Meet Baby, a three legged little dog that was rescued from a puppy mill at age 9 when she was too old to breed any longer and was condemned to death. Her leg was amputated because the wiring in her cage caused infections that could not heal. Her vocal chords were surgically removed because the breeder didn't want to hear the dogs crying from their cages.
Baby's story is beautifully told by her owner Jana Kohl in the book entitled: A Rare Breed of Love. Baby is the national spokesdog for abused puppy mill dogs throughout the USA. She is on a multi-city road tour to promote the awareness of puppy mills and she has a bill that has recently been submitted named after her: H.R. 6949/S. 3519 or Baby's Bill. You can go here to sign the petition to encourage the passage of this bill into committee where it will eventually become law.
Next, view the website for Baby. Take a look at Jana's video and see Baby - she's an absolute doll and seems so incredibly happy. Hard to believe she lived this life and wasn't ever considered anything more than a profit-machine.
CHICAGO -- Jana Kohl is out for a stroll with her white poodle, Baby, when two women approach, wanting to know more about the unique-looking dog.
Baby, Kohl explains, was rescued from a California puppy mill, where confinement caused her leg to become damaged, and later amputated.
"Aw, she was abused?" one of the strangers asked Kohl.
"She was,” Kohl said. “See, she’s missing her front leg."
"Oh, what happened to you? What happened?" asked the second woman.
"She was locked in a cage for about nine years and used as a breeding dog at a puppy mill,” Kohl said. “And they also cut out her vocal chords, so she can’t bark."
Baby's story is one Kohl hopes to take all the way to Washington lobbyists and lawmakers, in an effort to halt the often deplorable conditions at many puppy mills.
Their crusade has produced a new book, "A Rare Breed of Love," which features Baby's story and her ever-expansive list of politicians and celebrities she has met and touched.
Before adopting Baby, who is approximately 14-years-old, Kohl was shopping for a dog on the Internet. But when her friends warned her about he horrors of puppy mills, Kohl changed her mind.
She says she had known nothing about the breeding factories, until the owner of one in Texas told her she could inspect his facility.
The owner had bragged to Kohl that his puppy mill was a beautiful place that treated dogs very well. She arrived there, however, to find the inhumane conditions shocking.
"I was horrified, because it was like a house of horrors," Kohl said. "It was like a concentration camp for dogs.
"The dogs go literally insane. They spin in circles, they self-mutilate. They’re never allowed out to walk on the grass or to see the sun. Many of them are diseased and dying, and they’re still forced to breed."
Along with losing a leg and her vocal chords, Baby was reduced to a mere number with a tattoo of "94," which remains inked inside her ear.
A southern California resident, Kohl was recently back in the Windy City, her hometown, taking a much-needed break from her and Baby's book tour.
After letting Baby run free for a time during their walk -- at least as much as a three-legged, 14-year-old dog can -- Kohl snatched Baby up.
"Time for the carrying," she said.
Kohl says she hopes to eventually help shut down all puppy mills. Meanwhile, she is urging potential dog owners to adopt instead of buying them in stores or on the Web.
Kohl and Baby have been to Capitol Hill, gathering support for "Baby's Bill," which was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives.
The legislation, formally known as the "Puppy Uniform Protection Statute" (PUPS), was introduced as H.R. 6949 by Reps. Sam Farr (D-Calif,), Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Terry Everett (R-Ala.). A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
"Baby's Bill is really just a baby step," Kohl said. "It would mandate that these dogs be allowed out of their cages for exercise. For 60 minutes of exercise twice a day. I guess 30 minutes, two times a day."
The legislation will close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that allows thousands of commercial breeders to go unregulated. The bill stipulates that all dog breeders who sell more than 50 puppies per year directly to the public will be federally licensed and inspected.
Additionally, dogs at commercial breeding facilities must be given the opportunity to exercise for 60 minutes a day.
"Dogs are not livestock, and they shouldn't be treated like a cash crop," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The Humane Society of the United States and president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
"We are grateful to federal lawmakers for introducing this legislation to curb the worst abuses in the puppy mill industry. It's a much-needed upgrade to our nation's laws that protect man's best friend from cruelty and harm."
The bill will not affect small breeders and hobby breeders who sell fewer than 50 dogs per year directly to the public, but is crafted to cover only the largest commercial breeding facilities.
And this isn't the only piece of literature Kohl and Baby have been working on recently.
"I am confident that this bill will not hinder the operation of reputable and responsible breeders," said Rep. Gerlach. "Instead, it is aimed at protecting dogs and making individuals who are motivated by profit over the fair and humane treatment of dogs accountable for their actions."
Their new book “Baby: A Rare Breed Of Love" details the adventurous journey of Kohl and Baby, during which they have delivered their message to countless celebrities, from Hollywood stars to high profile politicians.
The book includes photos of Baby with the likes of Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan, Judge Judy, Steven Tyler -- seen licking Baby’s face -- and Sen. Barack Obama.
That photo of Baby with the Democratic presidential candidate is one of Kohl’s favorites, she says.
"It’s a gorgeous photo, right in front of the Lincoln Memorial," she said. "He looks very presidential. Baby looks fabulous. That was very exciting."
Other merchandise has also been created to help spread Baby's message. One item available is a replica, three-legged, plush (stuffed animal) Baby –- yes -- with a tattooed ear.
All proceeds will go toward the Stop Puppy Mills Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States.
The mission has also engaged singer and composer Bryan Harrell who tells Baby’s story through music, on the book’s companion CD. Back at Kohl’s apartment, Harrell plays his guitar and sings one of his tunes from the CD, "My Forever Home."
"My forever home, it’s waiting just for me," Harrell sings. "A warm, and kind and happy place, where I’m supposed to be."
After spending the summer in a different city every other day on her book tour, Kohl was preparing to hit the road again. There will be an additional two months of promotion, thanks to overwhelming requests for more appearances by Kohl and Baby.
The book is chocked with fabulous photos of Baby and her experiences, ranging from whirlwind to routine -- although what is routine for other dogs is not necessarily so for Baby, considering her nine years of confinement.
For instance, one picture shows her sniffing a bed of flowers, which the photo caption explains she was doing for the very first time in her life.
During Kohl’s downtown walk with Baby, a teenage girl approaches them, having overheard Kohl talking to the two women that stopped them earlier.
"Too many people are buying dogs from these mean places where Baby was abused," Kohl tells the girl, eager to repeat Baby’s story. When the girl tells Kohl that she has adopted a dog, Kohl smiles widely and gives the girl a high five.
With plenty of work behind them, Kohl says she and Baby still have lots more to do.
"As long as I know there’s one puppy mill in operation, I’m not going to feel like I’ve done my job," she said.
For more information about Kohl’s book and other Baby merchandise, and the HSUS' Stop Puppy Mills campaign, visit ARareBreedOfLove.com and StopPuppyMills.org.
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This story was updated, from the original version, by Pet Pulse staff on Friday, Sept. 17, 5 p.m. EST, to include an additional interview with Jana Kohl, who provided more insight into her and Baby's legislative work in Washington, D.C.