Because of our website about border collies and the life of our dogs, we get several calls a week about dogs and puppies. We usually don’t have any to sell but people will want a recommendation for a breeder or will have a question about one or they want advice about their own BC. I don’t mind giving my thoughts if I know, on recommending or a breeder, but I have to actually know who I'm talking about, only to be fair to them. In the last two years, I have received several dozen calls about a BC breeder in Lafayette, Indiana and all of them were people that had concerns about the border collies that were there. There were two calls that really stuck with me. The first was from a man that had made a visit and was upset because of the conditions of the kennel. I listened to him and tried to console him thinking it couldn't have been that bad. He called back and stated that he had made another visit only to be more upset. He didn't know who to call and I gave him some information and contacts he could use. After he vented for a while, he actually broke down and cried because of their treatment and abuse and didn't understand how anybody could do that to an animal. I took it upon myself to call the local authorities “just to talk” one retired investigator to an active one. The officer was well aware of the breeder and stated that 80% of ALL their calls are for the same breeder and abuse. They did state that there was a court hearing at the end of the month. All was well, problem solved…or so I thought…
In August of this year, I received a lengthy email about the same breeder and abuse. After reading it, I asked her to call me so we could talk. It was a woman who made a stop from Florida going to her home up north. She was shocked and just needed to vent and a shoulder to cry on. She stated that she couldn't go any further inside the kennel after she saw the first of the 43 dogs that were caged, it was just too much and she left the kennel crying while her husband spoke to the breeder.
Her testimony was heartbreaking and I knew at that very moment, I had to do something, I didn't know what, but I had to do something. Before I could take anyone’s word, I had to make a visit. It would not be fair to discuss the situation or make an opinion if I did not witness the “so called” abuse for myself, so I made my mind up; I was going to make a visit, just to see…and our journey starts.
The date was set and I asked Elaine to go, but she was busy at church and couldn't. I then asked a friend of ours, Karen Newhall who has 20 years experience in developing drugs for animal health and has a working sheep farm with two border collies. We chose a day to go, and off to Lafayette we went. A lot of small talk in the 3 hour drive, but as we got closer, the conversation was getting serious about the dogs. "What are we going to say?" "What are we going to ask?" I told Karen, I was getting a little nervous. In my past life I was a detective for 25 years in a major city, but what I was about to do hit close to home and concerned me more than anything I had done in those twenty-five years. As we pulled in, I turned to Karen and said, "I hope it's not as bad as we've been told" and she said "Me too".
The farm property was located at 10112 South 700 East, Clarks Hill, Indiana, which is a rural farm property; there is a mobile home and at least two metal pole buildings and 4 wire corn cribs. Many of the dogs are housed in a 30 x 60 metal pole building. The property is overgrown and unkempt. Some dogs are housed in the corn cribs, one dog was tied outside and one dog was loose. The border collies totaled at 43, that’s all we could see.
Part 2 will be posted next Sunday.
The information on this blog is in no way meant to cause harm, embarrassment, financial gain or loss, grief, anguish, suffering, pain or any other mental or physical condition. It is also not meant to inflame the reader as to running a dog kennel either good or poor. The information is stating the “fact of the matter” and is the documentation of invited guests. Permission was given to “take as many photos as we wanted of anything on the place” to be able to record the visit as we saw fit through our camera. This permission was given by the owner on two occasions and witnessed by four people. Photos and videos have not been enhanced except to crop several edges or to sharpen several images due to poor conditions or lighting.