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A Tale of Two Litters

June 8, 2008 |  6:10 pm

Two terrible stories, socio-economic light-years from each other, but not too far apart in miles and still so sadly similar.

First, an email I received told me about a German shepherd mix who had just given birth to a litter of six. She had also been shot in the back some time ago, and was trying valiantly to care for her puppies. Removing the bullet, according to the email, "could do more harm than good." She was at the South L.A. animal shelter, waiting until someone could show up and take personal care of her or her puppies, or both. By now, perhaps someone may have done so.

And then, from a gossip website, comes the news that celebrities I never heard of [Erin Brodie and Dr. Will Kirby] on TV shows I never watched ["For Love or Money" and "Big Brother II"] are looking after an eyeless Yorkie puppy dumped at a Los Angeles vet.

I didn't say "blind" -- I said "eyeless." This kind of birth defect happens when greedy puppy mills go into overdrive on hot, chic dog breeds du jour, like Yorkies or Chihuahuas, producing litter after litter, never mind the health of the mother or the puppies, just "show me the money" [another TV show I never saw].

That puppy was lucky, just like the little Chihuahua abandoned at my vet's office, born without front legs. Many overbred, damaged puppy-mill puppies won't show their internal health problems for weeks or months or years into their too-short lives, and their mothers are candidates for death, once they’ve outlived their short but endlessly breeding lives.

Too many wonderful dogs [and cats] of all sorts are sitting behind the wire gates of animal shelters, in a waiting-game race between adoption and death. Too many wonderful dogs are left to run in the streets, to be victims of cars or starvation or creeps with guns. And too many dogs are getting churned out of heartlessly casual puppy mills. Cruelty can come in many shapes -- even the shape of a dollar sign.

-- Patt Morrison

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