It Is Over...

As I set my alarm for 5:30 am on the morning of the puppy mill trial last week, I awoke a little apprehensive because there were so many things in the works and I had to travel 2 hours to get there.  

A Dog from the raid.
My glass is “always” half empty and to say I am a pessimist is a true statement.  I am a deep thinker and will think and rethink about a problem until I solve it, sometimes into the middle of the night.  When I worked for the government, at times I would go to bed at a normal time, start thinking about a project and by 1 AM, I was driving to work to complete my 16-hour shift because my job had consequences.  

President George H.W. Bush in my office.
I always have plan “B”, and plan “C” is not far behind.  To be honest, I do overthink things and I straightaway form an opinion about people, and to my knowledge, I've always been right, but it is a curse.
One trait I have is “Why can't we do that”, and to me it always seems so simple.  One of my biggest problems, nothing is impossible if you work hard enough, there is no stopping on my part… never.
“It was now the best of times” and it was, after the trial of a puppy miller who had his day in court.  My glass was half full…
This is Boone, he came to me from Sanders Border Collies, the puppy mill for re-homing last year.   This very photo, came to me last night, unknown to the owners what I was writing about and the caption was,  "Best, Day EVER." and it is...
Thirty ordinance violations stemming from the February seizure of Sanders' dogs hit the rural Stockwell breeder in the wallet. He was fined $24,600, by the Judge and Randy Sanders already owes nearly $50,000 in fines from the county's successful court action taken last fall to restrict him to keeping no more than three dogs — a court order he was violating at the time the seven dogs were rescued in February.  Sanders has not made a single payment toward that fine.  The Judge severed breeder Thurman "Randy" Sanders Jr.'s ownership of the seven dogs.  "He can't own or possess a dog, except for Spud," Morrissey said, referring to one Border collie still in Sanders' possession. The judge barred Sanders from allowing Spud to breed.

This breeder has been in court before in the last 30 years with 33 court cases according to CourtView.  Eighteen of those times, he was the defendant with countless charges of Neglect of a Vertebrate Animal, Cruelty to Dogs, Food, Water, Shelter, and Animal Control Ordinance violations but he was never convicted for many reasons, but this time, the prosecution and Judge did their job and thankfully so.  To say this was a small enterprise is a colossal understatement.  To the people who worked many tireless hours and spent whatever it took, we thank you, the dogs thank you and the community thanks you.  In my heart, if not for several people, this would also have been brushed over as it had been for nearly 10 years of complaints, calls, and visits and no one listened.  Three people were involved with the true “ins and outs” of the case and most people don't even know their name, just as they want it.  Nearly all information was kept close to the cuff because of rumors and inaccuracy that could have hurt the case.  Many people helped in one way or another but the three involved, communicated several times daily via emails and calls to the real movers and shakers and kept the ball rolling which gained speed because of them.  In addition, a thank you to Nina and Dr. Baker, who kept, watched and physically treated and cared for each one.   It was the best of times…

But where do we go now?  Will this be the worst of times?  Compared to some cases, no.  In April 2011, an estimated 200 starving Border Collies were rescued in East Texas.

In October 2009, a puppy mill raid yields 100 Border Collies in Portland, Tennessee,There are 15,000 puppy mills across this country and there is no such thing as a humane puppy mill.  We have put a great deal of focus on shutting down these mills and we conduct one to two raids per month.” said Scotlund Haisley, Senior Director of Emergency Services for Humane Society of the United States.

As I sat down last week to write, I just didn't have anything left in me.  I was at a Border Collie rehabilitation farm in New York and with the trial coming up, it was a lot to take in.  I reflected back to my visit at the puppy mill and work we did but as I have said unless you see it, feel it, hear it, smell it and even taste it, you have no idea of what you're talking about.  There are images I will never forget and I will take to my grave and as Oskar Schindler said: “I could have got more.” And in my heart I know “I” could have done more too.

Because of the lack of ordinances in Texas and many states, these things go on because of the lack of sufficient laws to enforce.  Usually, there is just nothing that could be done, however, this can change.  Tippecanoe County in Indiana changed the animal ordinances as of December 15, 2014, and even today, they are being changed because of one person who remains nameless and ever vigilant.  Thank you!

Life is not about what I have done, what I should have done, what I could have done, it is about what I can do and what I will do.

Without the help of people who put everything before themselves, sacrificing their time, money and even sanity, this circle would not have been broken.  A special thanks to two of the three…Karen and Sharon.

Before I did anything, I received nearly 20 calls on this very puppy mill, I worked with their dogs and comforted the caller each time, but one call got me.  It shook my soul and I listened more than ever and heard the words I'll never forget "you have to see it" and I did.  That one call started the process, to right the wrong and stop the endless pain and suffering.  Thank you LeAnne, you made the difference.  

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Note:  I have always written about "What happened on the Farm."   Usually, it is funny and witty telling stories about my dogs.  Sometimes, it tragic dealing with unpleasantries but it's what happens during the week.  This event took 3 years of my life and left me with scars and a changed person. You have to ask yourself "would I do it again?"  Not for me but for that chained dog that followed me with her eyes, unable to move and had not done so for months... you bet I would... but now I'm stronger... Ken