Thursday, June 18, 2009

Help Wanted


I have this issue weighing on my mind, especially since the recent puppy mill bust in Harrison County.

I know of a bunny mill that operates here in Harrison County. I had occasion to strike up a conversation with a person that shows angora bunnies, and I visited her. Let me say that I was appalled at the conditions that the poor things were living in. The bunny house was not large, maybe 12" x 15", with no ventilation. There were over 30 bunnies housed there, in cages stacked three and four high, with poop overflowing. My allergies were bad so that I could not smell what was probably an oppressive aroma of ammonia in that enclosed space.

Sometimes, I feel bad that my barn bunnies are in 24"x30" suspended cages. This woman made me feel better. At least my bunnies are not subjected to rising piles of poop and the caustic smell of urine in their small cages. Also, I visited her at three in the afternoon, and she said it was the first time she had been to see them that day. I tend to my bunnies twice a day, every day, making sure they have clean water, pellets, hay, and the occasional treat. That is the least I can do for them.

She keeps not only angoras, but netherland dwarves and dwarf hotoes, which she sells to 4H-ers. She loves to show her angoras but isn't crazy about the breeding aspect, which she farms out. She has one friend that breeds angoras. He culls (kills) those bunnies that are not up to "breed standard." I told her that I would take any bunny that he was ready to kill and so got Dexter, a great wooler with an excellent temperament but who unfortunately had hind feet that splayed "just a bit too much." Oh, is that worthy of a death sentence?

Long story short. I am sure this isn't a rarity, but I want to do something to stop her and others. Any ideas? It was too hard for the local officials to close a puppy mill with 240 animals. So hard, in fact, that the state attorney general had to get the operators on tax evasion. I can't realistically expect them to be concerned with a small bunny mill operation. Hell, they can't even keep up with the meth labs in the county.

Like I said, this has been weighing on my mind. NancyNeverSwept suggested petitioning the National Angora Breeders of America to adopt minimum standards of care. I shall do this, as I became a member last year.