pet news

JANUARY 13, 2016

Documentary on puppy-mill industry debuts in Arizona

TEMPE – The Arizona Animal Welfare League and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL & SPCA) is helping call attention to the unethical practices of “puppy mills” as a new undercover documentary debuts in Arizona. The film premieres in Tempe, as the City Council prepares to consider a law banning the sale of puppy-mill puppies, similar to the one passed in Phoenix.

The documentary, Dog by Dog, which premieres this coming Wednesday with a free screening, shows the realities of the puppy-mill industry. A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs, which are often subjected to inhumane and overcrowded conditions.

In contrast, there are many people trying to save these animals one by one, or dog by dog. AAWL & SPCA, based in Phoenix, has take in dozens of dogs rescued from puppy mills and gone to extraordinary lengths to care for and rehabilitate them so they can find loving homes.

The film is being shhown at Harkins Valley Art Theater in Tempe.

For more information about AAWL & SPCA, go to, or call 602- 273-6852.

Bertha’s Story

In her four years of life before arriving at AAWL & SPCA, Bertha never knew what it was like to feel grass under her feet, play with people and other animals, or snuggle with a caring family. On top of that, she never had basic medical treatment for, among many things, her numerous and painful ear infections.

Bertha, Photo by Arizona animal Welfare League & SPCA

Due to her years of neglect and her untreated ear infections, Bertha's ear canals were swollen shut with damaged tissue and she was in desperate need of a specialized surgery called a "TECA" (Total Ear Canal Ablation) and bulla osteotomy. The TECA was to remove the dead tissue, debris, relieve the pain and put an end to the frequent ear infections she suffered as a result of her allergies and previous lack of care. It was also a complicated and expensive surgery that required a special surgeon to come in.

The surgery was a very successful, but lengthy (five hour), procedure. Bertha had a rough recovery period after surgery and she has some facial paralysis, which is a common side effect of her surgery. Because Bertha's ear canals are cleaned and closed, it rendered her permanently deaf, but she is free of the constant ear pain.

Despite Bertha's rough start at life and the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of breeders, she continues to amaze us every day with her loving, trusting, and friendly nature. Bertha is a true testament to the unconditional love that draws us to our canine companions.