Letter to the editor: Re: Proposed puppy mill in Rio Grande County

Dear Commissioners of Rio Grande County,

In this day and age what we do affects the rest of the world. We cannot act in an insular way any longer. Rio Grande County may be a small area in the entire United States; however, what happens there affects the rest of the country.

Every time you bring a new puppy into the world, an adult dog at a pound or shelter dies, not euthanized, but killed. Millions of dogs in this country are killed every year for the simple reason there are not enough homes for them. Every single dog at a shelter is re-homeable to a home, unless it is mortally sick or injured. 

This puppy mill could ultimately produce thousands of dogs each year, from the breeding mamas and the puppies sold, who continue to breed, and on and on. 

Alvin Mullet wants to sell his puppies because he claims his family loves dogs, but on March 11, 2010, Mr. Mullet surrendered to us a red-boned hound mama dog, Sandy, and her four pups who had been living outside in an igloo. He said he had given Sandy away before, but she was returned because she was pregnant. Fortunately, he gave her and the pups to us and we found them responsible, loving homes.  This was Sandy’s home. He gave her away. Can someone say they love dogs when they give their mama dog away because she had puppies? Poor Sandy. She thought this was her family.

Mr. Mullet says he enjoys seeing happy children with their new puppy. Most children and adults love fuzzy puppies. He will not screen his buyers because he wants to sell dogs. When the reality of puppy and dog care sets in, they often “get rid” of them. The average dog in this country has seven different homes before it dies.

Commissioners, Mr. Mullet has a state license to do this. The state does not have to deal with the financial matters of local shelters who scrape by financially week by week. The state will approve any breeder as long as he meets the physical facility requirements. 

The three local shelters are often overflowing with animals with little financial help from counties and states. Some shelters transfer the overflow of dogs to larger city shelters. Are the commissioners ready to subsidize all the shelters and groups in the Valley to compensate for extra dogs? Because there are too many unwanted dogs, they are often dumped, freeze to death, starve, frequently shot, hit by vehicles. We ask you to spend a week at each one of our shelters to see what we are up against.

Commissioners, we also ask you to go to a kill shelter, look a dog in the eye, pet the dog, hug the dog, kiss the dog on the head and tell that dog there is not enough room for him in this world because he has to make room for a puppy from an irresponsible owner or a breeder. 

We ask that you visit our shelter, see the dogs in kennels and dog parks, those dogs who don’t have a family yet. They get attention, but they are lonely. 

Why should more animals die so Mr. Mullet can make money off the backs of animals? Why should we volunteers work so hard to save dogs so Mr. Mullet can make money not morally justified? Most of us get paid zero for what we do. I myself put in over 60 hours each week.

We ask the commissioners not to allow another puppy mill in the San Luis Valley, to help dogs rather than ultimately hurt them. If you approve this facility, you are responsible for the deaths of more dogs.

Aileen Peek

Volunteer Director

San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society


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