Peeling Back Yet More Layers

huffpost-screen-shotIn 2016, I published the book The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers. A person who read that book was keenly interested in Chapter One, which took readers inside America’s biggest legal dog auction and showed that not just breeders, but also nonprofit rescuers are regularly doing business there. About 18 months after I first spoke with that person, in April 2018, I published the article “Dog Fight” on the Sunday front page of The Washington Post. It documented, for the first time in American history, a multimillion-dollar river of cash running through dozens of rescue nonprofits and into the pockets of the very breeders they decry as “puppy mills.”

Now, there’s another layer. A person who read the article “Dog Fight” reached out to me about six months ago and essentially said, “But wait, there’s more.” Today, my latest story about what’s really going on behind the scenes of America’s dog industry came online. It’s my first-ever piece for HuffPost, titled “When ‘Puppy Mill Rescue’ Blurs the Line Between Saving and Selling Dogs.”

The new story alone is based on interviews with nearly 40 people (including more than a dozen current and former staffers, volunteers and directors from the multimillion-dollar nonprofit rescue that is the focus); the rescue group’s inspection reports going back to early 2017; a slew of documents, photos and videos from inside the nonprofit; and more than 7,500 documents received through open-records requests in seven states where the nonprofit sources dogs and puppies.

To the best of my knowledge, this new story is the deepest-dive investigation ever taken by any journalist into the business model known all across America today as “puppy mill rescue.” And it’s eye-opening, in quite a few ways.

I wonder who will read it and reach out to me with more information next.

4 Comments on “Peeling Back Yet More Layers

  1. My comment is that I have a dog from National Mill Dog rescue that would not be alive today but for NMDR. He was rescued from a puppy mill, who after 8 years of breeding him would have euthanized him if NMDR would not have taken him. He was shy and terrified when we got him–and still is very very timid of people, noises and new things even after almost 3 years at a loving home. It is apparent that the writer has never been to NMDR and not seen what they do.

    • Hi Amy, thanks for your comment. And you’re right: I unfortunately have never been to National Mill Dog Rescue. I offered to go while reporting this article, as did another HuffPost team member. Theresa Strader, the nonprofit’s founder and CEO, would not allow us inside.

  2. Hi Kim, excellent article! I would like to speak to you about another issue in the underground dog world as I call it and that is in regards to animal hoarding and hoarders with 501 c 3.status. I have been following a few cases for the last couple of years and it seems to be a nationwide problem. Myself and many advocates have contacted local officials clear on up to the top to include the attorney general’s office and department of Agriculture in regards to one in Kentucky and nobody seems to care. I care! We need national attention.

    • Please see the contact button on this website. That’s where to find me. Thanks!

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