All in all, Bill rescues dozens of dogs as he and Lisa visit puppy mill after puppy mill. Lisa says seeing the way the animals live was haunting. "While I feel relieved about those 39, there are hundreds that we just saw that will remain in cages for the rest of their lives," Lisa says.
Bill says many breeders call him to see if he wants to pick up unwanted dogs. "We form relationships with some of these people, and they're actually the good breeders because they give us the dogs," he says. "A number of times they'll call us and give us 45 minutes to an hour to come out and pick up a dog before they shoot it when they no longer want it. It's always amazing to me when I go out to pick up a dog, they've had the dog eight or nine years and it doesn't have a name. It's never been out of the hutch. It doesn't know how to walk. I have to carry it to the car. It's heartbreaking."
Lisa says one reason puppy mill owners keep their dogs in such conditions is cultural. "They don't regard dogs in the same way that others may. They believe man is to dominate animals," she says. "A number of them didn't seem like they realized that what they were doing was inhumane because in their culture ... that is what they're supposed to be. And the fact is, there is a market for puppies in America."
Bill says he's asked the breeders who own puppy mills why they treat the dogs so badly. "They think that we're fools when we pick the dogs up," he says. "I just went back to one of the mills, and they were asking me about the cocker spaniel we pulled out. ... And I said, 'Well, she's fine. She's walking around the house and everything.' And he said, 'You let that dog walk around the house, where the people in your family live?' And I said, 'Yes, we do.' He just couldn't get over it. It's a different mentality. [Dogs] are considered agricultural products. They're like an ear of corn."
We were contacted by the American Kennel Club and here is what they'd like to say: "AKC's member clubs are comprised of people who dedicate their lives—emotionally and financially—to improving their breeds and to producing healthy, happy dogs. We encourage your viewers to find a responsible breeder."