(Rescued) February 2, 2007 - February 11, 2009
Survivor, Project Runway, American Idol... all are names that conjure images of America's top reality television programs and of the people who
enter these contests with the hope of becoming famous. Tens of thousands of celebrity wannabes regularly flock to auditions in their Sunday best
to demonstrate just what the viewing public might see if only they were picked for the show.
A reality show of another kind takes place practically every day in Pennsylvania. In stark contrast to the human competitors, the entrants in this
contest are viewed at their worst and have absolutely no idea that they are being considered for selection in what can hardly be called a game but, instead, are participants in a real life drama of life and death.
In February, 2007 a very small dog quickly became the "spokescanine" for dogs trapped in puppy mills across the state of Pennsylvania when his
photo and story appeared on the Internet. Rescued from one of Pennsylvania's worst puppy mills by Main Line Rescue's Bill Smith, a little dog with
only wisps of hair was plucked from squalor-like conditions and eventually treated for an array of health problems including malnutrition, dehydration, infected ears, rotten teeth, intestinal parasites and ulcers in both eyes that caused permanent damage to his vision. So deteriorated was this little
boy that it was, without his AKC paperwork, impossible to detect his breed.
On an online dog forum the former president of the PA Federation of Dog Clubs said:
"It certainly was a sad little dog -- however it is a Chinese Crested and they are naturally naked. They also have a lot of congenital
problems. If the dog is in as bad shape as claimed a humane person would have put it to sleep.
But in fact it seemed quite cheery and if the person had let it walk around a bit I think it would be in a lot better condition."
-- Nina Schaefer, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania
Nicknamed "Shrimp" because of his peeling skin, this breeder dog was far from a Chinese Crested... his AKC paperwork registered him as a
Maltese and it's probably safe to say that no "humane" person would ever have allowed this dog to decline into the condition in which he was found.
After receiving emergency veterinary care, Shrimp blossomed into a happy, healthy boy who thoroughly enjoyed life as a beloved companion animal and resided in a home environment where affection was abundant and food, shelter and vet care were constants. Touring the country with Bill Smith
to advocate on behalf of securing the safety, health and welfare of other breeder dogs trapped in large scale commercial breeding kennels, Shrimp
made his national television debut on The Oprah Winfrey show in April, 2008 and touched the hearts and minds of millions of viewers from around
Sadly, after a week of failing health, those who loved and knew Shrimp the best said their final goodbyes on the morning on February 11, 2009.
In his final moments, I don't believe that Shrimp was at all frightened because he was with people he trusted - the same people who had rescued him
from certain death just two years earlier and had introduced him to a life filled with freedom and the kindness a human hand is capable of offering.
For years Pennsylvania dog wardens walked by the cage where Shrimp was held captive paying no attention to an obvious state of malnutrition,
a skin condition in dire need of medical attention and did absolutely nothing. Worse, the puppy mill where Shrimp was found is still up and running
and a review of this kennel's inspection reports reveals a history that is plagued with Dog Law infractions including poor maintenance and water resistance, a lack of rabies vaccine records, dirty food/water receptacles, excess excreta, poor sanitation, a lack of housekeeping and insect/rodent infestation.
Despite warnings for not complying with the law, not a single citation has ever been issued to this commercial breeding kennel
that is the epitome of a puppy mill.
If you believe this is unacceptable, why not take a moment to print out Shrimp's before and after photo, mail it to your elected officials, and ask them
to find out why state employed dog wardens (who are paid with your tax dollars) refuse to do their jobs and contact a humane officer when they
see dogs in conditions that warrant veterinary care? This one page flyer will remind them that only a humane officer may cite a commercial breeder
for animal abuse, cruelty and neglect under Pennsylvania's Crimes Code and that no law will help these unfortunate dogs if those in authority refuse to report it.
With little choice but to play the hand of cards they are dealt in life, it is unfair that any dog must struggle to survive for the purpose of producing
offspring to be sold for profit on the internet, in pet shops or via newspaper ads.
Shrimp had no idea that he had become the ambassador for thousands of mill dogs across the commonwealth. He was unaware that with proper veterinary care he had transformed from a sickly looking animal into a beautiful and healthy Maltese and, most of all, he was oblivious to the fact
that he was a true winner in this all too real reality that we call rescue.
They say the soul of a loved one will always linger as long as they're remembered. In thanks for the awareness he brought to the plight of the
breeder dogs trapped in the mills of Pennsylvania, and for the sake of all the dogs who will never be lucky enough to be rescued from captivity,
Shrimp deserves to be remembered. Help keep his spirit alive and contact your state representative and senator.
Do this for Shrimp.
Do this because it's the right thing to do.
Do this because if you don't, who will be the voice for the breeder dogs?
Send Shrimp's photos to your state representative and senator: click HERE
Don't know who your elected state representative and senator are? Click HERE and enter your zip code to obtain their names and where to send
your signed flyer.