WE DO THIS
For every dog we rescue,
thousands more are left behind.
Rescue work is expensive and mentally, emotionally, and physically draining work, but every dog we rescue is worth it.
There is an ongoing debate about the best way to rescue dogs and bring attention to the horrible conditions that roughly 2 million dogs live in. The commercial breeding industry, also known as puppy mills, is a barbarous industry that is only motivated by greed. (Click here to see a map of the puppy mills located in Missouri alone.)
One of the most passionately debated ways of rescuing dogs is by purchasing them at auction. Some suggest that those rescues who purchase dogs at rescue aren't really rescues and are somehow in it for the money.
If you are a dog owner, how would you feel if your pet were forced to live in a cage (sometimes too small) for its entire life? Instead of receiving your love and affection, your dog was abused and malnourished?
Puppy mill operators are only interested in their dogs—sometimes dozens—doing one thing: make more puppies. If they can do it in an easier and cheaper way, they will. Even at the expense of the dog's welfare.
So we go to auctions to rescue as many dogs out of a harmful situation as we can. An argument we hear often is that we're giving these puppy mill owners more money to feed their greed. We're only perpetuating the cycle.
Let's look at the size of the commercial breeding industry. There are approximately 2 million dogs in almost 2,500 commercial breeding operations in the United States. Together they generate about $2 billion every year.
Out of those 2 million dogs, only about 7,500 dogs are sold at auction in a given year (in the entire nation). It is estimated that only 20 percent of dogs that go to auction are purchased by rescues. So, our best-case scenario is that 1,500 dogs are rescued out of that vicious and miserable world. Every other dog goes to another puppy mill.
When these dogs get out of their cages for the first time in their life, they often don't know what to do. When they are put on grass, they often won't move from fear . . . they don't know what grass is, or what it means to be out of their cages.
Doesn't that sound like a "real" rescue dog to you?
We've seen the trauma dogs delivered from puppy mills experience. They are terrified of humans. They sometimes have horrible illnesses and conditions because of the lack of basic care they never received. Because of this, we feel called to help them. We need to speak for them since they are unable to speak for themselves.
We certainly don't do it for the money.
Rescue is expensive, and the adoption fees don't cover the dog's complete expenses. Sometimes the dog's expenses are hundreds, or even thousands of dollars more than the adoption fee. Why? Because these dogs often come sick, and we are determined to take care of every medical need we can. We want to give every dog a chance at an amazing life with an amazing new home.
So, where does this billion-dollar industry find the money?
From the general public who is largely unaware that puppy mills exist, or that they really are that bad.
Puppy mills fly under the radar. You rarely hear about them on the news. Commercial breeders fall under the regulations of the USDA. However, there are only 115 USDA inspectors. These 115 inspectors are responsible for making sure all 2,423 commercial breeders, zoos, and laboratories comply with regulations. Clearly the inspectors cannot make the rounds to all these facilities on an annual, or even biannual, basis.
Until 2017 the USDA made the inspections and violations available to the public online (similar to how restaurant inspections are made available). Now they are no longer available.
So, how do we know that puppy mills are horrible?
By looking at the dogs used for breeding. Are they well cared for? Are they groomed? Are they bathed? Do they receive proper nutrition and medical care?
Not. Even. A little.
The dogs we've rescued have come with an array of medical needs: multiple teeth needing removed, heartworms, parvo, broken jaws (that were not fixed), females that have had way too many litters for their age . . . and so much more.
We are 100 percent supported by the kindness of our donors. Because our donors believe in our mission and believe these dogs need a chance to have their stories told and their voices heard, we are able to rescue dogs who've overcome some amazing things.
We share their photos and videos on social media. We tell their stories through their medical updates. We are happiest when we get to share their "happily-ever-after" photos with their new families who've graciously taken these dogs into their home.
How do we know rescues are honest and above board?
Because rescue groups like ours are 501(c)3 organizations. That means we are mandated by the IRS to be transparent. And we are happy to do so. Every year, we file returns that are available to the public for review.
We are happy to tell you that we are 100 percent run by volunteers. No one attached to HavaHeart Rescue in any capacity takes a salary. The entire team—from the foster dog reps, the foster families, the people who prepare for and help intake the dogs from a rescue—are volunteers. Each of us has a life and career outside of this rescue.
We do this for the love of dogs. We do this because we know that the more we tell these dogs' stories, the more people we are able to share the need to end puppy mills and change the laws that unwittingly protect them. We believe we have the ability to bring awareness to the situation by changing one more dog's life. And giving new families the opportunity to be part of that change.