Washington Post Feature About Rescuers Who Buy Dogs at Auctions

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.01.22 AMMy investigation into rescuers who buy dogs from breeders at auctions is on the front page of today’s Washington Post print edition.

This story is based on hundreds of documents provided by an industry insider and additional open-records documents from numerous states, and more than 60 in-person, phone and email interviews with rescuers, breeders, animal advocates and auctioneers.

It is the first time that anyone has ever documented—in dollars and cents—the multimillion-dollar river of cash that is flowing from rescue nonprofits, shelters and dog-advocacy groups through auctions into the pockets of dog breeders.

The insider documents came my way after my 2016 book The Dog Merchants was published. The insider read Chapter One, which described the phenomenon of rescuers buying dogs from breeders at auction, and then reached out to me. The insider said Americans would be stunned to learn how much money those rescuers had been spending. Then, during the following 18 months or so, the insider sent me $2.68 million worth of proof.

I’m deeply grateful to the huge team of people at The Washington Post who helped me bring this major investigation to light.

2 Comments on “Washington Post Feature About Rescuers Who Buy Dogs at Auctions

  1. I was on the Mexican border rescuing abused, abandoned and neglected dogs for a no kill shelter when your story ran about the relationship between rescues and puppy mills. I wept. In the area Southern New Mexico and northern Mexico we find dozens of abandoned dogs every day. We’re starving for resources, if a dog goes to the pound it’s normally put down within 5 days. Puppies, the day they arrive, pit bulls average less than two days. Of course most dogs die in the desert alone. I volunteer at two no-kill shelters, we could supply every shelter on the east coast with dogs. How hard are the shelters looking for dogs? Have they considered networking with western and southern states that desperately need homes for dogs?

    • Hello, and thank you for your comment. It’s great that you’re trying to help dogs in need. I personally have two adopted shelter mutts, one who came from a gas-chamber animal control where he had 72 hours to live, so I understand the desperation you feel to help the dogs in need. (I wrote about that dog in my 2012 book, “Little Boy Blue.” He’s 8 years old now and doing great.)

      To answer your question about the auction buyers covered in my Washington Post story, some say that they buy the auction dogs in addition to working with shelters. They see their actions as two different types of rescue: “shelter rescue” and “puppy mill rescue.”

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