The Darkest Evening of the Year, Dean Koontz talks
about puppy mills -- thus exposing a whole different audience to "the
cruelty with which breeder dogs are treated." Mr. Koontz was kind enough
to put together a statement for us, incorporating some thoughts from the
Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project is engaged in an essential campaign for justice
and compassion. The story of the cruelty with which breeder dogs are treated in
puppy mills is one of the darkest chapters in the history of human arrogance
As anyone knows
who has loved a good dog, each has its own personality, its own
soul. Only the morally blind can spend time with dogs yet reject
the propositions that they are intelligent and that they have complex inner
lives. To force these breeder dogs to live their entire lives in cramped cages,
to leave their infections untreated until they go blind or go deaf or even
perish, to leave them filthy and covered with sores, to feed them poorly and to
give them no moment of affection requires a heart so indifferent to suffering
that it would surely be capable of treating human beings with the same cruelty.
Dogs share a bond
with us that is thousands of years old and that is unique in the animal
kingdom. Of all creatures of field and forest, only the dog has been known to
die to protect its human companion. When archeologists excavated the volcanic
ash that buried Pompeii in 79 A.D., they discovered a dog lying across a child,
trying to protect it from the cataclysm. The dog's inscribed collar told how he
had three times saved the life of his owner, Serverinus.
Dogs offer us a
degree of loyalty and a pure love of which few human beings are capable. Dogs
love us more than they love themselves; among human beings, that would be
considered a sign of sainthood. They are not livestock any more than we are. To
tolerate the extreme suffering and the blighted lives of breeder dogs, you have
to believe that you will never be asked to account for the actions of your
I believe that dogs
have a spiritual purpose. The opportunity to love a dog and to treat it with
kindness is an opportunity for a lost and selfish human heart to be redeemed.
They are powerless and innocent, and it is how we treat the humblest among us
that surely determines the fate of our souls.
No society can claim
to be compassionate or enlightened if it tolerates puppy mills in any form.
Please Note: We
invite you to download Mr. Koontz's "Printer Friendly" original
statement (in pdf) to print and share. You will need Acrobat Reader, but if you
don't already have it installed, you can get it for free from the link