Dogs in breeding facilities are at the breeder’s mercy, and in a case in Montana, the breeder had no mercy whatsoever.
A jury convicted Mike Chilinski, a Malamute breeder, of 91 counts of cruelty to animals on October 18th. They deliberated for only four hours before handing down their verdict, and it’s no wonder they were so fast: the evidence was overwhelming.
Chilinski’s den of horrors was discovered through a Humane Society investigation. When officers visited the puppy mill, they found “a chaotic clutter of dilapidated kennels that were littered with feces and debris,” according to a district attorney who prosecuted the breeder. Four veterinarians testified that “most of the dogs were severely underweight, and had scars and parasites,” the Independent Record reported.
Chilinski did not provide enough food or water to his dogs. The dogs lacked proper shelter, and they didn’t get needed medical attention.
One witness testified that “about eight dead dogs were found unburied on Chilinski’s property. The dogs were in various states of decay,” according to an October 16th Independent Record article. The Humane Society’s executive director said that one person could not have adequately cared for the over 160 dogs alone. After the raid many pregnant dogs gave birth, raising the total number to 200 dogs.
3KRTV quoted a representative of the Humane Society of the United States who called Chilinski’s operation “a prime example of a large-scale breeding facility” and called for “stronger laws in Montana to regulate these types of breeding facilities.”
“Large-scale breeding facility” is a nice way of saying “puppy mill,” a notorious kind of business that places profit above the most basic health requirements of the dogs forced to churn out litter after litter. As I have written previously on Care2, puppy mills go mostly unregulated: the federal government itself acknowledged that though it has the responsibility to inspect breeders and ensure the health of their dogs, it has failed woefully at that task. In a 2010 report, the federal Office of the Inspector General found that government inspectors didn’t cite or document violations, so enforcement and punishment wasn’t possible, and that they bent over backwards to minimize penalties against breeders who abused or neglected their dogs. (WARNING: some of the pictures in the OIG’s report are very disturbing.)
The Lewis & Clark Humane Society, which is caring for the rescued dogs, estimates that their upkeep costs $2400 per day. If you would like to send money to help the rescued Malamutes, you can donate online or by mail:
c/o Lewis & Clark Humane Society
PO Box 4455
Helena, MT 59604