The Oprah Winfrey Show courtesy Harpo Productions
dedicated Friday's show to her beloved and recently deceased Cocker Spaniel, Sophie. After watching Lisa Ling's story about the cruel and unthinkable conditions at puppy mills, she proclaimed, "I am a changed woman." Oprah added that she would never get a pet through a store or breeder again, and would only adopt. Winfrey's producers played a moving tribute to Sophie at the top of the show, reducing the host to tears as she cut away to commercial. A billboard in her neighborhood that begged Oprah to please do a show on puppy mills was the true catalyst behind the heart-tugging episode. Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania teamed up with Ling to bring awful mill conditions to light. Some of the unbearable facts: 99 percent of pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills. Most female puppies spend their whole lives in cramped wire cages breeding twice a year for as many as eight years. (And some never getting to walk on grass or touch the grounds they live on.) Many dogs that MLAR rescue are about to be shot - yes, shot - because they can no longer breed, or are too sick to sell. In the short time that Smith and Lisa surveyed puppy mills, they rescued 39 dogs, yet had to leave hundreds behind. Currently, puppy mills are not illegal. - Erin Fox
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