MA Greyhound Tracks Closing!

January 4, 2010
Tom Greyhound Friends

Tom, one of Greyhound Friends' adoptables.

Back in 2008, Berkshire Humane Society encouraged MA citizens to Vote Yes on 3 and phase out greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2010.  The state voted and it was a win for the dogs!

Now 2010 is here and the racing tracks are closing!  This means lots of these amazing pups are in need of new homes.

Greyhound Friends, located in Hopkinton, has many former racers up for adoption, including some from the most recently closed track, Raynham. You can see their adoptable pups here.  If you’re not in MA, you can find other organizations with adoptables through AdoptAGreyhound .  If you’d like to help out in a way that doesn’t involve walking or poop-scooping, check out Greyhound Friends’ wish list (Scroll all the way to the bottom for the list).

Thank you, Massachusetts, for helping to end greyhound racing and bringing these wonderful dogs into new homes.


BHS President John Perreault on Internet Pups and Puppy Mills

December 14, 2009

Puppy Mill article

Click here to read the article on The Berkshire Eagle's site!

John Perreault, BHS President, contributed to a fantastic and much-needed article in today’s Berkshire Eagle.

The article is about puppy mills and the recent surge of internet puppy sales.

Click here to read it.

For tips on how to find a happy, healthy pup, check out our previous blog, “The Top 4 Simple Steps Anyone Can Take to Ensure Their Puppy Comes From a Safe, Responsible Source!”

Puppy Mills in the News

October 13, 2009
Click here to watch the Fox News video on the HSUS' puppy mill rescue.

Click here to watch the Fox News video on the HSUS' puppy mill rescue and read more about it.

Remember our posts on puppy mills and internet breeders?

The Humane Society of the United States recently rescued nearly 90 dogs from an Arkansas puppy mill. This puppy mill was selling dogs over the internet.

Click the photo to read more from Fox News and watch their news video!

This is no small problem, there are over 15,000 puppy mills in the U.S. and they are producing over 4 million pups a year. They’ve been making the news a lot lately as more and more are uncovered.

For more info on how you can find a happy, healthy pup and avoid being deceived by a puppy mill, check out our previous post:

The Top 4 Simple Steps Anyone Can Take to Ensure Their Puppy Comes From a Safe, Reliable Source

Playing With Food: Feeding Enrichments for Dogs

January 8, 2009

Most animals (especially those in the wild) spend an awful lot of time and energy working for their food: hunting, foraging, rooting, pecking,traveling, etc.  All these actions are part of feeding behaviors and are an important part of animals’ lives, on both physical and mental levels.

For domestic animals such as dogs, food in a plain ol’ dish just doesn’t offer much in the way of mental stimulation or physical challenge.  (It also takes about 30 seconds to eat if they’re really excited about it.)


Some feeding toys we use.

That’s why we give our dogs Feeding Enrichment Toys!

Feeding enrichments help to give animals something to do and think about while they eat.  They encourage the dogs to use their minds and bodies.  They can also help food-gulpers to slow down!

To use them,we fill them with one (or more) of the following:

  • A dog’s whole meal
  • Small, dry treats
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chicken meal
  • Wet dog food

Check out our shelters dogs demonstrating the use of our feeding enrichments!

All the dogs featured in the video are available for adoption.  For more information on them, visit the shelter’s dog page!

PS: These toys are great for dogs at home, too!  They are available for purchase  at the shelter, or can be found in some local pet supply stores or online.

PPS: Since we use our feeding toys so much, they get lots of wear and tear and need to be regularly replaced.  We can always get LOTS of use from donations of large size Kongs, Twist N’ Treats, Buster Cubes, and Atomic Treatballs/Molecuballs!

Don’t trust your mouse to find a puppy: Part II

December 31, 2008

If you haven’t already read Part I of this post, we think it’s pretty important!  Scroll down to the post below and check it out first!


The Top 4 Simple Steps

Anyone Can Take to Ensure
Their Puppy Comes From a Safe,
Responsible Source!

#1. Spend Time With the Puppy

By far the most important action anybody looking for a pup can take!  This provides a chance to assess the pup’s temperament and health.  (Would you want to take home a puppy that cowers in fear of people or is carrying a virus?)
A responsible breeder will insist you do this, too!

#2.  Personally See the Puppy’s Environment

The only way to know for sure where a puppy comes from is to visit.

The only way to know for sure where a puppy comes from is to visit.

This is the best way to make sure the puppy is not coming from a puppy mill or irresponsible breeder. Good breeders will allow visitors to see where the puppies are raised and meet the parents.  Photos are not sufficient, as they don’t always show the truth.

#3.  Meet the Breeder and Ask Questions

A good breeder will require buyers to meet with them.  They should be happy to answer your questions and provide sufficient answers.  They should be knowledgeable about their breed.  A responsible breeder will ask potential buyers lots of questions, too.

#4.  Get Educated!

Learn about dog ownership and what to look for in a good breeder before you set out to get a puppy.  Learn about what justifies puppy prices and what does not.  A high price tag by no means indicates the quality of the breeder.


While we wrote these steps with breeders in mind, they can apply to any place a puppy can come from, including shelters and rescues!

Following these simple steps is a great way to ensure a puppy comes from a responsible, reputable source that promotes positive animal welfare!

Here are a few links to get started on Step #4!

Humane Society of the United States’ Puppy Buying Tips

ASPCA’s Responsible Breeding Statement

Don’t trust your mouse to find a puppy: Part I

December 19, 2008

A rapidly growing recent trend has been to buy puppies over the internet.  But did you know…

Buying a Puppy Over the Internet…

1. Eliminates the (crucially important) opportunity to meet the puppy and find out about his personality, health, and behavior. Will the puppy be very shy and under-socialized?  Sick? There’s no way to tell unless you meet him.

2.  Eliminates the opportunity to check out the environment the puppy was raised in. Is it clean?  Are the dogs well taken care of, with clean water and proper food?  Is it a puppy mill?  The only way to know for sure is to visit, photos do not always show the truth.

3.  Eliminates the opportunity to meet and establish good communication with the breeder. The internet creates anonymity and distance for the breeder.  This can make them much more difficult to contact.   They may be unreachable when a buyer has questions about their pup’s health, behavior, or past.  Good communication is essential to a responsible puppy purchase!

4.  Increases the likelihood that a person will be scammed, deceived, or otherwise misinformed. Nothing can be verified without meeting the puppy, talking to the breeder, and visiting the premises.

What This Means for Families and Puppies

It’s important for  people to be educated about the who’s, where’s, and why’s of puppy purchasing!

Well-meaning people unknowingly buy puppies over the internet from disreputable breeders and puppy mills.

While professional websites may make the people behind them seem like responsible breeders, this is usually not the case.  Internet breeders are often “puppy mills” in disguise.  People are often warned that pet shop puppies can be from puppy mills, but many fewer have heard of this happening with internet puppy purchases.
(If you’ve never heard of puppy mills, you can read more about them on the ASPCA’s website, here:

Because of poor living conditions and irresponsible breeding practices, the puppies are often sick, temperamentally unsound, and/or are especially prone to genetic disorders.

This can be both emotionally and financially expensive for the families who buy them.

Additionally, buying puppies over the internet directly supports puppy mills, irresponsible breeding practices, and poor animal welfare.

This problem is so significant that Oprah did a special on it!

One Family’s Story

Below is the story of a local woman, Bridgette, and her family, who bought a puppy over the internet.

” We were getting a dog and the children were thrilled to be able to choose their own dog. We found a website that was open advertising for dog breeders. The site seemed to be informative as to whether or not the puppies were purebred. Our puppy was to come with papers stating that she was a full English Mastiff.
The day came to go pick up our newest member of the family, arriving by plane. We made a big deal about bringing our 3 sons to the airport to see the plane land. On Labor Day our little girl was lovingly flown to us from [a farm in Ohio].  The puppy was adorable and everyone loved her at first sight. The ride home was uneventful, as were the next ten weeks. Then, our puppy Mocha, at 18 weeks old, was really sick.
It started with a few blisters on her lips.  It progressed to swollen glands in her neck, fever , lethargy, a rash on stomach, and then the few blisters around her mouth covered her mouth and were making it hard for her to eat.  Then, she didn’t want to drink either.  I took her to my regular vet in the morning with just the rash on the belly and the few blisters. They thought it was a spider bite reaction. I knew differently.  Later that night a different vet confirmed that Mocha had a rare auto-immune disorder called Puppy Strangles, or juvenile cellulitis. She would be permanently scarred on the face.  She needed aggressive corticosteroid and antibiotic treatment. This was a huge financial surprise as well as being very scary.
Mocha was treated and released to us after 2 days. Her recovery took a long time with pharmaceutical treatment and subsequent vet visits.  At this point we found out that Mocha definitely was not a full Mastiff.  Her treatment was very expensive as were her bogus papers. Later on we would know that she has little to no Mastiff in her. She truly is the best dog ever, and she really bonded with everyone in our family while she was so sick. We love her, but we easily could have adopted a mixed breed dog from the shelter. Her breeder showed some concern over the cellulitis, but offered nothing when confronted with the idea that Mocha was not a Mastiff.
All in all this was a valuable lesson learned. The internet is a resource, a wealth of information, but also a perfect smokescreen. The anonymity of an internet transaction makes it easy for anyone to be a fraud.  Be sure to be informed.”
Brigette F.Cornwell

Why are we addressing this issue?

1.  We care about the welfare of people and of dogs! Most of our dogs are juveniles and adults.  While we think there are many advantages to adopting dogs of these age groups, we understand that some people are really set on getting a puppy.  We want to make sure people are educated and informed when they look for a puppy, so they can make smart choices! Where a person chooses a puppy from is a very important decision. It can and does have a tremendous impact on animal welfare. It can also greatly affect a family’s finances and emotions.

2. These pups end up at animal shelters. When a family can no longer keep a puppy they bought over the internet, whether for financial or behavioral reasons, the “breeder” often fails to keep their promise of taking the pup back.  Phone calls and e-mails may go unanswered.

Stay tuned for Part II of this post, which will review a few easy steps anyone can take to ensure that their next puppy is coming from a responsible source that promotes positive animal welfare!

Vote YES on 3!

November 3, 2008

The staff at the Berkshire Humane Society encourages you to vote for the dogs and vote YES on 3 tomorrow!

Question 3 on the MA ballot is the Greyhound Protection Act.  If passed, it would phase out Greyhound racing in Massachusetts by 2010.

Here is The Committee to Protect Dogs‘ video addressing this issue:

This is a very important vote for the greyhounds! To learn more about Greyhound racing and the lives of the dogs in the industry, visit the website of The Committee to Protect Dogs at

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