The Bark Heard Around the World goal: to open eyes

Loujane Johns

The phrase, “The shot heard ‘round the world” has been used since the American Revolution to define events resulting in world changes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson used the phrase in his poem about the beginning of the war at the Battle of Concord.  The same words were used in headlines to announce the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which marked the start of WWI. The sports world has often borrowed the phrase to commemorate amazing wins in baseball, golf and basketball.

“The Bark Heard Around the World” is the name chosen for an event on May 17 at the Yates County Fairgrounds, which organizers hope will educate the public and bring attention to “puppy mills” and the mistreatment of animals. 

The event was set up by Puppymill Rescue, a national group with branches in many states.  Eileen Franco, Cheryl Rogers and another advocate who wished to remain anonymous are handling most of the arrangement. Supporters of the Beverly Animal Shelter  in Waterloo have also been involved.

Yates County was chosen for the event, Franco said, because of the growing number of dog kennels in the county.  “People don’t know what is going on in their own back yard,” Franco stated.

Kennels (often referred to as “puppymills”) have been a strongly-opposed venture in the last few years in Yates County. The owners are required to seek permits from town and the county planning boards.  In most cases the permission is given because the local governments are only dealing with proper size and land use.  The actual oversight of animal care regulations is in the hands of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

When asked how many people are expected, Franco said, “It’s a shot in the dark to guess, but we are thinking a thousand.”  

A full day of activities is planned with speakers from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., information booths, merchandise sales and entertainment will be available.

One of the more unusual groups of guests will be members of RescueInk.  Typical members of the tough-looking group are big, extensively tattooed and dressed in leather. In their spare time they rescue abandoned and abused animals and find them homes. Members also go into the community to educate all ages about animals and their care.

Franklin McMillan, DVM from Utah is author of books on animal mental health and  is working on a mill dog study.  He was also involved in work on the the Michael Vick dog fighting investigation.

Dana Beck Harder, who gave a rescued dog an exciting life traveling around the cities of Europe will talk.  Dana Beck Harder, whose husband plays professional hockey in Europe, works at a New York City literary agency, specializing in non-fiction.  Her clients include: Monica Seles, Donald Trump, Yoko Ono, Larry King and Charlie Daniels.

Original artwork will be on display from a touring exhibit, “Puppies are Biodegradable.” 

The exhibit was sparked by the concern for puppymills in Lancaster County, Pa. The exhibit website ( www.puppiesarebiodegradable.com) shows paintings, drawings, soft sculpture and variations on the old Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs.

Carl Darby, DVM, will discuss mill dog health issues.  Gail Furst of K-9 Healers of Branchport will conduct the canine good citizen test for a minimal fee.  Furst specializes in pet therapy training and dog obedience.

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. with bagpipe music. A Friday night candlelight vigil will also be held.  Pets are welcome to attend. Pups available for adoption can be brought to the event, but there will be no on-site adoptions. 

Franco said all the special guests are coming on their own and are not being paid.  “The money we collect goes to dogs- not to people.”  For more information visit www.puppymillrescue.com/bark.htm