The Dog Merchants

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.

My First Adapted Article from “The Dog Merchants”

The Dog MerchantsMy new book The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers will publish May 2 with Pegasus Books. It’s a follow-the-money look at the whole of the dog business, with the first half about breeding and the second half about rescue. My hope is that it will show dog lovers what we’re buying into with every dog we bring home, so we can work together for the good of all kinds of dogs, everywhere.

The first “sneak peek” came online yesterday at, which published “The Big Money Behind Best In Show” just in time for this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (which will conclude tonight on the USA Network). This is the first adapted article from the book to be published anywhere, and it was so widely shared in its first 24 hours online that it became one of the top Google News results for searches about the dog show itself.

Obviously, this adapted article pulls information from the first half of The Dog Merchants, which is about breeders. The next adapted article, scheduled to be published this month in The Bark magazine, pulls from the rescue half of the book.

Stay tuned, or simply read it all by pre-ordering your copy of The Dog Merchants today.

Now Open for Pre-Order: My New Book, The Dog Merchants

The Dog MerchantsI’m about as psyched as any author can be this week, because I’m finally able to release the cover art for my forthcoming book! The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers will be published May 2, 2016—and is available for pre-order now on

The Dog Merchants will be the lead spring hardcover title for Pegasus Books, with North America distribution by W.W. Norton.

In just the three days that the pre-order link has been online this week, and following a keynote speech I made at a Penguin Random House librarians’ event two weeks ago, The Dog Merchants has already become the No. 1 new release in one of Amazon’s top animal-book categories.

I’m so thankful for the early reader response, and I look forward to sharing all kinds of great information with you as we bring The Dog Merchants marketing campaign fully online during the next few months.

Stay tuned here, and please add my new website to your bookmarked favorites. There is much, much more to come.