Readers speak out on the Gorham dog breeding facility

2/4/12 ** PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU READ THIS UPDATE: What you can do about animal cruelty in your community (whether you live in Gorham or not)

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When I posted this week about the plans for a large scale wholesale dog breeding facility in Gorham, NY, I had no idea it would spark the flame it has. I’m sure there are lots of other bloggers covering the story, but readers here at Heavenly Creatures have brought up some interesting points:

The term “puppy mill” is a super charged phrase. A reader named Doug Williams wrote:

 “u have already slandered these people in your article by calling their other facility a ‘puppy mill’. Do you have proof of that assertion. What is a ‘puppy mill’?”

Being the idiot that I am – something readers have reminded me of many times – I didn’t realize that a puppy mill isn’t always a puppy mill. In fact, there’s not really a definition of puppy mill that can be used unilateraly. So I asked a few experts for their thoughts on whether a facility like the one proposed in Gorham would still be considered a puppy mill, even if conditions were state of the art:

Melanie Kahn, who is the Senior Director for the Puppy Mills Campaign for the Humane Society of the United States, tells me:

“The HSUS puppy mills campaign defines a puppy mill as an inhumane, commercial breeding facility.  So in answer to your question, I would say that even if the dogs are being housed in a beautiful facility, if they are being treated inhumanely (e.g. not receiving veterinary care, not being able to run, are forced to breed until their fertility wanes) then yes, I would still call this facility a puppy mill.”

Mary Anne Kowalski, with the Seneca County SPCA, hates the term “puppy mill”. “There is no generally accepted definition – although everyone thinks they know one when they see one,” she says, adding:

“Use of this term allows the breeders and the pet industry to argue over that rather than deal with the issues.  And because there is no definition, it makes many of the suggested solutions in the legislature meaningless.  You can’t ban ‘puppy mills’ if everyone has a different definition of them.”

She would “prefer a law includes the entire companion animal industry and clear definitions based on activities performed, not on our judgments of them.”

So from now on, when I refer specifically to the Martin’s facility, I’ll call it a wholesale commerical dog breeding facility. It’s actually what it was called by Mr. Martin in the board meeting minutes. (Although, if I can be honest, a “wholesale commercial dog breeding facility” sounds a lot more horrific to me than “puppy mill.”)

Not everyone regards animals the same way. One reader named Debbie asked:

“If the board had denied the application based simply on emotions, then what’s to stop a horse farm, dairy farm, beef cattle operation from being denied as well?”

That’s a great question, if you consider dogs as livestock. But most Americans don’t – they consider dogs a companion animals, and have a problem with the wholesale commercial production of puppies. So, right or wrong, there are going to be emotions involved.

Plus, Mary Anne notes that “dogs and puppies are NOT livestock under the Agriculture and Markets Law” and as such are not regulated by farming or agriculture laws. So the emotions are not necessarily misplaced.

The Amish have a bad rap when it comes to puppy mills. It’s been noted over and over again that the Martins are Mennonites, and while I don’t think it’s fair to single anyone out by faith alone, I do want to just note why their religious affiliation is a red flag for animal welfare groups. Deborah Howard, President of Companion Animal Protection Society tells me, “The Amish consider dogs to be livestock more so than the other puppy mill breeders and brokers. They don’t like to be government regulated either, so some unlicensed facilities are selling to brokers who sell to pet shops.” She goes on to say:

“Puppy mills are in every Midwest state, Pennsylvania and New York. We’ve investigated many puppy mills in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, which have large concentrations of Amish and Mennonite-owned mills. We’ve also come across Amish and Mennonite-owned facilities in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. Most of these puppy mills had serious violations. The worst Amish mills are were in Holmes County, Ohio.”

At the last state inspection of the Martin’s Seneca County facility,  Mary Anne tells me there were 46 dogs with expired rabies certificates and 50 missing rabies certificates, which the report says the “pet dealer claims the vet did not vaccinate.”

If dogs are going to be treated like a commercial product, then they need to be regarded like other products that hold the manufacturer accountable for defects or problems. A reader named AJ brings up a great idea, suggesting that:

 “every puppy sold would be required to be microchipped. the microchip # would follow the dog’s license whenever sold (kind of like your car’s registration #).”

One problem with fighting puppy mills or irresponsible large scale facilities is that once the puppy leaves the breeder it’s not always possible to track back to the breeder. If you argue that a dog is a product that can be mass produced, like a toaster, for example, then there needs to be a way to track back to the facility that produced the dog – just like a toaster has a UPC code and identifying serial numbers. For a dog, that would be a microchip. That would definitely help keep large scale breeders accountable for the products they produce. It would also allow for a better way to track genetic problems. 

People get crazy when they get emotional. I honestly didn’t expect such a large – or heated – response. A lot of readers were ready to get the pitchforks and picket signs. I think it’s good to feel passion for something but it’s also important not to go off half-cocked. An honest discussion that allows people to hear both sides of an issue goes a lot farther than, “Let’s protest!” There are a lot of ways to share your thoughts – but remember that there is a legal process that a business like the Martins propose must go through, and a legal process the Gorham town board uses to approve or deny business applications. If there is a legitimate problem with the Martin’s proposed large, wholesale, commercial dog breeding facility, there’s a proper way to address the concerns.

It’s too late … but it’s not too late. If in fact there are legitimate concerns about a large, wholesale, commercial breeding facility in Gorham, NY – and I think there are - then it’s too late to do anything about them. Well, some of them. The Gorham town board issued the special use permit and that’s a done deal. According to one of my sources, they didn’t have a reason to deny the permit other than for animal welfare issues, and at that point, there weren’t any. (update: Any they knew of anyway; see why it’s important to be involved or at least informed about your local government?)

My source did say that the Martins still need to get approval from the NY State Dept. of Health and the NY State DEC before the town can issue the actual building permit. She also said that after speaking with representatives from the town that she had the sense these concerns are being taken seriously. So if you want to voice your opinion, here are some ways to do that.

Reader Heather was inspired to start a petition. She read the story and just felt like she had to act, so she went to and started a petition and has almost reached her goal in a day. So signing the petition is one way to help voice your concerns. You can sign the petition here. (Update: Heather told me that every time she reaches a goal the petition automatically ups the goal – she keep passing in on!)

It’s also important to contact the town officials in Gorham and share your thoughts – remember, be polite, be respectful, be calm and be specific. Just emailing over and over “Stop puppy mills!!” isn’t going to get anyone anywhere (and it makes you sound cuckoo):

Gorham Town Offices
PO Box 224
4736 South St.
Gorham, NY 14461

Town Supervisor: Fred Lightfoote

Town Council Members:
Doug Negley        585-554-6785
William Glitch        585-526-5181
Allyson Adam-Anderson   585-526-5868

This contact information was shared by reader Jade:

Gorham Planning Board:
Thomas Harvey, Chair 526-6058
Neil Atkins 396-9973
Lizabeth Watkins
Robert Farmer 394-1584
Dale Frankish 554-6823
Andrew Hoover 554-3818
George McCadden 554-3947
Dewey Fladd, Alternate 554-3001
Jack Dailey, Alternate 394-7347

And then what happens? I confess that I’m curious about what happens to the passion and outrage when this facility is yesterday’s news. Will the people in an uproar continue to pursue the issues of puppy mills or inhumane treatment of breeding dogs? Because there is a very real problem with unsanitary, inhumane dog breeding facilities of all sizes, all across the country.

And what about other animals? Why do we get worked up over dogs but not pigs or cows, who are raised commercially in conditions similar to puppy mills? Is it a cultural belief? What is it that allows us to protest a puppy mill while enjoying a BLT with bacon from a CAFO pig? How many people active in dog rescue also carry that passion to food animal welfare? Please understand that I’m not criticizing; it’s only been in the last few years I’ve really started to consider the health and welfare of the animals I eat – and how their health and welfare affect my health and welfare. So I’m curious to hear how the concern over companion animals does or doesn’t carry over to farm food animals and why we feel so differently about different animals.

UPDATE: I just wanted to add that it’s  not my intention to make a blanket statement that all commercial dog breeders are puppy mills or in any way malign anyone. So if you’re a commercial dog breeder and proud of your facility, I’d love to come and visit and report back in order to share your side of the story. This is America, and people are allowed to run businesses legally. If you think the large dog breeder has been misrepresented, I honestly would be happy to share your side of the story.


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  • Michelle

    Regarding the issue of this “puppy mill” I am a licensed veterinary technician and I also work within an hour drive of this facility. At my hospital we see tons of puppys come in from the gorham area that came from mennonite breeders. Many of these puppys have intestinal parasites and some behavioral problems. Putting this building up is not a good idea. Dogs can not be treated like livestock until we start eating them just like we would the cows, pigs, chickens, etc. especially when the offspiring of these breeding dogs are becoming household pets. There are plenty of very healthy loving dogs in shelters all over this state that need a home and end up being euthanized because the shelters they are in can not house them for any longer than a specified amount of time due to the amount of animals that are surrendered. Go adopt a dog that is already alive, happy and healthy! Save a life instead of allowing some guy who wants to make money produce one that may end up in the exact same place as one that was just euthanized due to space constrictions!

    • doug williams

      Do all of the puppies have parasites that come form the “Mennonites”? do you see any puppies NOT from Mennonites that have parasites? How about puppies from shelters.. any of those have disease or parasites? Many dogs are actually given up at shelters BECAUSE they have “behavioral problems”.. not from breeding but from the way the owners treat them ( mostly like children instead of dogs)
      We do not eat horses either and yet they are considered livestock.. if you ask many people they would say horses are “companion animals” the idea of them being restricted to certain numbers and falling under different guidelines is not a far fetched idea for many people..
      No dog needs to be killed for “space” . That is an animal rights myth that has been perpetuated even though the numbers of animals killed in shelters has really dropped to zero in many places.. so much so that dogs are imported for one state to another.. and even from overseas to fill the need. It would be a difficult “sell” for the animals rights people ( like HSUS) if people actually knew that dogs in shelters many places are a rarity.. the “we need to kill them because of big bad breeders” makes for good donation fodder.
      Michelle.. you have your idea of how to obtain a pet.. it is not everyone’s idea Animal rights people want their to be one place and one place ONLY for people to buy pets.. and that is from a “shelter”.. many of which are multi million dollar “pet stores” funded by tax payer dollars..
      Let the people decide..

      • Holly

        Doug, Seriously… Where do you get your information? Thousands of dogs are put down every day for lack of space. Just ask anyone who worked at a shelter. I have volunteered many times at shelters. Putting dogs down is not something they want to do, but have to do for LACK OF SPACE! There is no need to mass breed dogs when so many are in need of homes. On another note check the Bible. God has given clear instructions on how animals should be treated, and which animals are food. I would think a Godly person would know that. I guess some just decide to disobey his law, but they and you will have to answer for that someday.
        Proverbs 12:10

        Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
        “The righteous man treats animals with kindness and seeks to know their needs. A wicked person may vocally express love for animals, but his “mercies,” at best, are actually cruel. His actions betray the selfish motive he has in mind.” How true this is of those who are willing to let animals live in small cages piled on top of each other. With little if any socialization, and all around improper care. All for money! Raise cows, pigs or chickens like a REAL farmer. Dogs are NOT an agricultural animal. The fact that some people on here believe they are is laughable. I am a local, and I too love the farm atmosphere. But this is not farming at all. It is a plan for animal abuse. There is no need for more little dogs. The shelters are already full, to the point of having to kill more and more every week!

      • Michelle


        Yes of course we get puppies in from breeders that have parasites. We also get grown dogs in that have parasites. I also know that there are plenty of dogs and cats even that have been euthanized at the biggest animal shelter in the Rochester, NY area due to space constrictions. This shelter also goes through a very rigorous testing procedure to make sure each dog that comes through the door is safe and healthy to be adopted into a loving home.

        We also have great breeders that take care of their bitches and puppies and are very concious about how many breedings and how frequently the bitch is being bred. Over breeding a bitch can be a very harmful mistake. On the same note I can tell you that we did approximately 10 pyometra surgeries last year alone on otherwise healthy bitches that were in a family environment and were seen and touched everyday. Bitches that get pyometras that are not caught in time (which is generally the span of a few days) will die from infection. How many of these bitches in this “commercial breeding facility” are being touched and seen on a daily basis enough to realize that something could be wrong and in need of veterinary care?
        As far as the horses go…theren are horse slaughter plants in this country that ship the meat to Europe for consumption. I don’t like it but it is a fact.
        While I don’t like to see animals in pain or jeopardy, I will put it out there that I am a hunter. I see no problem in harvesting an animal for consumption. Do I kill deer just to make space for other deer or take the bad ones out of the gene pool? NO!
        I’m sorry that you are so misinformed about the real way things are in these industries. I have done plenty of research on this topic for school and not one of my sources was from PETA or any animal rights groups. I think before you go spouting off at the mouth you should do some more research…

  • Mike

    Joanne, someone just brought to my attention that Heathers petition is useless because It’s aimed at the Ontario County Planning Board and not the Gorham Town Board.

  • deana

    my email to the town supervisor (who, along with the planning board, voted unanimously to approve the special use permit), and the town zoning officer (who will still need to issue a building permit in order for this atrocity to proceed).
    feel free to copy, modify, re-use, re-send, whatever.

    Town Supervisor Fred Lightfoote:
    Town Zoning Oficer Gordon Freida:

    Mr. Lightfoote and Mr. Freida:

    The Town of Gorham Planning Board unanimously approved a recent request by Curtis and Jolene Martin for a special use permit to build a “wholesale dog breeding facility,” commonly referred to as a “puppy mill.”

    The facility would house approximately 500 breeding dogs, with no outdoor kennels or exercise pens. The dogs and their puppies will maintain a completely indoor lifestyle, with no human contact other than employees and USDA inspectors, who visit twice a year.

    Puppies who grow up in a mill miss out on many crucial socialization periods with humans and they never learn to trust, to love, or to play. They have had very minimal physical contact with people and have virtually no concept of what to expect (or what is expected of them) when they are placed in a family situation. As a result, they are far more likely to exhibit behavioral issues, and to be dumped by their purchasers into an already overburdened animal shelter system.

    I hope that neither you, nor any member of your planning board, own a family dog. To do so, and to knowingly vote in approval of such a reprehensible “business venture” could only indicate a blatant lack of compassion for the hundreds of breeding dogs whose lives will begin and end behind its walls.

    Did the Planning Board take into consideration that the Martins have not been able to properly maintain the puppy mill that they currently operate in Seneca County?

    Records indicate that in 2010, the Martins wrote letters urging the Seneca County Board of Supervisors NOT to set county regulations concerning kennels and dog breeders in addition to the USDA and NYS regulations already in place.

    This is understandable, considering that the Martins were unable to meet the standards already in place, being cited by USDA inspectors for violations in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

    With millions of unwanted dogs euthanized in shelters each year, the last thing we need in New York is yet another commercial breeding facility. I urge you, and the Town Planning Board of Gorham, to revoke the special use permit, and/or deny a building permit, for the construction of a puppy mill in your town.

    Thank you for your time,

    • doug williams

      I do hope Mr. Lightfoot takes note of your use of the words “puppy mill”. I also hope that Mr. Lightfoote has a family dog. I also hope he bought from whatever source he deemed acceptable to him and his family.
      As for socialization issues.. Puppies should stay with the mother until the 49th day.. then they should go to their new homes.. THAT is when critical socialization begins.. not before. ( note that that is only at 7 weeks… most states do not allow for puppy sales until 8 weeks.. so already the state is mismanaging the socialization of puppies) Puppies do not need “human intervention” while in the critical stages of learning from the mother.. and litter mates.

      as for being inside.. what better place for dogs to be? “Puppy mill” activists complain when the dogs are outside.. now you complain because they are inside.. Many house cats never go outside and people are applauded for this.. in some places it is illegal to allow your cat outdoors . I am sure these puppies will see “the light of day” when they need to. The person probably was concerned about noise issues. They are “damned if you do .. damned if you don’t” face it.. they could NEVER live up to whatever higher ( albeit not better) standards you set

      • K R

        Wow, Doug, are you misinformed!! At least check your facts before making such blatantly erroneos statements!! There ARE thousands of dogs in shelters who are killed every year, to make room for the next batch of unwanted dogs, many of whom have behavioral issues because of abuse and/ or lack of socialization. Puppy mills are puppy mills, no matter what you want to call them, and the Amish and Mennonites treat all animals as possessions and not companions. Their poor horses are horribly overworked, too. We do NOT need to support their way of life and their perspectives on animals, and we do NOT need a puppy mill anywhere!!!

    • bill

      I completely understand that you dont want this “puppy mill” to go up in the town of Gorham and you will do anything in your power not to allow this to happen but i find it hard to believe that by contacting the zoning officer who is NOT on the planning board you think things will be done. its the law, if the planning board approves something the zoning officer of any town or in any state for that matter has no choice but to give them a permit. if everything meets code, is legal and is not breaking any laws, its only the legal thing to do. the planning board, zoning officer and any other town officials cannot bring their personal opinions into their work place. its uncalled for in almost all work places. and who isnt to say that they dont agree with a dog breeding facility? do you know all of the board members personally?
      i dont think that this dog breeding facility is a good fit for any town but i dont find it necessary to also say that you hope that Mr. Lightfoot or Mr. Freida or anyone on the planning board do not own dogs. if they do own dogs its no ones business where the purchased them from. just because the PLANNING BOARD MEMBERS approved the special use permit does not make them bad animal owners. a lot of people buy their animals from breeders. not everyone can be a lifesaver and purchase their animals from local humane societies. some people like a pure bred dog and will pay the extra amount to purchase a pure bred. then again some have a heart for a cute little mut.
      i do see where you are concerned but think things need to be handled at a professional matter and with respect.

  • Deborah Howard

    CAPS’ definition of puppy mill: “A commercial breeding establishment that mass produces dogs for resale.” Commercial is the key. These are not “private” breeders as some pet shops claim. Private breeders don’t usually sell to pet shops. These breeders raise puppies for resale to brokers and pet shops or even to sell to individuals who sell over the Internet and hence are reselling. We’ve been in puppy mills that were very clean yet they are commercial livestock operations, not puppies being raised in someone’s home.

    • doug williams

      and so? what of it.. we live a fairly free country.. free enough so that you can spout all of the propaganda you wish If all commercial breeders were shut down as you wish them to be .. no matter how well run the establishment even if the dogs sat on velvet pillows and ate raw steak all day it would not be good enough for CAPS.. home hobby breeders in no way can produce enough dogs for people who want them especially with the restrictions forced upon them by animal rights groups like the HSUS and CAPS

      some of your readers might note that CAPS is frequently joined by Mercy For Animals a radical animal rights group that want no more animal use.

      Deborah. Where should people get dogs?

      • Victoria

        Yes we all have a right to have a business to make money and provide for our needs. Yes we all have the right to feel differently about the type of business. But why support a business that has known issues with so much controversy. Why produce a product that has the potential to cause a health hazzard, has questionable quality issues due to environment and breeding practices. And on top of that..I am one of those bleeding hearts that says dogs are not livestock..should not be raised and treated as such…..this whole idea of a 500-600 dog breeding facility is wrong on so many levels ! Sad to see Yates County, Seneca County and Ontario County labeled as dog breeding centers of NY …..

  • d

    “We don’t just produce as many puppies as we can, that’s not our goal. Yes, we do have to do that but it’s not the main reason we’re in it. We’re in it for the animals,” says 26-year-old Curtis Martin.

    WOW. Really?!?!?! “In it for the animals”????

    Which animals, exactly, is Mr. Martin “in it” for?

    The ones with bleeding feet and untreated seizure disorders, found by USDA inspectors in 2007?

    The ones with clumped, matted fur and unhealthily long, embedded nails that USDA inspectors discovered in 2008?

    Or how about the one with untreated ear mites found later that year at a follow-up inspection?

    Oooh, or there’s the almost 70 dogs with no microchips or identification numbers at all! Maybe THEY’RE the ones he’s in it for!

    Or how about the ones who don’t make the reports? You know, the ones who remain relatively healthy, and just spend their entire lives in a cage, being bred to turn a profit?

    “We’re in it for the animals.”

    Seriously – that statement makes my blood boil.

    • d

      “Mr. Martin stated that they are going to have some small dogs, some large dogs. They will have different size dogs. The numbers, there should not be over 500 dogs. There will be mostly small dogs.
      Mr. Farmer asked if that number is breeeding dogs.
      Mr. Martin stated that there will be not more than 500 breeding dogs.
      Mr. Farmer asked how many puppies there would be.
      Mr. Martin stated that it depends on how many the dogs have. The puppies do not take up that much room.”

      “Mr Atkins asked how many dead dogs they have a year.
      Mr. Martin stated that he really does not keep close track of that but it is not a big amount.”

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  • http://Rudy'sRescue Debbie McWilliams

    Thank you all for making phone call and all you did to make the zoning board “rethink” this. We still have to be “on our toes” to make sure they don’t try to do it some other way. Dogs are so precious like little children and can’t speak up for themselves, so you are being the advocate for them, and we in the rescue programs thank you so much! Just keep your eyes and ears open and let us all know if or when you need us again. Maybe I will be able to sleep tonight! ~Debbie~

    • Tom

      The people who were trying to open a commercial breeding business should track all the campaigners down and sue them.

  • Pingback: What you can do about animal cruelty in your community (whether you live in Gorham or not) « Heavenly Creatures

  • Holly

    I hope people don’t think this is all Mennonites. Only a few bad apples. As a whole they have a beautiful, god fearing lifestyle. It’s sad that a few bad people have to give them a bad name. They will have to answer for that some day.

    • Tom

      A very wealthy person who should nave known better used the term “puppy mill” which is just as bad as using the “n” word to prejudice people against the Amish. I’m sorry that so many people fell for it and a lot of good breeders are also sorry.

      • Jennifer

        You are completely and unequivocally clueless.

  • Tom

    “Puppy mill” is the same thing as an ethnic or racial slur. The term carries no more meaning than the “n” word. Laws based on the use of the term, or inspired by the use of the term, can safely be called abusive and stupid.

    Permitting the use of such a label has permitted illegal and unnecessarily harsh actions against breeders who had perfectly healthy animals. It really is like using a racial slur because to this day we see police doing a lot of things to black people that they would not dare do to a white person. We see them doing a lot of things to perfectly good breeders that they wouldn’t dare do to anyone who they knew was “connected” and that they wouldn’t even think of doing when they had the new word for the “n” word on their lips.

    • Tom

      “When’ should be “unless” where I said “when they had the “n” word on their lips.

    • Jennifer

      To compare the term puppy mill to a racial slur is not only not even close to be comparable, it’s downright insulting.

      • Tom

        yes, glad you agree…. It is insulting to the breeder who is being called the P.M. word.

  • Sandy

    I DO rescue abandoned and unwanted pets. There is NO need for a large scale breeding facility in this state or any state. This person running this so called breeding facility doesn’t have the greatest reputation and has been fined before! Do the research! She is not breeding to better the breed nor is she breeding to supply pets to home owners. The word “wholesale” means she is breeding for money to sell to pet stores and such. Therefore she is a puppy mill. This facility will hold up to 500 dogs as breeding stock. What the heck else would it be but a puppy mill? She sure isn’t keeping 500 dogs a s loving pets. 1000′s of dogs are put to sleep in this state each year by irresponsible pet owners. Now we want to add a breeding facility of this size? So, the town can make money off the taxes?? I think so. Our state passes laws to stop over breeding and the towns laugh at it. It infuriates me to wonder how many of this breeders puppy’s will be added to the over population of unwanted pets. It infuriates me to think of 500 dogs being housed in cages just for breeding no individual attention no love!!! And to the person that said horses are livestock and we don’t eat them…Guess again!!! Sadly our government just abolished the law that said we do not eat horses!! So when we they breed dogs to eat? Disgusted

    • Tom

      There is a need for large scale breeding facilities to breed for good quality and health. You don’t leave the species anything if you beat up on commercial facilities and “backyard breeders.” A backyard breeder is a family, the ideal living situation for a litter of puppies.

      • Jennifer

        Large scale breeding facility coupled with breeding for good quality and health is an oxymoron and completely laughable. Or it would be laughable if it weren’t so categorically wrong. What kind of backyard breeders do you know?? The ideal living situation? Hardly.

  • Jennifer

    Some of these questions you raise can be answered by researching the USDA licensing requirements for “A”-breeders and “B”-dealers and the cage requirements. The dogs have to have identification and this is usually done by a microchip but in the old days the dogs used to have tattoos. The dogs are not allowed to be in the house. There is usually a barn or a kennel building such as a Sundowner and a whelping building. Have any of you driven by the Martins’ present location and looked at the building where the hundreds of dogs are being kept? That will explain a lot. I consider these people commercial breeders-people who are only interested in making money from dog breeding/farming. I would not call it a puppymill since I have not been to their facility and I doubt they would let anyone from the public in except for the USDA inspector and the kennel help. The majority of these breeders are like that as they do not want you to know that their dogs are kept in cages 24/7 and never have their paws on the ground. The commercial breeders do not exercise their dogs as they are not required to. I have been rescuing dogs from the dog auctions in both MO and OH since 2001 but the OH auctions have stopped. Most of the dogs are frightened by humans and have never been on grass. The majority of them are not healthy and have genetic problems. It can be extremely difficult to housetrain and socialize these dogs. I wish puppy buyers would research where pet store puppies come from before buying them as a USDA license means nothing!

    • Tom

      How would you know all this about commercial breeders? Can you prove it?

      • Jennifer

        Anyone with a BRAIN would know this and have no need to “prove it” and many people have not only dealt with the cast offs from such facilities but have quite often been involved in their busts. Get a clue.

        • Tom

          and you count on people who don’t use their BRAIN to just believe it cuz you said it’s so?

  • etbmfa

    Asking HSUS about “puppymills” is like asking the fox about the henhouse.
    9 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS
    1. The Humane Society of the United States scams Americans out of millions of dollars through manipulative and deceptive advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising appeals that ran between January 2009 and September 2011 determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters, and it has spent millions on anti-farming and anti-hunting political campaigns.
    2. HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) reissued HSUS’s “D” rating in December 2011, finding that HSUS spends as little as 49 percent of its budget on its programs. Additionally, the 2011 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends about 43 percent of its budget on overhead costs.
    3. Six Members of Congress have called for a federal investigation of HSUS. In April 2011, six Congressmen wrote the IRS Inspector General showing concerns over HSUS’s attempts to influence public policy, which they believe has “brought into question [HSUS’s] tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.”
    4. HSUS regularly contributes more to its own pension plan than it does to pet shelters. An analysis of HSUS’s tax returns determined that HSUS funneled $16.3 million to its executive pension plan between 1998 and 2009—over $1 million more than HSUS gave to pet shelters during that period.
    5. The pet sheltering community believes HSUS misleads Americans. According to a nationally representative poll of 400 animal shelters, rescues, and animal control agencies, 71 percent agree that “HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” Additionally, 79 percent agree that HSUS is “a good source of confusion for a lot of our donors.”
    6. While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed.”
    7. Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it provides direct care to more animals than any other animal protection group in the US, most of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance. In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to just as many or more animals than HSUS does.
    8. HSUS’s CEO has said that convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” Following Vick’s release from prison, HSUS has helped “rehabilitate” Michael Vick’s public image. Of course, a $50,000 “grant” from the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t hurt.
    9. HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”
    Want evidence? Vist: * *
    Revised February 2012. Complete sources and documentation available upon request.__._,

    • Bill Sutherland

      Your sources for these lies about HSUS are industry funded front groups that represent puppy mills, factory farms, seal clubbers, furriers and canned hunt businesses. These lobby groups are payed by the animal abusing industries to create smear campaigns against animal protection groups, such as HSUS and PETA.
      The Center for Consumer Freedom, Humane Watch, Activist Cash have been exposed on 60 Minutes and other mainstream media for their deception and outright lies in furthering their corporate agenda, at the expense of people, animals and the environment.
      The Center for Consumer Freedom says trans fats clean the arteries, high fructose corn syrup is healthy, second hand smoke isn’t harmful, mercury laden fish is ok for expecting moms, and they’ve attacked Mothers Against Drunk Driving – all on behalf of the food and beverage industries.

      The puppy mill industry is suffering ever since HSUS started passing anti-puppy mill legislation. Mills close in every state that it passes, over 500 closed in Missouri alone. And as more people learn about the hidden costs of mill dogs, more breeding facilities will close. People will adopt or buy pure breds from reputable breeders who don’t consider their dogs breeding stock. It’s only a matter of time.

      HSUS is successful at passing humane legislation and that is why the animal abusing industries pay Center for Consumer Freedom, Humane Watch, etc. millions of dollars to create smear campaigns against HSUS.

      Here is a website that debunks all of your lies.

      For those interested, please to let your representatives know your thoughts on commercial breeding mills at HSUS New York Lobby Day in April.

      • Tom is another HSUS propaganda site again put up to confuse people, hense the name humanewatch to confuse ppl with

        You animal rights terrorists just can’t stand it when your papa pacelle is called out can you?

        • Tom

          tell me Bill. You mention reputable breeders in your HSUS talking points,
          “And as more people learn about the hidden costs of mill dogs, more breeding facilities will close. People will adopt or buy pure breds from reputable breeders who don’t consider their dogs breeding stock. It’s only a matter of time.”

          Could you please direct me to the list of HSUS approved “reputable breeders”. I’m sure many ppl would like to know where they can go to buy a puppy that has the blessings of the HSUS.

          • Tom

            SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!

            Just read the release on the “new” HSUS BARC program…

            Looks like Pacelle’s cronies have finally convinced a few AKC show and competition breeders that if they would side with HSUS and go against all other breeders, they will get filthy rich… ROFLMAO…
            Print this out and post it on the wall…
            As soon as enough of the “trouble” breeders are eliminated, Pacelle will turn on these gullible fools like Cujo.

  • d

    I would like some of whatever Tom and Doug are smoking.

    • d

      And I mean that in a colloquial sense – in short, I am honestly fascinated that someone can have such a perspective on this issue. I would be interested to know what leads someone to have this type of perspective, when there are apparently an abundance of statistics and other information that seem to indicate otherwise.

  • Mike
  • Mike

    The Gorham Town Board has scheduled a meeting on the dog breeding facility for Wed. 8/1

    WHAT Gorham Town Board meeting
    WHEN Wednesday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m.
    WHERE Gorham Town Hall, 4736 South St.
    DETAILS The board will discuss the planned breeding facility.
    CALL (585) 526-6317; or

  • Pingback: Gorham Town Supervisor recommends moratorium on dog breeding « Heavenly Creatures

  • Mike
  • Mike

    It would be smart to contact the Canandaigua Water Shed, especially if you live near the lake or in the Town of Gorham. I already have.

    Lake Water Shed Inspector .. 585-396-9716

  • Pingback: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) reports on the Martin’s Seneca Falls facility « Heavenly Creatures

  • Joanne Brokaw

    This is your friendly neighborhood blog host, just stepping to politely remind everyone that while all of your comments are so very welcome, it’s important to be courteous to each other so as to continue a calm and reasonable discussion.

    Thanks, everyone! :)
    Joanne (blog host)

  • Pingback: Gorham residents speak out on dog breeding facility; approval nullified for now « Heavenly Creatures

  • Mike


  • Mike

    3/14 – Gorham sets public hearing on moratorium on dog breeders.

    The Gorham Town Board will hold a public hearing on whether to enact a one-year moratorium against dog breeding facilities. The public hearing takes place at 7 p.m. on March 14, at the Gorham Elementary School, 2705 Route 245, which is also Main Street.

    The draft document of the proposed local law will be posted on the town’s website.

    The Town Board is considering the moratorium to give officials time to review local, state and federal laws and local zoning regarding dog breeding facilities. Town officials have received overwhelming opposition to such facilities following the Town Planning Board in January granting a special-use permit for a proposed dog-breeding facility at 4446 Route 247.

    For more Rochester, N.Y. news, go to

  • MIKE

    ****************** MORATORIUM WAS NOT PASSED YET *******************

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