Pine River, MN's puppy mill animal seizure, and our temporary foster dog

About a month ago, since Jodi can’t work on the Spousal visa she’s under, she decided to start volunteering some of her time at a local animal shelter. The shelter was at the time flooded with animals after a puppy mill — Country Pride Kennel, owned and operated by 60 year old Deborah B. Rowell in Pine River, MN — was shut down and all the animals were seized. All 130 animals. All of whom were evidently kept in insufferable heat, mud-filled hovels as kennels, and rarely with available clean water or shade. One was reportedly found dead in its kennel, in fact. Enough of the dogs were pregnant on being seized that the shelter ended up with more than 200 animals to deal with.

This was a heartbreaking-enough situation, but while the court case was going on, nobody was allowed to adopt out those animals, and the volunteer shelters were grossly overtaxed. So we briefly fostered a five year old black lab mama, whom we’d called Tali.

Tali, panting happily while eating a bone. Jodi had to take photographic evidence to prove it.
Tali, panting happily while eating a bone. Jodi had to take photographic evidence to prove it.

She was a completely broken shell of a dog. For two weeks, we tried to get her to come out of her shell and realize that humans are not cruel animals. We mourned with her every time she started frenetically looking about for her last litter, which was born July 29th in shelter, and from which she had just recently been separated. I felt a pang of sorrow every time any human made any sort of move and she would retreat from wherever she was immediately to a safe place — either on a couch she’d staked out as her spot, or back in the kennel we’d brought her home in from the shelter. We got her to wag her tail or act even remotely relaxed or at ease only rarely; to eat freely only when everyone was perfectly still or better yet not present. We tried to teach her that good things come from humans, like chicken and cheese, but her trust was already so terribly frayed that making a connection was nigh impossible.

We had to keep mum on this, because the court case was ongoing. Now that the court has ruled in favour of the shelter, all the animals are up for adoption. Over the weekend, a good many of these animals were adopted, but others are still left waiting.

Thankfully, someone adopted Tali. I hope she has a life of luxury after the hell of forced impregnation and labour and too-early separation she’s gone through for roughly the last four years of her life.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so silent lately, that’s at least a small part of why. While I didn’t have a lot to do with Tali, where Jodi did most of the work with her, I did have some small involvement. There are other, bigger reasons I’ve been silent lately. I’ll get to blogging about those as soon as I can.

In the meantime, please help out the Animal Humane Society, which supports five sites, including the one Jodi’s volunteering at. The whole system is slammed with need right now, given how many resources caring for these puppies and older mill dogs,and getting them appropriately vaccinated and spayed/neutered, has been taking.

Tali, outside, during another of her rare at-ease moments. Pic by Jodi.
Tali, outside, during another of her rare at-ease moments. Pic by Jodi.
Pine River, MN's puppy mill animal seizure, and our temporary foster dog

6 thoughts on “Pine River, MN's puppy mill animal seizure, and our temporary foster dog

  1. 1

    Good for you.
    We fostered a dog from a puppy mill once.
    She was an amazing survivor. Not all of the dogs could be placed. Some of them “screamed” when people came too near them. She unlearned food guarding and went on to live in a house with several other pets. She wore adorable little sweaters and slept in bed with our friends every night until she passed away.

  2. 2

    According to the news report, this woman has been charged with “seven misdemeanor and two petty misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty”. That’s all !? I wouldn’t be surprised if she pays her fine and is secretly back in business before the end of the year.

  3. 3

    What a beauty. It grieves me to think that someone could so abuse such a highly social critter as a Labrador to make her so skittish and fearful – I grew up with Labs. There’s not a more loving or forgiving creature on earth than a Lab. She must have had a horrific experience, poor darling. Hope she’s happy and safe where she is now.

  4. 4

    She already has approximately 10 labs or more and on her site is selling several different breeds supposedly says raised with love and care. From what the news says she is allowed breed and sell dogs again.

  5. 5

    So not “secretly back in business in a year”, but “publicly back in business in no time flat”.

    Jodi was lamenting this fact to me two nights ago, Tarra. This sucks. They’d better damn well keep a close eye on her now that they know she’s broken laws with regard to the humane treatment of animals in her version of “love and care”.

  6. 6

    The Debrah Rowell horror camp has been going on for over two decades, she is a ruthless abuser of God’s Canine and the horror I personally witnessed and reported was beyond belief, she even burned weak puppies that were still alive in her burning pit, the only way those pups had any grace at all was if the fire was hot…I reported Debbie Rowell over the years and NO ONE took measures to get her to stop running her camp of horrors. Even now, this is allowed to go on, HEART RENCHING IS ALL I CAN SAY FOR THE POOR POOR DOGS AND PUPPIES THAT ARE IN HER HANDS AND HER FAMILIES FOR THEY BREED TOO.

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