Filmmaker explores role of money and politics in puppy mills

On film and television, there is no shortage of documentaries exploring the horrors of puppy mills in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Now documentary filmmaker Chris Grimes turns his lens on the role money and politics have played in supporting a cruel industry.

In Dog By Dog, which is expected to be released later this year, Grimes explores the link between money and politics at the state and federal level that, in his view, have conspired to allow a the industry not just to survive to thrive.

"If poll after poll indicate a majority of the American public oppose large-scale dog breeding, commonly referred to as puppy mills, why have both state and federal lawmakers and institutions responsible for enforcement failed to act?" asks Grimes. "Essentially that is the question we are exploring in Dog By Dog. While many documentaries have admirably exposed the public to the sickening underworld of puppy mills, I believe what has been missing from the public discussion is a close examination of monetary support flowing into state capitals and Washington D.C. which have sentenced millions of dogs to a life in cage and allowed the most irresponsible dog breeders to thrive."

Featured in his film are many individuals who have played key roles in changing policy in Pennsylvania, including Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue, and Bob Baker, who over 30 years investigated dozens of Lancaster County puppy mills and has been instrumental in changing Pennsylvania's dog law.

Baker is now director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, which has worked to shut down hundreds of substandard kennels and improve the quality of dogs in the remaining kennels in that state.

The filmmaker also interviews Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale who issued a scathing report last year condemning the early failures of the state's office of dog law enforcement to enforce the dog law under the Corbett administration.

And watch for yours truly who provides perspective from the halls of the Pennsylvania Capitol.

The title refers to those, like Smith, who have rescued puppy mill victims one by one, or dog by dog.

(HBO's "Madonna of the Mills," which chronicled the efforts of another puppy mills dog rescuer Laura Flynn Amato, of New York, who works to remove and find homes for unwanted breeding dogs from Pennsylvania's commercial kennels.)

Grimes said as a registered non-profit, his film company intends to partner with local and regional animal welfare organizations for screenings in local communities.

"We are hoping that the film screenings can be used as a fundraising tool for those organizations," he said. "We have already had a tremendous amount of interest for Pennsylvania organizations, so we are very hopeful to do a couple of screenings across the state."

Watch the Dog by Dog trailer here.

 

 

 

 

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