Think twice before you use WAG or!

Think twice before you use WAG or!

Just how safe are services like WAG and

NOT VERY, according to a recent story by CBS. They report that MORE THAN 14 dog deaths have occured recently while dogs were in the care of these ‘uber for dog walking‘ apps. This is FRIGHTENING!

WAG in NYC: 8 dog deaths and counting

You wouldn’t think twice about hiring a professional dog walker – one who is bonded, insured and trained, right? Well guess what, you should!

Another dog was killed under the care of Wag, a pet app, in July. Dogs have also been killed when walkers were hired from Rover, and other “uber for dogs” apps like Barkly Pets.

Dogs stolen and worse – thanks to apps like Wag!

A Manhattan couple’s dog, Benny (a Shih Tzu-Yorkie mix) shown at right with his owner, was allegedly stolen by a Wag walker in June of this year.


But thanks to the efforts of the NYPD, a special hotline, a private detective and celebrity Olivia Munn, Benny was returned to his grateful parents.

Other dog parents haven't been as lucky.

Wag, Rover and other apps insist that they carefully vet walkers with robust screening.

However, that clearly wasn’t the case for one couple in Danville, California recently.

A home video showed that the man hired from Wag! to walk their dog was kicking and whipping the pet. The perpetrator had a variety of criminal charges against him; at that point, it became clear that Wag! background checks were woefully inadequate. They typically do a background check on its walkers just once, when they were hired on.

Experts say a single background check is not enough; these checks should be done annually at the very least.

This loser, by the way, was charged with animal cruelty.

dog walker kicking dog

Wag says on its site that it guarantees up to $1,000,000 “if anything goes wrong” during a walk.

But the fine print then clarifies that a claim will be paid a measly $500 or less!

Three recent horror stories reported by ABC News

dog walking services


Wag and Rover are two popular apps used by dog owners everywhere to find someone to walk to board their furry friend. But a small number of owners have come home to their worst nightmare: finding their pet had died or their homes in disarray.

Last summer in Colorado, Wally, a dachshund, was mauled to death by another dog, while someone from Rover was supposed to be watching him.

Wally’s owner found out through a message sent on the app that read, “A mastiff completely mauled your dog and killed him instantly.”


In New York, a dog walker brought a woman to a customer’s house. The homeowner caught it on camera and called a friend to interrupt them.


Another incident reported an overnight dog sitter, who according to the homeowner, trashed her Denver house and left it smelling like weed. The house sitter even went as far to post a photograph of himself on Instagram, showing him taking a bubble bath in the homeowner’s bathtub.

Rover and Wag didn’t want to talk about this homeowner’s specific case. While such cases aren’t the norm, they are reminders of what can happen.

What owners saywhat owners say about dog walking services

dog walking services - heartbreak


Over 11 dogs and counting are dead and abused by Wag’s walkers, according to one report in the New York Post.

Wag, Rover and Reputable Dog Walkers: what's the difference?

One dog care business,, puts it plainly:

It’s about money and managed risk. It’s not about animals or even client satisfaction. The creators of these digital marketplaces (that’s what they are) are not in the business of taking care of animals. They are in the business of making money. Period.

Signing up to work for an app like Wag or Rover is easy money for many people.

That said, most who work for these organizations are dedicated to your dog. But for that minority, it’s too easy to sign up for some quick cash between other jobs. Too often, these people are fly by night, not professional caregivers for animals.

Wag, Rover and similar companies like Barkly Pets, are “staffed” by independent contractors, not employees. People come and go according to their immediate financial need and don’t make much of a commitment to the company.

These contractors are:

  • untrained
  • non-professional
  • unlicensed

They set their own rates, typically around $15 per 30-minute walk.

With Wag! you can’t always pick the walker and must sign up with your credit card before viewing potential walkers in your area.

The growing number of dogs being abused or even dying in the care of apps like Wag! and Rover is extremely alarming.

CBS News spoke to 14 families who say their dogs died while in the care of Rover (12) or Wag! (2 dogs)

Victims claim that the services try to buy their silicon with small payouts that come with a non-disclosure kicker.


How to find a reliable dog walker

Look for someone local with a professional website, good reviews on multiple platforms including Facebook, Google and Yelp; workers compensation for employees, Pet CRP/First aid training and employees not contractors.

You’ll have to dig through the fine print in many cases, but it is worth it.

  • Be sure to look for pet care provider with professional licenses.
  • Does your walker have dog walking insurance and bonding?

For anyone who gets paid to walk a dog, dog walking insurance is vital. It covers the walker, the client dog, other dogs and more.

An example of coverage is: your walker is at the park with your dog and another dog starts a fight. Both are injured. Or, the walker might forget to lock your door and your home is burglarized.


Bonding is a little different; it is a type of insurance that protects against any losses caused by the dog walker. To be voided, a dog walker usually must be registered as a business.

Most dog walking apps have both insurance and bonding for their clients. However, a local company may not.

Puppy mills: let’s put an end to them

Puppy mills: let’s put an end to them

If you’re a dog lover, please join in and help stop puppy mills. I’m not going to share a lot of nightmarish pictures or stories, but I do want to let you know why it’s more urgent than ever to stop puppy mills now, and how you can help.

Puppy mills: just the facts

  • There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States
  • Over 2 million puppies bred in mills each year
  • An estimated 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, thanks to simple overcrowding and oversupply of dogs
  • Estimated number of puppies sold annually who originated from puppy mills:  2.04 million puppy mill dogs are sold online and at pet stores
  • Estimated number of puppy mills in the U.S. – 10,000
  • Estimated number of dogs kept solely for breeding purposes – 167,388

*from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) 2014 Puppy Mill Facts and Figures report and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Pet Statistics

How to stop puppy mills now:

the top 10 things you can do today

1. Starve them out. If you don’t buy your puppy from an Internet seller or from a pet shop (where puppy-mill puppies are sold), puppy mills will go out of business.

2. Adopt first. Check shelters, rescues and the websites below.

3. Think long and hard. Before you get a puppy on impulse, think about it. Is your lifestyle now – and for 15 years — suitable for a dog? Can you afford a dog? Do you have the time for a dog?

4. Shop local. If you make the decision to go with a Morkie breeder, stay local. You MUST check the breeder’s background and VISIT. Visit the home where the mother dog and her puppies live so you can be sure it is an ethical breeder.

5. Speak out! Tell friends, family and social networks about the evil of puppy mills.

6. Know the law. Check your state’s dog breeding and selling laws. If you have a puppy from a puppy mill, know how to protect yourself and enforce the laws that are already on the books. Start here:

7. Change laws. Support and recommend legislation that regulates the breeding and selling of animals.

8. Support front lines. Organizations that act as watchdogs over breeders are so important. Consider supporting them with your money, time (volunteering for shelters and rescue groups) or talents (writing letters, organizing events, vaccination programs):

9. Write letters. Write to your state and federal legislators. Write letters to editors of newspapers local and national. Express how disturbed and appalled you are by the unethical breeding practices and inhumane treatment of dogs kept in puppy mills. Leverage your position as a voter to make change happen.

10. See it? Report it. If you see something unethical or abusive, tell your local animal law enforcement agency and follow up.

Boycott groups who condone puppy mills

AMISH and MENNONITES are among the biggest offenders when it comes to puppy mills


The website, which tracks down rumors and innuendo on the web, has been trying to prove something that’s been going around:

that Amish own 20% of the nations’ puppy mills in the USA

The Amish community is a relatively small and isolated group of Christians who live throughout the American Northeast and Midwest and abide by the lifestyle and technology of a bygone era. Their beliefs include the idea that dogs and puppies are livestock. That’s especially concerning because many Amish are not known to treat livestock well.

While it hasn’t been proven conclusively that Amish own 20% of puppy mills, it is known that Amish people make up a small percentage of Americans, with an estimated population of roughly 300,000. But, according to animal welfare groups, the Amish are prolific dog breeders.

Here’s how most Amish treat their horses: like dirt


Read more

Lest Canadians feel they have the market on ethical treatment of animals…

From “Well they don’t happen here in Canada right?” WRONG. They do 80% of puppy mills in Ontario are owned/operated by the Amish & Mennonite Communities – they don’t just have “quite a few dogs,”  they have hundreds if not thousands.

When you are buying that cute little puppy from an Amish or Mennonite, you are not seeing the tops of the barns or outbuildings where the breeding adults are being kept. Most often, they will only bring out a few puppies for you to view, so you cannot see the conditions in which the breeding adults are being kept in.

While many puppy mills are located in Quebec, puppy mills operate from coast to coast in Canada. Animal protection groups believe that the vast majority of puppies sold in pet stores in Canada come from puppy mills.


Puppy mill dogs are not only sold in pet stores, but also through the internet, at flea markets or advertised in local newspapers. They can also be sold directly from the mill although visitors are generally not allowed inside the facility to see the conditions in which the breeding dogs are kept.


Humane Society International report 

Holier than Thou???

Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) is a worldwide Amish and Mennonite charitable organization run by volunteers that log in over 200,000 hours of work a year. Annual donations made by mostly “plain people” are $116,168,060, according to Charity Navigator. BUT 98.8% of this money actually goes toward relief efforts in the US and around the world. (Some charitable organizations give less than 70% to their actual cause)

“CAM is run by a volunteer board and has only three paid positions, the top CEO making $45,895 a year. CAM has staff, bases and distribution networks in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Haiti, Nicaragua, Liberia and Israel. I don’t know? I was blown away completely. CAM is doing a top-notch job.”

Read more about Christian Aid Ministries 

Consider boycotting any and all efforts of Christian Aid Ministries until they clean up their act.

In Canada, the Mennonites support a charity called MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.

Resources to help you take a stand

another puppy mill protest

Great sample letters: NHES sample letter

Scroll down to bottom of the page, “Find Your Officials” on this page to find your local representative.

How to organize a peaceful pet store protest

Paws for Hope sample letter

Letter to the editor sample

Who does this!!?? STOLEN MORKIE!

Who does this!!?? STOLEN MORKIE!

Teddy, an 11-year-old Maltese and Yorkie mix, is blind and needs life-saving diabetes medication. His owner says time is running out.

“He now has missed four shots. He’s in dire need of his medication and he needs constant water,” said his owner, Tara Cameron Harris.

Police believe Heather Ryan, 48, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is the thief.

Teddy was taken from the Petco store on Legacy Drive, The Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, around 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21, just minutes before Harris’ family arrived to pick him up from grooming.

Meet the suspect, HEATHER RYAN, 48, of Palm Beach Gardens


Police are looking for Heather Ryan, 48, of Palm Beach Gardens.

It is believed that Ryan may be in Broward County as her personal belongings were found abandoned at the Cypress Creek Tri-Rail Station.

Stolen Morkie is blind and diabetic and can’t survive long without his medications.

More details here at WPTV

Contact Palm Beach Gardens Police if you have any information

Go Cruelty Free – Why not!

Go Cruelty Free – Why not!

Beagles in testing lab

Beagles in testing lab, scheduled to test (and suffer for) mascara.

I started to put together a little blog about animal testing, after I received a lengthy email describing the plight of Beagles used in testing cosmetics and some medications. Up to 70,000 die each year in this cause, in the United States alone! You can read  more here at the Beagle Freedom Project but I just couldn’t summarize all the horror.

BUT, what I can do, is give you a great list of cruelty free skincare, makeup and household free products. They’re made without animal testing.


But wait, isn’t animal testing necessary for OUR safety?

Not at all say experts. Animals are used because they’re cheap and it’s easy. Systems are already in place to use animals to test products. And the industry, happy to make HUGE profits, defends itself with cheesey advertising [propaganda] like this:

I call B.S. on this one – who would you rather see die, a rat or a girl? Pathetic exaggeration!


But from a scientific stance, animal testing doesn’t translate to people.

In addition to being cruel, these experiments are irrelevant to humans.

Studies published in prestigious medical journals have shown time and again that animal experimentation wastes lives—both animal and human—and precious resources by trying to infect animals with diseases that they would never normally contract. Fortunately, a wealth of cutting-edge non-animal research methodologies promises a brighter future for both animal and human health. The following are common statements supporting animal experimentation followed by the arguments against them.  — Peta


Get a downloadable list from PETA

Companies that dont test on animals; click for the list from PETA







Cruelty Free app!

This is exciting – Cruelty-Cutter is cruelty-free shopping made simple! Cast away any doubts when purchasing items by using Cruelty-Cutter to scan an item and have an immediate response about its animal testing status.

Share your results with friends on social media and also share your concern or praise with the company itself.

Read more or get the free app here: cruelty-cutter.




Dog napping with a happy ending

Dog napping with a happy ending

When this cutie went missing in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, owners acted fast to get him back.

sage-stolen-dogWhile a couple enjoyed a Saturday lunch downtown, dognappers got to work and stole this Lab/Shepherd cross who’d been tied up outside. The owners were aghast; they flagged down a passing police cruiser and explained the situation.

The officer told them to go back to the restaurant — the scene of the crime — where police could get more information and interview potential eyewitnesses. He also suggested the owners use the power of social media, and post to both Twitter and Facebook. Besides doing that, the owners directed their posts to a local Lost Dog group, and the message spread fast.

The police officer’s third recommendation hit pay dirt: he told them to call nearby pet supply stores and pet food outlets. A clerk in one of these stores recognized the description of the dog and after viewing the store’s security video, the couple immediately identified Sage as their missing dog.  The dog was returned within hours, unharmed but “quite a bit more clingy” according to the owners.

What they did right

checklistWhile leaving their dog outside the restaurant, out of their site while they ate, was clearly a careless mistake, the couple did several things very well:

  • they reacted very quickly, contacting police at once
  • they leveraged the power of social media, posting on Facebook  and Twitter, and sharing their posts with other animal lovers in the area
  • instead of randomly running all over the neighbourhood, they returned to the restaurant so the police officer could interview potential witnesses
  • they called nearby pet food and supply stores looking for the suspect


Rise in dog theft

Dog theft is definitely on the uprise, Why are pets stolen? Besides being sold to research labs or pet stores, they are used in bait and for dog fighting rings, in puppy mills to breeders, for fur (yes fur!), as breeding partners for dogs, and by sadistic individuals. This is definitely something you DO NOT want to think about for your little Morkie. So please take more care than ever, in this strange new world.


Another way to protect your Morkie and other outlets, offer pet GPS devices which help you track exactly where your animal is at any given moment. One which comes highly recommended is shown below – the XCSource Pet GPS. It’s a little on the larger side for really small dogs (2″ disk), but check it out. There are others as well.

They work by tracking your Morkie in four dimensions: Realtime tracking,GSM quad band network, all global GPS location. You can see where he is, by checking the company’s website, using an App for your phone, or by having a message sent to your phone’s text.

For more resources, please check out Adopt-a-Pet’s Lost and Found Guide here.





Dognappers and other Dirtbags

Dognappers and other Dirtbags

In Toronto, Canada there have been two shocking dognapping crimes within days. What can we learn from them to help us protect our Morkies?


Incident #1

dog napping victim

This man was punched in the face and a knife was held to his neck, during a dognapping in a Toronto park.

4 thugs on bikes stole a small dog from the owner at knifepoint in a North York park on November 15th.

Police say a man was walking his dog when he was approached by four men, all riding bicycles. They say one of the men punched the dog owner, another put a knife to his throat, then the group took the dog and fled.

“Charlie,” a white female Shih Tzu-Pomeranian mix, has  not been seen since and the owners are absolutely distraught. Charlie is four years old, has long white hair, weighs 10 to 15 pounds and was wearing a blue Maple Leafs sweater and a black harness.

Missing dog

Charlie, the missing Pom-Shih Tzu mix who was stolen at knifepoint from her owners.


Incident #2


Two of the missing 16 dogs in Toronto. All were quickly recovered safe and sound, when the thief abandoned the van holding them.

Just 3 days later, a white Ford panel van containing 16 dogs was stolen outside a condo in the Fort York area of Toronto! The dog walker who owns the vehicle says the van was left running, but was locked.

This city of nearly 3 million went crazy. Social media went crazy. Who would steal a truck full of dogs? And did he want the truck and just got the dogs? Or the other way around?

This incident has a happier ending than our first story; within 24 hours, all 16 stolen dogs (and the dog walker’s van) were found. All dogs are safe and sound, and very happy to be home.

The thief hasn’t been found yet, but Toronto’s finest are not giving up.



cute morky puppy

An adorable Morkie like this could net a thief lots of money on the resale market.

What can we learn from these two very different incidents?

Police say purebred and designer dogs are prime targets — especially smaller breeds like Pomeranians, Yorkies and Boston Terriers — but even larger and mixed-breed dogs can be vulnerable. An adorable Morkie would make an ideal victim.

The ugly trade of pet theft is a serious problem. It is an organized, multimillion dollar business that lurks in shadows and goes unnoticed until it strikes your community, your home, your pet. Protecting your dog takes due diligence.


  1. First, never ever leave your dog outside a store or restaurant. It takes a thief just a moment to grab your pet.
  2. Second, think twice about leaving him alone in your yard – even if it’s the back yard, unless the fence is at least 6 feet high and padlocked. Again, thieves can jump a fence quickly and grab him. The safest place for your pets when you’re not home is INDOORS. This includes cats, too!
  3. Third, if in doubt, treat your dog like you would your child. NEVER! — leave your dog unattended in a public space. Just as you wouldn’t dream of leaving your child locked in the car while you shop or tied to a pole while you stop to get coffee, it’s never safe to do these things to your dog, either.
  4. Fourth, always check references. If you are considering hiring a pet sitter, dog walker, groomer or even a trainer, do your due diligence first. Ask for references and call them. Read online reviews. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a professional he or she knows and trusts. Criminals can easily pose as professionals.
  5. Fifth: get your dog some form of permanent identification, like a microchip, and make sure you have all of the documents necessary to prove ownership of your dog in case he or she ever does go missing and is recovered. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for dogs to be stolen by a former romantic partner or roommate. Some experts suggest that you never put your dog’s name on his tag. The thinking is, that a dog is much more likely to go to (and with) a stranger who calls him by name.
  6. Six: Spay or neuter your Morkie. While your veterinarian will probably recommend that you do this anyway for good health, spaying or neutering your dog will help make your best friend less desirable of a target to thieves, since they won’t be able to produce — and profit from — offspring.


Next: a happy ending for one dognapping – and the lessons learned.

6 ways to help animals this winter

6 ways to help animals this winter

6-things-you-can-do-to-help-animalsPETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a great list of things we can do to help animals in 2016.

It’s horrible to think of, but every now and then, we need to look into that big bad world where all animals are not treasured likes ours. Thank you for reading today’s post and giving it some thought.  (And I promise the next post will be on happier topics).

1. Be a nosy neighbour. 

amish puppy mill dog

Uneasy about what you’re seeing at your neighbour’s? Call someone. You don’t have to give your name.

Watch how your neighbours treat their animals. See something that makes you uncomfortable? Don’t hesitate to intervene. In most areas you can report anonymously.  You might be that animal’s last hope.

Even reporting stray pets is a very important part of helping animals – we all think someone else will call. But no one does.

You can start at your local municipality level (public health, SPCA, police) and work your way up to regional and national groups.  Just google “report animal abuse” to get started.

2. Pledge to help end animal homelessness

Adopt from shelters; don’t breed or buy until every pet has a home. Always spay and neuter, since overpopulation is the number 1 cause of homeless pets. If you can’t adopt, consider fostering.  As a foster parent, you care for the pet while he grows, or recovers from illness or surgery. Meanwhile, you’ve freed up another spot in the shelter.

3. Scour social media

Sick as it is, many animal abusers are proud of their cruelty and post videos online. Others are just plain ignorant as to what constitutes abuse.  No matter, if you see evidence, speak out and report it.

Spotting and reporting animal abuse not only helps the animal, it might save a human life.

A recent study in Milwaukee, based on data from the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys is quite shocking. 76% of animal abusers also abuse a member of their family. The premise is that if more people can be convinced to dial 911 when they suspect animal abuse (an act generally considered to be easier than reporting domestic abuse), then the police will then have the opportunity to uncover a higher number of domestic violence cases.

4. Stay alert in parking lots

Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs in warm weather. If you see a dog alone in a hot car, get the owner paged and/or call local humane society staff or the police. Don’t leave until the situation has been resolved.

And like spotting abuse, your sharp eye might help a child. Last summer, 19 children died in the United States because they were left in hot cars. Speak up and encourage giant retailers like Walmart to start posting highly visible signage in parking lots — warning customers that they should not leave children or animals in unattended cars — no matter how quick the trip to the store may be.

snowy-yorkieIt doesn’t stop with warm weather. Where temperatures drop below freezing, you can bet there are forgetful or unaware owners leaving their pets to suffer and freeze.

5. Keep cats safe and indoors

Letting cats roam outdoors is just plain dumb. They are a danger to native birds and other wildlife – and they can easily be hit by a car. Keep all animals safe by keeping your cats inside.

6. Support all cruelty investigations, including PETA’s

Cruelty investigations rescue all types of animals from crisis situations including overcrowding, cruelty, abuse and even torture.

Your financial support assists these dedicated workers, inspectors and agents on the frontline of animal protection. 

Lonely, sick and cold

Lonely, sick and cold


Menno and Voila Streicher, just two Ontario Amish convicted of running a horrific puppy mill. Not looking too godly now are you?

That’s life for a puppy mill dog.  Sheer hell.

Canada, shame on you!  We like to think that these mills are all ‘down south’ in the U.S.A. somewhere and we act like snobs.

Amish and Mennonites

But the fact is that there are two very big hotbeds for puppy mills in Canada and they don’t show any signs of slowing down:

  • the province of Quebec
  • the Mennonite and Amish communities of Ontario
Amish puppy mill

Mennonites and Amish routinely auction half-dead “breeders” to one another.

What can WE do about it?

You can take the Pledge to Stop Puppy Mills today by reading and signing this form.

You can promise to NEVER, EVER buy a dog or puppy from a pet store, a flea market or fair, or from the side of the road.  No matter what the seller says, these are 100% guaranteed to be puppy mill dogs.  Sure they got out, but what about the parents left behind?

Never buy a dog site unseen from a website.  You can try to FIND a dog online, but NEVER buy one that way. Visit first. Watch for these Top 7 Signs you’re dealing with a Puppy Mill: 

  1. The “breeder” is local, but no, you can’t visit.  Instead, he or she wants to meet at a halfway point, a mall or car-park.
  2. You can visit – but you see 3 or more different dog breeds running around. This is a red flag that the breeder isn’t committed to one breed or hybrid and is just breeding whatever dogs she has around in order to make money. 
  3. Dirty or stinky facilities. Genuine breeders love their dogs and put their care first. The home and puppy area should be clean and tidy and a safe environment for the puppies and parents.
  4. Hand painted signs on the road,  advertising puppies for sale.
  5. Puppies are always available, and the breeder will not a good signlet you take one at Christmas, Easter, etc. No caring breeder will release a puppy during these high-stress times and no responsible breeder always has a handy supply of puppies.
  6. For sale in public places. Stay away from anyone who’s selling puppies at a public place like a flea market, yard sale, swap meet or pet store, or out of the back of a pickup truck, car or van.
  7. Be suspicious of the seller who doesn’t demand that you spay or neuter your puppy. A genuine breeder will ask you to sign an agreement that your dog will NOT be bred.

To Kill a Snake Cut off its Head

Puppy mill operators are lower than snakes – so to shut them down, let’s cut them off where it hurts – their wallets. They’re greedy, despicable people and don’t deserve your hard-earned money!

Bad hair day. Really bad hair.

Bad hair day. Really bad hair.

What do you do when your groomer makes a mistake?


A Morkie, before and after haircut.

Just had a post on my Facebook page from someone really distraught over her dog being clipped right down to nothing when all she thought she was getting was minor trimming and clean up.

” My groomer decided to go off the deep end on me today and body clip her when I specifically told her that I wanted what she always gets which is her hair cut out of the corners of her eyes, toenails cut, and bathed that is it!!!”

She’s naturally very upset, so what should she do?

Several of the comments back to her post have suggested it was a communication error and to try and let it go… or maybe the dog was so badly matted that the groomer had to shave the dog down. But either way, the hair will grow back.

Hmmm….I suppose that’s true but I can certainly sympathize with the owner. And with the groomer too, giving her the benefit of the doubt that it was a mistake.

Sadly there are some other grooming tales you’ll hear that are not a mere mistake; they are out and out, shocking cruelty.

Animal Abuse and Dog Grooming

If you have the stomach, there are some gruesome pictures at the Facebook Page for “Keep Abuse Out  Of Dog Grooming.”

Any quick search online shows that there are hundreds if not thousands of similar stories – sickening cruelty because the ‘grooming factory’ just wants to keep volume high.  Groomers who hack away at nails so quickly they nearly all bleed.  Solution? Just cauterize.  Groomers who use a #7 blade all over the whole body, resulting in burns, sores and open cuts. This may help explain why a groomer in California shaved five nipples off a dog recently.  Cage dryers with no timers so dogs were burned and very frightened. The list goes on.  (Another terrible story here)

The problem is, that kind of extremely rough handling remains with your dog for a long, long time. Trust with all humans can be broken. Your lovely companion can become suspicious, snappy and withdrawn.

Positive grooming on the other hand, is a great way to build bonds with your dog. The secondary benefit is when you’re handling him that closely, you’ll be aware of lumps, bumps and bruises that demand attention.

How to Avoid a Monster Groomer

Ask around. Who do your friends and neighbors like?

Call and/or visit first.  Trust your own intuition – what’s the vibe you get from the place? Do they have experience with Yorkies, Morkies or Maltese?  Do they have any special accreditation? (varies province by province and state by state). Do they ask you questions, like when your dog had his most recent shots?

It goes without saying that the place must be calm, clean, well lit and smell fine. Many groomers today do their work behind a glass wall, which is great.  ASK FOR REFERENCES!

The internet to the rescue!  Before you go to a groomer’s, check out reviews on the following:

  • Yelp – check under dog grooming
  • Sometimes the online Yellow Pages will have reviews
  • Simply google the Groomer’s name and see what comes up
  • Consumer advocacy sites or your local Better Business Bureau

 Don’t think the big, well-known chains are any better

If you think you can automatically trust the Petcos and PetSmarts of the world, you’re wrong,  sad to say.

Best Idea?

morkie-puppy-having-a-bathDo the grooming yourself and you’ll know your dog is being well cared for. It’s not as hard as you think!


Here’s why puppy mills continue to thrive!

Here’s why puppy mills continue to thrive!

Outrageous news yesterday about the father-daughter team just outside Paris Ontario who had 80 suffering Morkies seized from their filthy, feces-filled house last July.

Darlene Dougherty, who lives at 831 West Dumfries Road, Paris, pleaded guilty to one count of causing an animal to be in distress.  She has been placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay restitution of $3,357.89 to the SPCA.

The Provincial Offences Act court, the provincial prosecutor and the justice of the peace decided in their infinite wisdom that this “negotiated settlement” is just.

She even gets to keep one dog and one cat!

When you’re in the puppy mills business like the Doughertys, $3,300 is nothing. Puppies sell between $500 and $1,000 and even more… so one litter could easily pay off the court fines.

“Rescued from a disgusting home”

You may remember reading about Dougherty and her father, Marshall Dougherty.

In July 2013, OSPCA workers raided the Paris home and found innumerable cats and some 80 small dogs, nearly all Morkies.

ASPCA rescuer at puppy millOfficers entering the home had to wear protective clothing, gloves and masks due to the “unsanitary” conditions.

All the dogs have been subjected to dreadful conditions, neglect, underfeeding and total lack of medical care.

The fur was so badly matted that it couldn’t be combed out and the dogs had to be shaved, the SPCA reported at the time. Some also had rotting teeth, according to earlier reports.  Their paws were red and inflamed from the filth.

Worst case of animal cruelty in 10 years

When this case broke it was reported that “the Brant County SPCA is dealing with the worst case of animal cruelty it has seen in 10 years.”

If convicted, the penalty could be as much as a $60,000 fine, two years in jail, or both. There is also a lifetime ban on ever owning an animal again.

Instead – only one of the two got probation and a $3,300 fine.

OSPCA inspector Brandon James says they’ve never had to rescue so many dogs at once. 80 Maltese and Yorkies — from puppies to 16 years old — were living under the same roof on West Dumfries Road in Paris.

When James entered the residence with his team, he said he was unsure of just how many animals they’d find.

“We were expecting approximately 15 dogs, so you can imagine when you walk into a house with over 80 dogs, it was disgusting,” he said. “The smell and the sanitary conditions were a shock to the system.”

Next door neighbour Karen Groh says a dozen of the dogs ran out in front of her car on the road the other day. She’s seen at least three of them hit by cars and killed.

Dougherty no stranger to legal entanglements

If you google “Darlene Dougherty” you’ll see she’s been active in a number of local land-use hearings, objections  about Title Insurance and other court-clogging complaints. She’s definitely no stranger to laws and by-laws.

What can we do? 

Start with your local member of provincial parliament.  You can find out who that is here: your Ontario member of parliament.

Many have email addresses for easy contact.  Tell them you’re disgusted and appalled with this case and ask what they can do about our toothless animal cruelty laws.




Two visitors check out the Morkies rescue form Dougherty’s nightmare home. Since the rescue, all dogs have been checked out and received medical treatment. In all, dozens have been adopted out, with families lined up to apply for the rest.

A Hot Mess!

A Hot Mess!

It’s that time of year again – people leaving their dogs, cats and KIDS in hot cars.

People – really? Is winter so long and cold that some of us forget just how hot summer can be?

Dog Walker Leaves SIX dogs in car to die

You’ve probably read about dog walker Emma Paulsen who reported the six dogs in her care were stolen on May 13.  She had the dogs in a secured canopy truck in Langley, British Columbia.  She said they were stolen when she visited the Brookswood dog walking park and had to use the restroom, and a massive search began. Petsearchers Canada, a detective agency, was brought in by owners to help find missing animals.

Several days later, police recovered the bodies of all 6 dogs, dumped in a ditch.

Paulsen admitted she was inside a business for about 45 minutes and left the dogs inside her truck — on a hot day. They all died of heat exhaustion.

Buddy, Teemo, Oscar, Mia, Salty and Molly all died a horrible, strangulating death as the temperature soared inside that truck.

What happens during heat exhaustion? (Warning graphic)

From :

It begins with  heavy panting and difficulty breathing. The tongue and mucous membranes appear bright red. The saliva is thick and tenacious, and the dog often vomits. The rectal temperature rises to 104° to 110°F (40° to 43.3°C). The dog becomes progressively unsteady and passes bloody diarrhea. As shock sets in, the lips and mucous membranes turn gray. Collapse, seizures, coma, and death rapidly ensue.

Animal cruelty charges urged

The SPCA, which is leading the investigation into the alleged mistreatment of the dogs, will recommend that authorities pursue animal cruelty charges.  But that’s little consolation for owners like Louise Scott, 80, who attended a dog walk to remember Molly, her five-year-old dog that died in the back of the truck. “This is not easy,” she said of losing her dog to the neglect. “I still hope she will walk through the door.”

Let your voice be heard

Visit the dogs’ page on to add your condolences and thoughts, or click to sign the petition to make animal cruelty a severe indictable offense under the criminal code. In the USA, it is a felony in all 50 states.

How to find a dog walker you can trust

Global News has a good feature here on finding someone you can trust with your dog.


Poster Pup for the Evils of Puppy Mills

Poster Pup for the Evils of Puppy Mills


When you’re an animal lover you get lots of emails, right? Most break your heart and as much as you’d love to give to ALL the causes, you just can’t.  But this one really struck a chord for me.  It might for you too, and if it does please consider donating even $5 – it all helps.

Support the Help Me Heal Program – Donate Now

The dog’s name is Cassie.  She’s a little, wide-eyed white Lhasa Apso who’s been a breeding machine for some very greedy, very evil puppy mill people in Oklahoma. You can read her story here.

Lucky for Cassie, she was just rescued by North Shore Animal League, out of Port Washington, New York.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the North Shore Animal League America is the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization.  Its website says it has saved the lives of over 1 million dogs, cats, puppies and kittens at risk of euthanasia.

But not so lucky for Cassie – she needs several surgeries because of living in miserable conditions, caged 24/7 for four years, pumping out puppies.  She’s one of the worst cases of animal abuse ever seen by the rescue doctors.  Here’s what they found:

  • a permanently tilted head, because of a chronic ear infection
  • several bilateral hip dysplasia – that happens when you live in a tiny cage your whole life
  • popping kneecaps – patella luxation, a painful condition that causes the kneecap to pop out of its groove
  • a deformed  left foot that might have to be amputated
  • hernia
  • dental care from chewing on the meal cage daily for 4 years, trying to escape

OK enough! This is getting too sad… what WE CAN DO, all of us is be sure we’re not supporting puppy mill operators.

Let’s shut down puppy mills: here’s how

To find a good quality Morkie, start with your local rescue groups, humane society, and pound.

Check your LOCAL newspaper or find a Morkie breeder online. Although it’s o.k. to look for a Morkie online, NEVER buy one that way. When you buy a dog online, you’re buying from a puppy mill. Period.

Be sure to ask to visit the breeder’s kennel or home, and see the other Morkies and dogs they have. Otherwise, you could be buying blind.

To be sure you’re not buying from a puppy mill, here are some hints about buying Morkie puppies or any dog breed, from reputable breeders.

First, where you should NEVER look for a puppy

In a pet store. Even if the manager assures you the dogs are from a good breeder; they’re not. No halfway decent breeder would put her puppies into a pet store environment. Pet store dogs are bought wholesale from puppy mills.

Online... o.k. it’s alright to LOOK online for available puppies but never complete the deal online by sending money for a puppy that’s going to be shipped to you. That’s almost certainly the mark of a puppy mill dog.

Did you know that According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, last year more than 200,000 puppies were bought online by American families eager to find just the right pet for themselves or their kids?

That’s staggering — and it rarely ends happily, especially for a designer dog like a Morkie. These dogs are sickly, cruelly treated and abused and receive absolutely no medical care.

The problem with Puppy Mills

Puppy mills, as the name suggests, churn out pups by the thousands, under extremely cruel and inhumane conditions, for one purpose only: the almighty dollar. It is estimated that there are 4,000 puppy mills in the U.S. that produce more than half a million puppies a year!

That’s 30 to 40 litters each and every year, per puppy mill.

The dogs are underfed, abused and never given medical care.

Warning signs that you’re probably dealing sign-morkies-for-salewith a puppy mill

  1. The “breeder” is local, but no, you can’t visit. Instead, he or she wants to meet at a halfway point, a mall or car-park.
  2. You can visit – but you see 3 or more different dog breeds running around. This is a red flag that the breeder isn’t committed to one breed or hybrid and is just breeding whatever dogs she has around in order to make money.
  3. Dirty or stinky facilities. Genuine breeders love their dogs and put their care first. The home and puppy area should be clean and tidy and a safe environment for the puppies and parents.
  4. Hand-painted signs on the road, advertising puppies for sale.
  5. Puppies are always available, and the breeder will let you take one at Christmas, Easter, etc. No good breeder will release a puppy during these high- stress times and no responsible breeder always has a handy supply of puppies.
  6. Stay away from anyone who’s selling puppies at a public place like a flea market, yard sale, swap meet or pet store, or out of the back of a pickup truck, car or van.
  7. Be suspicious of the breeder who doesn’t demand that you spay or neuter your puppy. A genuine breeder will ask you to sign an agreement that your dog will NOT be bred.



Remember, WE are the key to stopping puppy mills!

More reading

Click to read more about Cassie’s story