Who We Are

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/oct/31/action-for-animals/

We are two women who were tired and angered by the treatment of some animals in our own community.

The first thing we tackled was our local flea market. Every month there were more and more puppies being sold. We went, took photos by saying we wanted to show our families the puppies, collected business cards and went to work. We googled the various "breeders/vendors" to see if there were complaints, and there were.

We researched and found that the flea market was held on city owned property and we contacted that department. That was a dead-end, they said there was nothing they could do about animal sales at the flea market.

We contacted the flea market and found that it was run by a local manager but owned by an out-of-state company. We googled and got the company name.

We then called the company and asked to speak with the owner. We stated we were private citizens that had concerns about the animal vendors at the Memphis flea market. He was not an "animal friendly" kind of person, so we appealed to him as a business man. That it wasn't worth the money he received from renting 20 booths to the animal sellers. That he could rent to other vendors. That the bad press created by the potential of puppy mill links would not help business. We were polite and friendly and did not try to "convert" him. We just focused on his business. We pointed out there would be a boycott and protest at the flea market. Eventually, he realized that the vendors were not good for the future business of his flea market. He called the Memphis manager and told her to quit allowing dog and cats to be sold at the flea market. We have learned that he also stopped dog and cat sales throughout his nationwide chain of flea markets.

Next, we learned of a Pet Expo (bringing over 1,000 puppies and birds) that was booked to sell every three months at our local Agricenter. Again, we researched and learned the Agricenter was located on county owned property. We researched the organizer who puts on the pet expos, over 50 every year throughout the South, obtained a list of the breeders that he represented and went to work. These breeders were from towns in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. We called the humane societies and animals groups located in these towns. We gathered information directly linking this "Pet Expo" to known puppy mill operations. We called the Director of the Agricenter and when we expressed our concerns, he stated that a "bunch of housewives" weren't going to tell him how to run his business. We went to a local animal group meeting and told them what we had learned and encouraged them to write letters to the Board of Directors of the Agricenter, County Commissioners, and the County Mayor. We then organized a peaceful protest and got the word out. His "housewives" comment helped the cause greatly. Soon we were receiving calls from all over the city wanting to be part of the protest. We contacted the local paper and TV news stations and told them about the date and time of the protest. A few days before the protest, the Agricenter cancelled the "Pet Expo" and all their future bookings. The owner said that he would NEVER hold an event in our city again. My, my, what a good job a "bunch of housewives" did.

We have tackled the problem of Roadside Animal Sales (see roadside sales) in our city. We are pleased to say that in April of 2009, the Memphis City Council passed Ordinance 5300 that bans the roadside sale of animals in Memphis. One Councilman, Jim Strickland, sponsored the ordinance and we must add that he was extremely receptive to the idea of stoping roadside sales. What a great Councilman, it took only one meeting. We also approached County Commissioner Mike Carpenter who sponsored a roadside animal sales ban in Shelby County. The ordinance passed all three readings and is now law. Again, great Commissioner, one meeting and he took action.

We attend court cases. Most animal cases in our city are charged and appear in Division 14, Judge Larry Potter. We check the docket of the Court Division and are a presence in the courtroom. We go, every Monday. We document the cases, judgements, fines and penalities. We show support for the Animal Control Officers. We represent the animals. The prosecutor has thanked us, saying our presence makes a difference. Judge Potter, a fair and great judge, if warranted applies the harshest sentence he is allowed and many times rules that the offenders can never own animals again.

As these events have happened we have met many wonderful, caring citizens who not only want better treatment of animals but also a better, more progressive city. Our group has now expanded to include a wonderful small amount of people, all workers. We meet when there is something that needs action, we keep in touch with emails and phone calls and we work on each project. We help each other with advice and support. If someone notices something, a pet shop selling puppy mill dogs, roadside animal sellers we all get to work and figure out what we can do. And we don't stop, no matter how long it takes, no matter how discouraging.

We are action. We don't sit and talk about what needs to be done and how horrible it is.

We talk about what needs to be done and then DO IT!







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