raised near him, and yet, he is the most loving and appreciative dog you could imagine. He has come such a long way and is always near the family he never had as a puppy.

  15. Erick Eneldo

    I know absolutely nothing about Amish puppy mills but I do know there are some who do not treat their horses but the vast majority of them treat all their animals well. To start with they are generally kind people and their animals are not only a part of their lives the animals are a part of their livelihood. They have to treat them well.
    Then the reason they don’t get into big discussions on animal welfare is to a great measure because they don’t universally use the internet.

    Get a life.

    1. sheltertails5839 Post author

      Until you have seen an Amish puppy mill or have been to an Amish dog auction, you can’t fully begin to understand what so many here are talking about. I can respect your naivety, but please don’t tell those of us fighting incredibly hard everyday to improve the lives of man’s best friend to “get a life.” Read up on the subject, go to an auction, foster a mill dog and then come back and reply. What millers do to these dog is beyond cruelty and neglect- it is a sin.

    2. Carol Reed

      Erick, We invite you to check out our Facebook, Indiana Ban of Puppy Mills Project; you are the kind of person we are seeking to educate about the realities that occur in puppy mills. This link .http://nameandshameanimalabuse.blogspot.com/ is a 9 min. uncover video about an Amish Indiana puppy mill, there is no refuting how his puppy mills is operated when it comes it is “straight from the horse’s. mouth”. It has has to be uncover, Amish NEVER let anyone take video or pictures.
      Carol Reed, Vice President, Indiana Ban of Puppy Mills Project.

    3. Kathy

      You need to get a life what about the Amish guy that was just arrest for beating and kicking a puppy and leaving it to die a slow painful death in a field. These people only see money signs when it comes to any animal. They treat their wives like second class citizens so I know a animal means nothing to them

    4. Sheila Anderson

      I fail to understand why anyone would support the cruelty of an amish/mennonite puppy mill. What is wrong with you?

    5. Ellen

      You are mistaken. Do your research before you defend these people. They wouldn’t defend you, trust me on that! Besides the puppy mill issue and disregard for their working animals many Amish are extremely hypocritical about their lifestyles. They have deer stands equipped with telephones and televisions, they have community freezers and ice makers on “English” properties and women are often treated as second class citizens. It is an ugly culture.

    6. Jim Kieselburg

      Erick, please read my current post here and if you follow my suggestions you may possibly change your mind.

    7. Brenda

      You are incorrect on all counts. I liv. near Amish first they do not believe animals have feelings. The are taught as children, you can hit or cut an animal in any way,they can’t feel it. I have seen a man whipping his horse to move faster pulling a wagon on a 90 degree summer day, the horses mouth frothing.
      They do use the internet,that’s what the are saying in the article. The new way to sell the mill puppies are on the Internet. No reputable breeder will ‘Ship’ a puppy.
      An Amish women said to me “we are no different than anyonde else, there are good and bad.We just wear different clothing.” So don’t put them on a pedestal as kind and gentle.
      The reason they don’t speak up is that the would be shunned in the community. They are unable to even say anything about the abuse of children and women that is going on in their community because this is a very closed society. Women, children and the helpless animals are trapped.

  16. s mickley

    If you get rid of the wholesalers you get rid of the problem. Shut down the auctions and the corporations that “process” puppy mill dogs like the Hunte Corporation. If there is no buyer there is no business. Hunte Corp has been estimated to “process” over 80,000 dogs annually for pet stores, auctions, and rescue groups by shipping dogs into NYC on 18-wheelers. They show a good face with a pristine facility but their dogs come from puppy mills in the mid-west, particularly Missouri.

  17. jeanne clayton

    BRAVO…We need everyone to be animal advocates and fight against the houses of horror. In NJ we are fighting hard to get town ordinances against the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. To date 44 towns have passed a ban and more are joining us everyday. We are making progress all over the country. Stay strong and keep fighting for the animals.

    1. Julia Edgerton

      What towns in NJ ? I’m trying to get an ordinance passed in my town and they would like to see some examples. Help!!!

  18. redhedplus

    If we must legislate morality for our precious animal children and friends, then by ALL MEANS let’s LEGISLATE!!! Just as laws don’t stop people from dui’s, or beating their children when no one knows, perhaps the laws will work with that community better than our own, considering their all important “follow the law” sort of perspective.
    YES, with out question, English are just as evil in their behavior as the Amish, but as you indicated, if the law would actually make a difference with this cult (and in fact they are a cult when judged by all definitions of the word) then let’s do that!
    But just as important, let’s get EVERYONE to follow the laws as they are written even if just because the law is the law. At the same time, let’s get some actionable deterrents in place such as heavy fines, jail time, etc. Until there is some fear of prosecution and punishment, why should any heartless person not follow the law?? The law needs to go beyond “Illegal activity” to “punishable by $5000, or 1 year in jail.”, and then use the sentencing guidelines APPROPRIATELY FOR ALL. No leniency, no suspended sentences, real fines and real time. Point blank. End of discussion. Wrongful acts? Right! Do the crime, do the time.

  19. Sue Hassinger

    Thank you for taking a stand and writing what needed to be written. I completely agree with your letter. I have a huge love for dogs. I have 6 dogs and hope to soon start fostering dogs, because it breaks my heart to know what so many are going through. For the past several +months, I have protested against the Amish puppy mills. In my county, in MN, we have 8 puppy mills. Six are Amish owned. We are known as the puppy mill capital of MN…shameful! The Amish get one violation after another, yet, continue to expand and contine the cruelty to animals. The city commissioners just reissue the permits, even though the Amish don’t have licenses, have a business tax ID number or even pay taxes. One Amish greedy owner made over $500,000 in one year on breeding and selling the poor dogs/puppies. I have heard the dogs cries and seen their filth and it’s absolutely horrible conditions for any living being. The Bible says man should be kind to animals, yet the Amish are neglecting and killing them. People need to speak up and become a voice for the voiceless!!! These poor dogs need our help!

    1. Linda

      I am in Minnesota! Where does a person get more info: location, numbers and activities being done to close them?

    2. Carol Reed

      In Indiana the feds are VERY INTERESTED in the puppy mills that are not remitting taxes. You could start with reporting them to the state feds and federal feds.

      The Humane Society of the United States offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a puppy mill operator for illegal animal cruelty. Persons wishing to phone in a tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP. Your information will be kept confidential.
      Carol Reed, Vice President, Indiana Ban of Puppy Mills Project

  20. Jennifer

    Puppy mills are abhorrent, and so is the bigotry in the blog posts attacking all Amish and Mennonites. I come from one of the oldest Mennonite communities in the Philadelphia, PA region. I guarantee that if you saw me or most of the people I grew up with walking down the street, you wouldn’t know by looking at us that we were Mennonite. However, I do have some relatives who are more conservative and still dress in the old order.

    I don’t know anyone in my community who mistreats their animals. I currently have a rescued Shiba Inu and two rescued cats, one which was orphaned at less than a week old and had little chance of surviving, but which I bottle fed, among other things, and stayed up with ’round the clock until she survived some life threatening health issues her first few weeks. I had a rescued Staffordshire Bull Terrier until he passed away in my arms of inoperable and untreatable age related issues. If I listed all of the rescued pets and wildlife (which we took to the local wildlife rehab center) we cared for over the years, this past would be excruciatingly longer than it is.

    Have I made my point yet? Bigotry is bigotry, and it’s bullshit.

    1. sheltertails5839 Post author

      Thank you for all of the rescue work you have done and continue to do. This blog isn’t about bigotry, it is about sharing the truth of a community. Being from PA, you must know of the huge Amish population of puppy mills. There was an entire Oprah segment dedicated to it. Main Line Rescue continues to save mill dogs from Amish mills everyday in PA. It is incredible to hear your community doesn’t have a mill and that you are so passionate against them. Why not take that message across the states to other Amish and Mennonite communities and get them to understand what they are doing is cruel? You could be the person to change things once and for all.

    2. Cathy Segraves

      You are in a unique position to help make the needed changes in the Amish/Mennonite community. Your rescue work is admirable but why not take it further and advocate for real change within a community that you understand and could reach in ways we could not?

    3. Bath Brock

      Amish are not mennonite. Two different groups. Amish consider dogs to be livestock and treat them as such…..which is usually to meet their own bottom line, regardless of the welfare of the animals. As long as an animal can reproduce or still pull a cart, they are allowed to live……with only enough basic food and vet care to not drop dead. Beyond that, tough for the animal. Ask any vet who has seen the end result of the lack of GOOD care.

  21. Mary

    part of the problem is that the main authority for the Amish is their church. The Ordnung (rules of a particular church district) trumps everything in Amish life. For the Amish it is almost more important than the Bible itself. It would be seen as unChristian to criticize your neighbor for making a living which is not technically illegal. Make puppy mills illegal and then the Amish won’t have them. To treat animals as sentient beings would be against their belief that this world is only a temporary home, because it would put the creation higher than the Creator.
    I am also a Christian but I believe all creation is precious because it reflects the mind of God, and therefore deserves respect. I am not against livestock, but since God created animals, we must treat them with compassion and humanely.

  22. Mary Lou Kolenkiewicz

    I am new the the puppy mill disgrace. Sadly, too many either don’t know or, worse, don’t want to know. I very much respect and agree with what you have written. When we know better, we’re suppose to do better. Wish I could get a copy of your book, I’m sure it’s educational as well as eye opening.
    Thanks for speaking out, I admire your courage and heart.

    1. Wendy Scott

      people want what they want when they want it so we have to legislate behavior (which we do all the time!)….amish have failed top pawlice themselves which is why- don’t shop til they stop!! no pies, jams,jelly , honey, quilts, Lancaster. PA………………BOYCOTT!! all AMISH GOODS and TOURIST destinations like Pinecraft Florida, Lancaster PA,

    2. Chun Chun

      I agree with you that many people don’t know or choose to being ignorant about puppy mills. It is very sad.
      Education the public is really the way to go.

    3. Lisa

      Bravo for you for speaking out against this deplorable situation and not letting the Amish hide behind their religion. I’ve read about the Amish and puppy mills from many sources, but you further enlightened me on the topic. I guess the only way to stop the cruelty is with state or federal legislation. I was so disheartened recently when Governor Ducey from Arizona didn’t veto pro puppy mill legislation. So shameful! So, the fight continues. Again, thank you for having the courage and compassion to speak out and I hope you continue to do so!

  23. Cathy Segraves

    I am in Indiana, surrounded by Amish puppy mills. I feel exactly as you do and am so happy to see this opinion in print. Will be sharing this on a FB page I help with: Indiana Ban of Puppy Mills Project. Thank you!

    1. Tina giorgetti

      My Newfoundland came from an Amish Mill in Denver, Indiana. it was raided and closed down…
      She was carted so when she stood, she could not hold her head up…that took me six months to get her to do it. She was bred repeatedly to the point that when she saw ANY small animal, she would grab onto it and hide it so I could not take it from her. I got her when she was 4… she passed away at 6… these are not caring people… they are mill breeders and it needs to stop!

  24. Tracy

    I’m on your side. I’ve been flamed several times for sharing my strong opinions about the Amish and their hatred for animals (women and children). I appreciate you articulating it in a way I haven’t been able to.

    1. Gwen Johnson

      The years I spent personally associated with the amish was before I got involved with animal rescue. Like you said, after seeing the way they treat their women and children, I can only imagine how dogs are treated!

  25. Lori Viereckl

    I totally agree with you Becky, until the “elders” “shun” those who raise dogs in mills and those who work their animals to death, the Cruelty will continue. Not all Amish are cruel, but they all turn a blind eye.

  26. Toni Kalish

    Well thought out, clear analysis and beautifully written.
    If we hold true to the idea that we are responsible for what we do and say, silence and inaction make us no less guilty.

  27. Jim Kieselburg

    Know that I am in the very same place and as such, will NOT BUY ANYTHING even slightly connected to the amish ! (note: no capitalization! – mine)
    ‘Gentle People’ my foot ! They treat animals with cruelty, no respect and their women not much better! (IMHO)
    As a practicing Buddhist, I believe that dogs are sentient beings and need to be accorded treatment that is deserved by the same. The amish believe that dogs have no soul and are merely ‘livestock’ !

  28. Jim Kieselburg

    Know that I am in the very same place and as such, will NOT BUY ANYTHING even slightly connected to the Amish !
    ‘Gentle People’ my foot ! They treat animals with cruelty, no respect and their women not much better! (IMHO)

  29. Janet

    I pretty much agree with your letter. I have read about the Amish and there treatment of animals. They have no regard for feelings of animals, they will use them until they drop. I would never by anything from the Amish for this reason alone. No produce or meat products sold in my near by grocery, at a craft booth, flea-market, nothing. Until they start to treat animals humanly I will boycott them

  30. Bobbi polark

    Becky, I so abhor puppy mills, but I grew up in Oelwein, which you’ve been too, and Amish were all around us. We interacted with them on a weekly basis. We also took weekly trips to their farms to buy bread, produce, etc. they also provided work/repair services. We knew a lot of the families in the congregation personally. These Amish cared for their animals immensely….I can honestly say I would have seen if they had mills or abused their horses. However I know this problem is rampant and needs to be shut down!

    1. Chris Ryder

      Being in rescue and seeing dogs from puppy mills everyday and witnessing the most inhumane treatment we need to keep speaking out. I am originally from PA. Where we have many Amish communities that tourists come to visit. Little do they know what horrible things go on with their animals. As you stated there might be a few who don’t agree with with this practice but very few.
      Living now in TX. We also witness many puppy mills and when they’re shut down they just move and open up somewhere else. People just don’t realize, NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNTIL THE LAWS CHANGE. please don’t sit back in your chair and complain, DO SOMETHING! Write to your representatives. Demand ALL puppy mill be closed down. Think about fostering an animal from your local shelter or rescue group so it frees up space to save more. If you can’t foster, donate, if you can’t donate, EDUCATE. spread the word about vaccinating and spayed and neutering. Speak out about puppy mills. Don’t buy an animal from a pet store, these dogs come from puppy mills! Do your part.


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