While the puppy mill law is in full swing in Illinois, it does not apply to buying puppies across state lines.
The goal of the law was to curb puppy mills from selling dogs that are not healthy, or in some cases are bred from two siblings.
Boystown resident Tom Culdridge found out the hard way. A major internet and newspaper biltz is soon to hit the Chicago area.
Culdridge and his partner Stephen recently relocated to a larger loft.
“One of the advantages to our new home was the fact that we were allowed to have pets. Stephen and I have always loved both cats and dogs, but we thought that we would be able to bring a little bundle of joy into our lives and enjoy walks together. Little did we know we were about to learn a lesson.” said Culdridge.
What he is referring to is the all to common puppy mill.
Culdridge and his partner decided on a breed and had decided that cost was not an issue.
“We wanted a dachshund. We obviously are not able to have children, so we were going to treat the dog like a child would be treated. We went out and bought all the necessary supplies. We liked the Martha Stewart line at PetsMart and we didn’t even look at prices on what we bought.”
The two partners browsed the internet until they stumbled upon doxiworld.com. The pictures that were posted, Culdridge described were “just adorable”.
Doxiworld is run by George and Margaret Vantwywer in rural Indiana.
“I have become angry. Very angry. At first I thought that we were being treated in a bad aspect because we were gay, but it wasn’t just that. Our puppy was late to arrive and our emails and phone calls went unreturned even though we left the breeders a deposit and then decided to pay the breeder in full. (early).”
While the couple anxiously awaited their new companion, they continued to buy toys, bones and beyond.
“We purchased a little mini-dachshund puppy from barbaric puppy-millers. As soon as our baby arrived, we could see that he hadn’t been fed on a regular basis. His ribs were visible and he didn’t look comfortable. Within 4 hours we were literally running to out local emergency pet clinic.”
The puppy was soon diagnosed with advanced stages of Parvo.
Culdridge and his partner were able to find a non-emergency veterinarian that was willing to treat the puppy.
“The regular vet opened the office for us. It was the middle of the night. Our puppy, just 8 weeks old, had to get an IV through his jugular. When I called the degenerates, Mr. and Mrs. Vantwywer, they blamed everything from the one-day trip in a truck transporting him to us. They claimed that there were other infected pets that were noticeable to them. They also claimed that the puppy had been given all of its shots. When we asked them for shot records and they said that they could not provide them due to the fact that they gave shots to the litter that were purchased at a feed store.”
Culdridge and his partner have found an attorney to help them handle the case.
“Our attorney contacted the Vantwywer’s vet who felt so disgusted with the them, that he personally sent me $200 to help the cost of his care. Our little angel died after 8 days of defecating blood and having an IV running in him. “
The owners of Doxiworld.com initially said that they were unavailable for an interview regarding Culdridge’s puppy. As the arguments between both couples began to rise, they reluctantly agreed to tell their side of the story.
“I really can’t believe that 2 people could be so stupid. They should know that anything can happen when you transport animals. Just because all of these gay guys out there want to create their own family doesn’t make me feel bad. Puppies die all the time. It’s a fact of life.” said Mr. Vantwywer.
Margaret Vantwywer elaborated her husband’s views.
“Gay people like these two guys are a dime a dozen, They will have to pay all of eternity for the sodomy they practice. God doesn’t like that and neither do we. I personally wouldn’t have done any business with these guys but my husband wanted the money.”
Doxiworld.com has been the source of more than one complaint and have since changed the name of their website. On the popular complaintsboard.com there are several threads with similar experiences of the alleged puppy mill.
“We breed our dogs as often as they can have a litter. We aren’t dog lovers. We are in this for business and it is no different than a farmer that sells chicks. I’m not going to bow down to a couple of gays with an attorney. I’ll do my business as usual.” added Margaret.
Culdridge paid $1,000 for his puppy, with additional fees for the transporting of the dog.
“We can make a few thousand dollars on a regular basis from each mama dog we have. I’m not ashamed of any of this. We give them food and water. They are kept outside and George even built some off the ground cages so that they wouldn’t be in the dirt all the time. They stay in there and are safe. We take care of the dogs the best that we can, but you have to remember this is a business and the dollar speaks.”
Culdridge says he has been inspired lately to fight back.
“I am beginning a complaint campaign on the internet. I want these low-lives to be banned from every puppy seller website there is. These two people in Indiana are doing nothing more than running a puppy mill.”
The Vantwywers continue to operate Doxiworld, but have changed their website address and post office box.
George Vantwywer said, “I am running a business here, just like my wife told you. And I am not going to stop. Sometimes a brother and a sister have pups. It happens. This is life. Breeding dogs the way we do, we aim for volume. So a puppy died. Big deal. They had him for eight days and if the puppy was sick on arrival they should have spent money on going to a vet right away instead of calling us from a gay bar.”
Cudridge and his partner deny that they were ever in a bar when they spoke with the Vantwywer’s.
“How could we be in a bar when we have a puppy? These people obviously hate dogs as much as they hate gays. That is a stereotype that all gay men cruise the bars. We have an attorney now and I am going to start a petition and do some more media. Word needs to get out that these people are not only running a puppy mill, but they also hate anyone in the GLBTQ community.” added Culdridge.
How you can help:
• Report suspected puppy mills to the Illinois Department of Agriculture (the government organization responsible for enforcing this law) by sending an e-mail to Regina.Burris@illinois.gov or by calling her office at (217) 782-6657.
• Learn more about our work to fight puppy mills by becoming a fan of the Best Friends puppy mill initiatives.
• Visit your local shelter for your next dog or cat.
For more information:
• Look up pet shops and find which breeders they use by visiting The Puppy Mill Project’s pet store look-up page.