Zoe’s story proves puppy mills still a problem

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Zoe was surrendered after his owners discovered the level of care he needed.
Zoe was surrendered after his owners discovered the level of care he needed.

Gabby DogA litter of stories connected to puppy mills came across The Gabby Dog’s messy desk this past week, and they’re the kind of stories that remind pet lovers we’ve more work to do to protect the fur pals.

First off, in Madison County, Ark., the Humane Society of the US on March 3 removed 295 dogs from a “suspected puppy mill” and took them to emergency shelter.

According to the press release, the rescue team “found animals living in dangerous and filthy conditions.”

The bad news went on: “Many of the dogs were housed in tiny cages covered with feces and lacking clean water and food. We also witnessed the heartbreaking consequences of this cruelty — carcasses and piles of bones strewn across the property.”

Zoe had an infection of the third eyelid, known as 'cherry eye.'
Zoe had an infection of the third eyelid, known as ‘cherry eye.’

Then, on March 4, our old friends at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center let Gabby know about Zoe, the 10-month old Bull Mastiff, bought and sold at the Pet Express store in Danvers, Mass.

Zoe’s owners recently surrendered her to the MSPCA-Angell (Jamaica Plain) after realizing they couldn’t keep her, due to personal difficulties over starting a new job.

To make a sad story sadder, she was given up after the owners went through an unsuccessful surgery with her to correct a serious eye problem.

Now, the Gabby Dog fortunately never had cause to know about cherry eye, but the condition, which is a “severe inflammation of the third eyelid, can lead to blindness, according to Rob Halpin, of the MSPCA-Angell.

According to Alyssa Krieger, the adoption center manager, “Zoe’s is one of the worst cases of cherry eye I’ve ever seen in the adoption center, and it’s especially sad because her owners had done all they could to try and correct the problem.”

Once they discovered their new puppy had contracted cherry eye — and surgery would be the only option — they took Zoe to their vet to have the operation. But Zoe had a bad outcome.

Zoe, before surgery to save her eyesight at  MSPCA Angell Memorial.
Zoe, before surgery to save her eyesight at MSPCA-Angell.

On top of the Cherry Eye, Zoe also has survived a bout with Giardia, “an intestinal infection common in puppies raised in commercial breeding facilities,” and a urinary tract infection.

“It’s sad when such a young dog has had so many medical issues, but we’re going to do all we can to ensure she has a brighter future,” Krieger said. A second eye surgery is Zoe’s best option now.


“$1,200,” Halpin said. People who want to help can donate at www.mspca.org/helpzoe  and for adoption information, email the MSPCA at adoption@mspca.org.

Ironically, Zoe arrived at the humane shelter one day before the Boston City Council passed the “Puppy Mill Bill,” outlawing pet store sales of puppies, kittens and rabbits, Halpin said.

Boston’s the first Bay State city to adopt such a law, he said. But it won’t be the last, if Gabby has her two cents worth. And plenty of other great minds think alike. Here’s a new petition to the same effect for Jersey. 

Have a tip or story idea? E-mail Margo Ann Sullivan at TheGabbyDog@gmail.com and  Follow The_Gabby_Dog on Twitter.

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Margo Ann Sullivan

Margo Ann Sullivan is a pet columnist who has written for ZooToo, and numerous publications in New York and in New England. She’s had pets all her life, starting with a rescue collie named Lollypop. The Gabby Dog column chases the news that helps pets and people. It also chronicles the adventures of Gabby, the peke-a-poo, and Asia, the tabby cat, and their many pals, hitting the high spots between Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH.

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