Andy Nibley is the Director of the new documentary, Madonna of the Mills, running August 24th on HBO.  Author, Sunbear Squad Board Member and Editor Emeritus of Dogster’s own For Love of Dog Blog caught up with Andy for this interview.


Andy: The idea behind the film was really to show a couple of things. One, that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Laura is an office manager for a dentist on Staten Island and yet she, on weekends on her own nickel, rents vans and drives down to Amish country and picks up somewhere between 35 and 50 of these puppy mill dogs who have spent their entire lives in cages the size of dishwashers. They’ve never been petted. They’ve never been walked. They’ve never been bathed and she’s saved over 2000 dogs and she’s done that all on her own.  So that was one thing.

The other was what happens when you spare a life? So I follow four of the dogs that get saved and you see them rehabilitated from the point where they couldn’t walk because they’ve spent their lives in cages. There’s a nice story about an autistic boy and a golden retriever and one about a childless couple who end up with a cocker spaniel. It really shows these dogs can make wonderful pets if they’re adopted.

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Madonna of the Mills — Catch this documentary on HBO!!!

Posted on August 19th, 2011 by admin

Set aside the evening of August 24th for the HBO unveiling of the insightful documentary “Madonna of the Mills.” This is a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of revealing both aspects — the rescuers and those who run the mills. Director Andy Nibley and his team have crafted a film that needs to be seen by every American.

You’ll remember the enchanting determination of Laura, the woman who, with her family and friends, has rescued over 2000 dogs from the living hell of puppy mills. You won’t be able to look at the misleading pictures of seemingly gentle Amish country folk without remembering the ugly truth of the torture of puppy mills behind the barn doors. Of course, you’ll remember the dogs who Laura and her friends help escape. But what I hope stays with you and I know will stay with me is the casual craven disregard for the animals that is so ubiquitous among the puppy millers and their defenders.

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Book Review — Saving Gracie

Posted on July 20th, 2010 by admin

Saving Gracie is more than a well-written, compelling book that should be in every animal lover’s  collection.  This is the book that makes the case against puppy mills and their supporters in a clear voice. Moreover, if I had the money I would make sure to give a copy of Saving Gracie to every legislator in the US.

Author Carol Bradley has written a rare book. It is an important book that is also a good read. The history and information in Saving Gracie makes the case against puppy mills while the writing carries you along like a good crime novel.

This book is a slap in the face to those who deny the absolute evil of puppy mills. I defy someone to read even the first few chapters of Saving Gracie and walk away with any ability to defend puppy mills for any reason. Bradley has woven a strong story line around some very painful facts and the figures to support them.

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Do USDA inspectors get paid off by puppy millers or are they just so darn lazy and don’t care that thousands of dogs are being tortured and murdered by these evil humans? Or maybe the USDA inspectors don’t care that every puppy mill dog sold through pet shops means the potential for thousands of dollars in unnecessary vet bills and years of heart ache for unsuspecting buyers.

Whatever the reason, its time for MAJOR overhaul of the USDA and the laws and regulations governing puppy mills. We have got to start treating these hells as the societal cancers they are. A recent ABC report shed much needed light on how USDA inspectors take public dollars to do a job they seem incapable of doing.

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Humane Society Launches National ‘Puppy Mill’ Tip Line

Posted on December 7th, 2009 by admin


Great news from the Humane Society Of The United States, they have started a tipline to help dogs being abused at puppy mills. While there have been tiplines for dog fighting for a while there was not one specifically dedicated to report puppy mill abuse.

Dogs Don’t Deserve Lifetime Confinement for the Sake of Profit

(Dec. 3, 2009) – To help end the misery associated with large-scale dog breeding operations known as “puppy mills,” The Humane Society of the United States has launched a national telephone tip line and encourages callers to report suspected cruelty or unlawful activities involving such breeding facilities.

The hotline, 1-877-MILL-TIP, is available to anyone with information of a possible crime involving puppy mills – but particularly welcomes information from those with “insider” knowledge, or from law enforcement officials who might be aware of such operations.

“Puppy mills are a national scourge,” said Justin Scally, manager of The HSUS’ Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force. “Hundreds of thousands of dogs across the country are trapped in constant confinement their entire lives, producing puppies to profit the puppy mill owner. This tip line will be a vital tool to help free these dogs from a life of abuse.”

The Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force investigates puppy mills and works with law enforcement, animal shelters and other agencies to stop abuse and to ensure enforcement of existing laws. The task force also provides expert guidance to local, state and federal agencies in the prosecution of animal abusers as it relates to the operation of puppy mills. Since its launch in June, the Task Force has assisted in the rescue of more than 1,200 dogs and puppies from abusive situations at puppy mills.

The announcement of the new national tip line comes during The HSUS’ 3rd annual Puppy Mill Action Week, which is dedicated to educating the public about how to find a new best friend without supporting the abusive puppy mill industry. Puppy Mill Action Week runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, at the start of the peak holiday puppy buying season.

The Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force is named in honor of Kenneth and Lillian Wilde, who donated a portion of their estate to The HSUS to help dogs. Thanks to the Wildes, The HSUS was able to expand the organization’s capacity to rescue more animals from the inhumane puppy mill industry and to raise national awareness of the pain and tragedy that can lurk behind the inviting visage of a young puppy for unwary buyers.

Puppy Mill Facts

· Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles.

· Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter, breed rescue group, or visit a breeder’s home and meet the puppy’s parents.
· The HSUS supports compassionate breeders who provide for their dog’s physical and mental well-being. Quality breeders don’t sell puppies through pet stores or over the Internet.

Oprah’s show on puppy mills aired back in April 2008 making the public, most for the first time, aware of what a puppy mill is.  Although I knew you shouldn’t buy pets from a pet store I really had no idea the reason behind it, I didn’t know what a puppy mill was.   I could never have imagined the horrific conditions and horrible abuse these dogs suffer without seeing it with my own eyes.

As hard as the Oprah show was for people to watch once the puppy mills ‘dirty little secret’ was out there was no going back. Thankfully since the show there have been raids of abusive puppy mills, changes in legislation, and new laws.  While we still have a long way to go, each step like the new tipline,  gets us a little closer to hopefully one day ending puppy mills altogether.