Date Archives April 2016

An Open Letter to Amy Jesse and the Humane Society of the United States

The Dog Merchants-3DOn April 19, New Jersey’s Bergen Record published an op-ed I wrote about a proposed law that would require all pet stores statewide to do business only with rescuers, and not with breeders. It is a piece of legislation crafted in close cooperation with the Humane Society of the United States, which has lobbied for similar “pet store puppy-mill bans” to be passed in about 125 municipalities nationwide so far. HSUS hopes the New Jersey ban, if enacted as a statewide model, can be replicated in every state across the nation.

The clearly stated position I took in my op-ed was that it is short-sighted to ban pet stores from working with all breeders, including responsible ones, while driving business to all rescuers, including irresponsible ones.

Sadly, there are many documented cases of rescuers failing to to business responsibly. While the majority of rescuers do the right thing—when dealing with dogs like my own two adopted mutts, and the nearly 20 foster puppies I have welcomed into my home—it is undeniable that reports continue to spread nationwide of some rescuers transferring sick dogs into the homes of unwitting families. It’s an open secret among rescuers that some offer dogs for “adoption” who are just as sickly or temperamentally unsound as the dogs that some of the worst breeders offer for “sale.”

In my own home, while volunteering time and money for the cause of rescue, I’ve had so-called “healthy” foster puppies from a well-intentioned rescue group arrive with everything from a torn ear caked in blood to severe coccidia to a lack of rabies shot. I also had a “friendly” foster dog bite me five times in the arms and legs. Similar stories are what have led states all across New England to pass emergency orders and regulations, trying to get the least-responsible rescuers under control, no matter how good their intentions may be in saving dogs’ lives.

“The consequences of irresponsible rescue are just as devastating to families as those of irresponsible breeding,” I wrote in my op-ed. “Before we drive even more business to rescuers, we need to ensure that they behave responsibly. It’s exactly what we failed to do with breeders decades ago, leading to our current situation on the worst of the farms — which we now cannot get under control.”

The Dog Merchants-3DTHE REST OF THE REAL STORY
Before I submitted my op-ed to the Bergen Record, I exchanged emails with Amy Jesse, the public policy coordinator for HSUS’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign. I told her specifically that I was working on an op-ed, and that I wanted her opinion on whether it was wise to legally require pet stores to work only with rescuers, when we all know that some rescuers are moving problematic dogs into people’s homes.

She responded by writing, “I am impressed with your knowledge of this issue and dedication to this cause,” and she agreed with me, adding later in her email, “I do think that better regulation of rescues is needed in New Jersey and in all states, but I am not sure that this bill is the right place to do that.” I quoted her accurately in my op-ed, stating just that point on which we agree.

Yesterday, instead of holding that common ground, Jesse chose to take the low road with her own op-ed in the Bergen Record. Instead of stating the truth as we had both acknowledged it in writing, she announced to the general public, “Kim Kavin misses the mark with her defense of current puppy mill regulations.”

Because yes, that’s me: a defender of puppy mills. How utterly ridiculous.

I did not defend current USDA regulations over huge commercial breeding farms. In fact, I didn’t even mention those regulations in my piece at all. (Again, you can read my op-ed for yourself.)

It is downright shameful for Jesse to agree with my point, and then to turn around and publicly mischaracterize my stance in an attempt to protect her pending legislation at my personal expense. Character assassination and misrepresentation of facts are the feeble swipes of those who do not want to address, nor even discuss, the weaknesses of their own position.

My point–again, on which we all agree–remains the same. Nobody wants dogs being treated badly, or being handed over to families sick. We should not be legally requiring pet stores to do business with the least responsible rescuers today any more than we should have allowed them to do business for so many decades with the least responsible breeders.

I understand that this inconvenient truth may be a problem for the pending legislation that Jesse and HSUS are urging lawmakers to pass nationwide, but that’s no reason to take personal swipes at me about things I never even stated.

Amy Jesse, I implore you and everyone at HSUS to rejoin me on the high road: Let’s all get back to work, being on the side of all dogs.

Second Excerpt from ‘The Dog Merchants’ Book: Inside the Hunte Corporation

The Dog Merchants-3DDogster.com just published the second excerpt from The Dog Merchants book. It’s the first 1,000 words or so of the chapter about the Hunte Corporation.

Many dog lovers have never heard of Hunte, but it is a big part of filling the demand for purebred dogs in America. Hunte is a middleman that, depending on the year, distributes 45,000 to 90,000 puppies from commercial farms and other breeders into pet stores nationwide, by way of its $10 million, 200,000-square-foot facility near Walmart and Tyson Foods.

Hunte has been sued on charges of racketeering by the Humane Society of the United States, received death threats and emails calling its workers “Christian devils,” and been cited by the state of Missouri in a complaint that contains the phrase “mass puppy graves.”

“The Dog Merchants”chapter about Hunte includes their perception of what they are doing, based on a full day that I spent inside with top officials.

Here are the first 1,000 words of that chapter, published with permission by Dogster.com.

Book Signings Start This Weekend!

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]I’m excited to be starting the book signings for The Dog Merchants this weekend in my home state of New Jersey! Some of our events will even be in conjunction with local rescue groups, so you can meet great pups who need homes.

See our events page for all upcoming dates and locations, or check out this video:[/fusion_text][/fullwidth][fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][youtube id=”https://youtu.be/Jmri7PK7QDI” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””][/youtube][/fullwidth]

The Dog Merchants on Seattle’s The Dog Show with Julie Forbes

The Dog Merchants-3DThis hour-long interview on The Dog Show with Julie Forbes aired live last week on Seattle’s KKNW.

It was a fantastic conversation with a knowledgeable host who had read The Dog Merchants book and really wanted to dig into the issues affecting all of our beloved dogs, in the purebred and rescue worlds alike.

You can listen to the full hour anytime by clicking here.

Thanks again to Julie and her team for this wonderful opportunity to discuss The Dog Merchants. It is truly a pleasure to have these kinds of conversations with people who really care about all the dogs, all the time.

New Video: The Blue-Eyed Mutt

[fullwidth background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_text]More great reviews are coming in for “The Dog Merchants” book! This fun new video full of happy dogs shows some of my favorites. Enjoy![/fusion_text][youtube id=”https://youtu.be/OKuF8jO9TvA” width=”600″ height=”350″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”” class=””][/youtube][/fullwidth]

The First Published Excerpt from “The Dog Merchants” Book

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 9.43.11 AMThe spring issue of The Bark (on sale now!) includes a fantastic, nine-page feature that is excerpted from The Dog Merchants book. It’s the first excerpt to be published ahead of the book becoming available to the public on May 2.

That excerpted article just came online. You can read it in full by going to this page on The Bark‘s website.

Stay tuned for the next excerpt to be published later this month on Dogster.com!