'A Tail to Tell' gives care and hope to puppy mill victims

 One of the region's leading puppy mill rescue groups got a well-deserved TV shout out.

In the piece that aired over the weekend, WPVI reporter Monica Malpass visits "A Tail to Tell," a Lancaster-based rescue that has taken in and adopted out hundreds of puppy mill survivors over the years. These are the dogs usually too old or too sick to breed and sometimes the older puppies that don't sell.

What the story didn't include was the "before" pictures of the puppy mill survivors. Dogs removed from these breeding kennels are often so matted you can't tell their breed. They have rotten teeth, untreated sores, eye infections and mammary tumors. That's not to mention the psychological damage from years of isolation and little human contact.

Rescues that specialize in rehabilitation of puppy mill dogs like A Tail to Tell and Main Line Animal Rescue invest enormous sums of money to address the health needs of these dogs. Veteran foster families, like Dena and Steve Neff who are featured in the piece, who open their homes and hearts to these needy pups are to be commended for their extraordinary work.

There are far fewer commercial kennels operating in Pennsylvania today then there were when the dog law was passed in 2008, toughening standards of care. But commercial kennels still exist - about 40 of them at last count - some of which keep hundreds of adult dogs at a time. There are still hundreds of smaller breeders - some licensed and others not - keeping their breeding stock in inhumane conditions.

The dark barns. The lives spent in tiny wire floor cages. The cheap and contaminated food. The foul water.  The hallmarks of the puppy mill live on. Animal lovers can be grateful for the work of the folks at "A Tail to Tell," Main Line Animal Rescue, Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, Better Days Animal League in Shippensburg, Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg, and others, for giving hope to so many puppy mill survivors.