By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) -
The Humane Society of the United States is looking to put puppy mills in Kansas and Missouri out of business, and they said they're willing to pay people to help.
"It takes everybody; it takes the mailman or the electric guy reading the meter," Kansas State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Midge Grinstead said.
Grinstead said the goal of a $5,000 reward offered by the Humane Society of the United States is to get help from everybody and anybody in the public to shut down puppy mills.
"It's important that you make a phone call. If you buy a puppy, stay away from the internet, pet stores. You want to know the breeder. You want to go there, see how the puppies are being kept," Grinstead said.
Missouri and Kansas are in the top five puppy producer states in the nation. Grinstead said the states' unpopulated sections mean fewer people are asking questions about how the puppies are treated.
"It's more the rural areas," she said. "In such a large scale, the barking would alert neighbors that there's a problem."
Courtney Thomas, the president and CEO of Great Plains SPCA, said this year they've seen 50 percent more dogs from puppy mills than last.
"More people are becoming aware of the situation, reporting the situation. We encourage law enforcement and state regulators to continue to be involved and make sure these pets are living in conditions that are humane," she said.
Thomas said she's glad to see the Humane Society of the United States putting up the cash to shut mills down, but also said there are other ways people can help.
"People don't often think about ‘where did that cute dog come from?' That's the challenge. If people were more aware of the background and condition, they'd think twice before they purchase animals from pet stores or breeders that are not reputable," Thomas said.
Reputable breeders are worried of being targeted and harassed by people trying to get the reward money. They fear that even if a tip doesn't convict them of any wrong-doings, it could damage their business and reputation.
A watchdog group sent a letter to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, urging his office to investigate what they call "deceptive fundraising practices of the Humane Society of the United States." The group, HumaneWatch.org, said a recent analysis of HSUS's donation solicitation activities revealed the group's misleading fundraising practices may be violating Kansas consumer protection laws.
To claim the $5,000 reward, the tip must lead to a conviction of a puppy mill operator.
To submit a possible puppy mill tip, call 1-877-MILL-TIP or click here for a link to the humane society.
To read the report done by HumaneWatch.org, click here.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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