National Mill Dog Rescue rescues and rehabilitates abandoned breeding dogs

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When Theresa Strader first saw the inside of a puppy mill in February 2007, she decided her future lay in rescuing dogs from the inhumane conditions often found on high-volume dog farms.

“These dogs that most people didn’t even know existed back then needed a voice,” Strader told the Chieftain days before National Pet Day on Monday.

“And after seeing that, I knew I could potentially be that voice. That was the very beginning.”

Strader went on to establish the National Mill Dog Rescue in Peyton – just over an hour north of Pueblo, east of Colorado Springs – and over the next 15 years helped save nearly 17,000 dogs from puppy mills, commercial breeding operations that prioritize profit above animal welfare.

“A dog doesn’t belong in a very tight crate all its life for the purpose of producing puppies and nothing else,” Strader said. “And most of them, at the end, when they can’t produce anymore, usually when a female is between 5 and 8 years old, she is killed.

“So you’re in the crate, you make as many puppies as you can every 6 months for your entire life, and when you can’t do that anymore…you get killed,” Strader said.

She and National Mill Dog Rescue volunteers rehabilitate and rehome dogs that have reached the end of their breeding lives and educate the general public about the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry.

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Crates of dogs rescued from commercial breeders by the National Mill Dog Rescue, a Peyton non-profit organization.

National Mill Dog Rescue’s adoption screening is thorough and aims to ensure that its dogs, who sometimes have medical and behavioral issues, are sent to loving homes that can meet their needs.

The commercial breeders from which the rescue obtains its dogs voluntarily give up the dogs when they are too old to be bred.

Most dogs rescued by National Mill Dog Rescue come from Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, but commercial breeders are everywhere, including Colorado.

Every breeder is different, Strader said, and some take better care of their animals than others.

Despite the shortcomings of many breeders in the industry, eliminating breeding operations is not a solution to the problem, she said.

“Whenever a breeder goes bankrupt, a lot of people think, ‘Yee-haw!’ and that’s it. But what we can’t change is the demand for puppies,” Strader said.

When puppies are not available in the United States, potential parents sometimes look to purchase them in other countries such as China or Mexico, where facility standards are “probably worse” than in the United States. Strader said.

One of approximately 17,000 dogs rescued from commercial breeding by the National Mill Dog Rescue.

Responsible Adoption

For those considering taking the first steps toward adopting a dog, there are thousands of animals in shelters and shelters across the United States looking for their forever homes.

But for those who insist on buying a puppy from a breeder, Strader said it’s important to ask questions.

“The most important question if you go to a breeder and buy a puppy is to see the parent,” Strader said.

“You want to see the parents of your dog, your puppy. You want to see that they resemble the breed you are supposed to buy, but more importantly you want to see their condition and temperament. Because their condition and temperament are likely to show in their puppies.

She said people should be careful if they walk into a breeder’s house to find a playpen full of puppies in the living room. They should always ask to see where the puppy was raised.

“And any breeder that doesn’t want to show it to you, there’s a reason,” she said.

When buying a puppy, Strader said it’s important that buyers do their due diligence, even if that means going to the breeding facility to see the conditions firsthand.

“If that rancher is an hour away, drive there. Do this. Don’t meet them in a parking lot because it’s convenient for everyone,” she said. “Cared enough to go see where this pup was born and raised.”

Many responsible breeders respect the dogs in their care, Strader said, but there’s still room for improvement in the industry as a whole.

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“We should keep our eyes and our regulations on this industry and work with people collaboratively, not try to demonize everyone who breeds dogs, but rather work with them to bring the standard to something that we all agree on. being humane and ethical towards the dog,” she says.

That would include “retiring at an age where he still has years of joyful life left,” she said. “And that’s where we come in.”

Chief Reporter Zach Hillstrom can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ZachHillstrom

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