Pet Connections

Foxy Roxy & Greyson, the Italian Greyhounds

Jason Dunkle and his fiancé Mona Gray know what it’s like to have models in the family. It’s a busy life, with photoshoots, lots of clothing changes and exotic locations. But it’s worth it, because not only do the models love the attention, they donate all the money they earn from selling their photos to the National Mill Dog Rescue to help dogs. Because they’re Italian greyhounds.

Roxy, 8, and Greyson, 3 both enjoy the spotlight. Roxy has had quite a career already; she even has her own Facebook Page – “Foxy Roxy the Italian Greyhound” with 7,687 followers. She was named one of the most famous dogs on Facebook by American Dog Magazine in the Fall Issue of 2013. Roxy has participated in in 2 calendars already, and together with Greyson amassed quite a few contest wins. They include both a pet costume contest and a Halloween costume contest that resulted in $750 in prize money, which was donated to the National Mill Dog Rescue. And the two share several other wins, including the 2016 Petco, 2017 PETCON, and 2017 University Veterinary Specialists Costume Contests.

For 2018, they are starring in their 3rd charity calendar, which has a beach theme (photos by Christine Erin Photography) and was shot at Presque Isle in Erie, PA. Their photo shoot and story made the front page of the October 2018 Erie Times, and they were also featured in the Observer Reporter. When not working to bring awareness to puppy mills, the pair live a relatively quiet life in Washington, PA. Through talking to other of his favorite breed’s owners and his own research efforts, Jason became aware of how many Italian Greyhounds – along with many other breeds – were from puppy mills, and he felt compelled to do something. Through their calendar sales and photo contest wins, they’ve donated over $1,000 so far.

According to sources from HSUS and ASPCA, an estimated 167,388 breeding dogs are currently living in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed commercial facilities for breeding purposes at this very moment. Over 2 million puppies are bred in mills each year, while an estimated 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year.

Puppy mills are dog breeding operations that put profit over the health and well-being of dogs. The operations can be small or large, including thousands of dogs. Most breeding parents spend their lives in 24-hour confinement to cages, and it is common to see wire cages stacked on top of each other. They generally do not have protection from heat, cold, or inclement weather, living in dirty and unsanitary conditions. Dogs living in puppy mills receive little to no veterinary care, and puppy mill owners often provide what care without they do get without anesthesia or veterinary training. Mothers are bred every heat cycle and are usually killed when they can no longer produce. And puppies are taken from their mothers way too early, causing stress, health and behavioral problems later in life.

Some breeding facilities are licensed by the USDA, but others are not. In Pennsylvania, breeders that sell to pet stores must be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and while some are not in direct violation of the laws, they can still operate under terrible conditions. You can visit the PA Department of Agriculture at the following link, to do your own research when looking for a puppy, by checking to see if the seller is licensed and whether the kennel has any citations: https://www.padogs.state.pa.us/PublicKennels/SearchKennelInspections.aspx 

Shipping conditions are often inhumane as well. Dogs can be forced to go up to 12 hours without food or water, and are confined in a small space where diseases can be easily transmitted. Many puppies do not survive the trip.

The bottom line is that puppy mills are all about profits. Any money spent on veterinary care, quality food, shelter, or staff to care for the dogs cuts into the profit margin.

Act 119 is the PA dog law signed into action by Governor Rendell on October 8, 2008.  This legislation is meant to help Pennsylvania to rid its reputation as the ‘Puppy Mill Capitol of the East.’  The updated law is designed to improve the treatment dogs receive while in commercial kennels.  Under the old law, dogs could spend their entire lives in cramped, stacked cages with no opportunity to exercise and very little care. While there has been a dramatic increase in the number of states considering and enacting bills to regulate the commercial breeding industry, it is important to remember that these laws hinge on enforcement. Strong standards of care are meaningless if there is not enough staff to conduct inspections and punish violators. Therefore, in addition to pushing for stronger state laws, it is important to work with enforcing agencies to make sure laws are being followed. Pennsylvania has come a long way, but buyers need to do their share of independent research when getting a puppy.

If you would like to support Roxy and Greyson, see the information below about purchasing a calendar.

Calendar Ordering Info: 

The cost of a calendar is $35, including shipping. They can be purchased by mailing a check or money order payable to:

Jason Dunkle
P.O. Box 443
Washington, PA 15301

Once check is received, the calendar is mailed out the following day.

All proceeds, minus shipping costs, will be donated to National Mill Dog Rescue.

 

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