You'll have to excuse me, I'm not completely up to date on this situation, nor is it about rabbits...  However, it is about a breeder being targeted by Animal Rights Activists.  And that's enough for me to have an opinion on this.

First and foremost, this whole situation is thanks to Eric Bellows, who seems to be in the same line of work/thought as Cesar Millan..   Which is all well and good, you can keep as many dogs as you are able to properly care for.  He saw some dogs, didn't like how they were cared for, took pictures and rallied the villagers.  Cue pitch forks and torches!!

And pitchforks and torches have come out, the villagers are indeed rallying - there are animal rights advocates posting all over the internet concerning this, with the majority of them being the typical "breeders are evil, all breeders should die, let's go steal these dogs and burn down their children!!!" type, irrational and jumping on every comment.  Comment anything at all, in any way supporting the kennel OR simply stating an opinion about their conduct, and you are instantly an evil breeder, with no compassion, no heart, no soul, who should be stabbed and peed on.  I was guilty of stating that taking the dogs would be theft, and that "for the animals" does not make you exempt from the law. 

Really, without even expressing my opinion on the situation, I made myself a target of their hatred.  And what rabid hatred it is.  They are swarming the facebook groups they can find, organizing protests, calling law officials, politicians, humane societies, peta... anyone they can get on the phone, they will complain to.  It is too early to say if this tactic is working, as reports come from either side that this organization is doing this or that, that these professionals have agreed with this side or the other.  Eventually the smoke will clear, and Flat Creek Border Collies will either still have their dogs, or will have had them seized - legally or illegally.

Now, what I have read thus far is that the Flat Creek Border Collies are being kept outside.  This, when you get down to the heart of it, is the problem with the entire situation.  The pups seem to be born and raised outside.  A recent cold spell has caused concern for the welfare of the animals.

Some people seem to believe that no dogs should be kept outside.  Others think that these dogs are not hardy enough to
be kept outside.  These, however, are opinions, and as far as the law is concerned, the dogs have proper care.
They have dog houses.  These blue barrels have holes cut in the front, large enough to allow the dog in, however still small enough to give the dog protection.  The animal rights advocates insist that these barrels do not provide adequate shelter.  They state that the blue barrels will not hold heat, that the snow on top is making it colder(uhm, hi, ever heard of an igloo, a house built from snow?) and that there is no straw in the houses.
More dog houses, you can see some of the larger shelters in this photo, behind the orange fencing.  More of those snow covered barrels, but in this photo you can better see that the barrels are raised off the ground by pallets.  Excellent way to hold the houses still and off the ground, however I would love to see the breeder pack snow under the skid as well, to provide more insulation.
Tons of dog houses!  Dog houses of every shape and style you can imagine!  There are more photos of the various dog houses, but I felt it was getting redundant.  Needless to say, there are lots of dog houses.
(photo by Caramariephotography, used under the fair dealings clause for educational, non-profit use only)
See?  Here is a dog that is using the dog house.  However, she has snow around her mouth.  This can only indicate that the dog is freezing to death, apparently.  According to the ARA's, anyway.  Dogs can often enjoy playing in the snow, including using their faces as a snow shovel, and grabbing mouthfuls of snow to toss around.  So, could the dog have not gotten her face snowy by playing in the snow?   She's gone into the barrel to warm up - the barrel is surrounded by snow, which, as we've covered, provides excellent insulation to keep the dog's heat in.
This dog is apparently matted.  I can't say one way or another if he is matted, as the picture is poor resolution, and it's a shaggy dog who has grown a winter coat.  It looks like a nice healthy winter coat to me, and the dog is sitting, looking very alert(I am not sure at what, maybe the trespassers or people harassing his owners?)  Does not look much like a suffering dog, to me.
This one is one of my favourites, it was touted as being dogs crying out from cold.  I see a dog who is enjoying the sunshine, in the center.  I see a border collie barking to the left side, not crying out in pain.  Probably barking because there are strangers around, and much higher levels of activity than it is probably used to.  The original poster also kindly circled some puppies for us.  Once again I see normal, healthy dogs who are not cowering and shivering.  Animals that are freezing to death make themselves as small as possible, trying to conserve heat and energy.  They do not move about, they do not cry out.  Hypothermia is a silent killer, you lay down and simply go to sleep and die.
(photo by Caramariephotography, used under the fair dealings clause for educational, non-profit use only)
Then, someone posted that the also have small breed dogs!  Oh my goodness!  There was some confusion as to the breed of dogs, some saying Havanese, others saying Shih Tzus.  But whatever the breed, they're small dogs, and they're outside.  And not only are they small dogs outside, but they're also very furry small dogs.  I saw some accusations that they were not taking care of the dogs, that the dogs are covered in mats.  Well, first, I've known these types of dogs before, and if you don't keep them in a crate 24/7, then their fur gets dirty and they get a little scruffy looking.  My dog is a shih tzu cross, and when I brush him(3x a week) he looks so cute and fluffy and perfect... For about 10 minutes.  Then he starts playing, rolling around, and making himself look like a dog again.  Also, it looks to me like those dogs would be going into a part of the house at night - there are no dog houses in their area, and they are housed right outside the back door - easy access to a back room for overnight housing, perhaps? 
(photo by Caramariephotography, used under the fair dealings clause for educational, non-profit use only)
The dog with the injured nose.  Alleged to be frostbite(it isn't, frostbite would start as black patches on the tip of the nose), it surely is an ouchy.  Otherwise, the dog looks healthy.  Alert, interested in the goings on.  The wound does not look infected, it looks to me like they got a bit rough in playing, or he rubbed his nose while playing in the snow, or on a fence.  The dog does not appear to be suffering from the injury, whatever may have caused it.  We do not have the dog's vet records, so don't know if he has seen a vet for the injury or not.  Considering that the dogs as a whole seem healthy, I would think that the injury is being monitored, either by the owner or by a vet.
This dog is accused of being roach backed, deformed, injured, or freezing.  One brilliant comment said you could see the movement was off, which gave me a chuckle...  How can you see movement in a photo?  This is one nano-second.  The dog could be in the process of sitting down, or of standing up.  Both back legs are together - how most dogs get up and down.  The forelegs are closer to the camera than the hind legs, and are in very wide stride, like the dog is moving the fore end.  There is a video that shows dogs limping from the cold.  Two of the dogs, holding paws up.  Others are running around without issue.  Now, as far as the video goes, this is an unfair video.  One, there's a strange car sitting by their fence - all the dogs are going to come out and run around, even those that are cold and should be in the houses warming up.  The one limping dog makes a brief appearance, then goes back into the house to warm up.  You don't see where the other limping dog goes, but presumably into a different dog house.  Now, the limping could be caused by other things, as well.  The dog may have pulled or twisted a muscle while playing, the dog may have an old injury that healed and does not cause pain, the dog may have cut their foot on the ice crust.  You cannot tell from a video why the dog is limping, nor can you tell if it is a new limp or an old limp, if the owner knows about it, if the dog has been to see a vet about it.  So, yes, the dog is limping in that video, but no one can be positive why that dog was limping.  Isn't the justice system innocent until proven guilty?
The laws regarding outdoor dogs.  I love how they highlight the parts that they feel important... but neglect to highly section 3, paragraph b.  Section 1 paragraph c stats that dogs will have ready access to a house, apartment, office, or anything else tha complies with Section 3 paragraph b.  Shouldn't section 3, paragraph b be highlighted, since that's the definition of accurate housing? 
(b)For all dogs that are left outdoors in inclement weather, a housing facility, which must: (1) have a waterproof roof; (2) be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climatic conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather; (3) be constructed to allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs  outstretched; and (4) allow for effective removal of excretions, other waste material, dirt and trash.  The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and to minimize health hazards.
Okay, so...

Waterproof roof?  Check
Structurally sound?  Check
Insulated?  Check. 
With straw and snow
Allow movement?  Check.  Those drums are pretty big, and if there is enough straw the dog can lay down outstretched.
Effective clean up?  Check.  Plastic is easily disinfected, and washes easily.

Now, no laws appear to be broken.  The law enforcement agencies have said that as well.  The dogs are not injured, they are not suffering.  Photos support this, as they show normal dogs doing normal dog things.

There are a few questions that I have about this whole situation.  The problem, is that the only ones who know the answers aren't taking questions from average shmucks like me. 

Are the small dogs being let in at night, or provided some form of shelter?  They are a well furred breed, and it is probably easiest to have them out during the day, but I would like to see them in some kind of shelter, be it the back porch, or a shed.  They do need some kind of housing.

How did the ouchy dog hurt his nose?  I know it wasn't frostbite, but the injury is there.  I would love to hear the story behind it, because I am sure it is an innocent ouchy being taken out of context.

Why are those 2 dogs in the video limping?  Does the owner know about the limp?  What has been done for the limping dog?

What are the accurate, finite numbers of the dogs?  I would love a list of the dogs, or numbers of desexed dogs, breeding males, open females, pregnant females, nursing females and immature dogs/puppies.

As far as the information available goes, I don't see anything wrong with how these dogs are kept.  Would I do it?  No, but I also only ever want one dog at a time, and have no intentions of breeding dogs.  Just because I see a dog's role in my life as being a cute little companion and friend doesn't mean that I can't see dogs as working animals, be it guarding home or livestock, herding, tracking, hunting, working with the police or disabled people, or whatever else you can think of.  I support this breeder's right to breed working dogs, and keep them outdoors, with this shelter, which the law deems as adequate.  I support this breeder's right to live their life unmolested, to not have to fear the vigilantes stealing their dogs, or fear for their personal safety.  I think that this is a case of people's personal opinions and conceptions getting in the way of things.  I feel awful for these people who have had their life turned into a nightmare.
I couldn't have found a happier ending.  I'm so happy to see that people went out, approached the owner and spoke with him rationally and personally.  They got answers, saw things with their own eyes and have come to the conclusion that while things aren't the best, there's nothing wrong there.  Too many people have misdirected their frustrations upon the people who breed, who keep their animals in a different manner than they themselves think best.

I wish I could say something to make a difference in this, but I know that no matter how I end this post, I will make those who feel that they are in the right with their actions and words angry.  It has once more become breeder vs rescue.  I can understand that the animal rights advocates feel very strongly against this breeder, and that animal topics generally tend to run hot.  I do not, however, understand how they can feel it's right to threaten to steal animals, to direct comments about murder, assault, arson, and a multitude of other horrible things to these people, or any people.  I don't understand how the breeder side can do the same thing, while saying how awful it is that the animal rights side is doing it. 

I welcome any polite discussion, but will remove any and all comments that are cussing, from either side. 

Update - Part 2 is now available for your reading pleasure!

Research Credits
Stop Animal Rights Terrorism Against Breeders(via Facebook)
Save The Dogs From Flat Creek Border Collies(via Facebook)
"News" report(basically just a summary of the situation as a whole)
News Report - Time Warner News Saratoga County
News Report - Courier Standard Enterprise
News Report - WNYT

Image Credits
Stop Animal Rights Terrorism Against Breeders(via Facebook)
Save The Dogs From Flat Creek Border Collies(via Facebook)
Caramariephotography(via Facebook)

For all those just joining me, I now have a facebook fan page.  Please, like it, show your support or your lack thereof, but keep it clean - no cussing, no insults - to people on BOTH sides of the fence.

Herds Not Hoards, The Fan Page


01/07/2014 12:52pm

Please - before you indulge in a little defamation here and there -- QOUTE one person who has said that "breeders should die" ??? Please.. . and we will wait patiently for you to verify that claim. Just because "the villagers" care about what is taking place in their community, and demands that their citizens are KIND to one another and to animals, does NOT mean they are all "animal rights activists". I'm just a mom - who loves my border collies, and treats them humanely. I don't think it's asking too much of my neighbors that they do the same. So - back to your defamation/libel -- please PROVE that statement... otherwise what you have done is illegal... and my guess is it is against the policy of

01/07/2014 2:24pm

Welp. 40 dogs taken into custody. Breeder has until the 21st to build 24 houses. Guess those horrible animal activists weren't, ehem, barking up the wrong tree. Cute long winded diatribe, though.

01/21/2014 7:12pm

You folks don't know that these are people who truly care for their animals. Border Collies LOVE the cold, and they love to sleep with each other. Why does every dang dog need a dog house? So, if they have one, does that mean the fricking dog police are going to stand there and be sure that they go in it? Both Kathy and her brother know about Border Collies and how to raise good ones, and the Border Collie people talking about them better watch their backs, cause brothers and sisters, what exempts you from being on your own facebook page when the tree huggers are finished with this kennel. Just an excuse for stealing dogs and reselling them.

01/07/2014 2:34pm

I respect your opinion, I see your point. Maybe we should just give the homeless a coat and a cardboard box so they can be insulated out in the cold. Pack some snow around it . That should help . That might be "suitable" shelter . Oh yeah, I agree.. breeders should be allowed to have working guard dogs on their property. 50-100 should be a good number to protect it. I trust your opinion because I'm sure your a licensed vet because its your opinion that the dogs nose was a result of play and it doesn't look infected. And afterall you have a small dog and it looks scruffy after it plays outside. I'm surprised you don't know why the dog is limping. I figure he was playing ball with the owner and having a good time chasing it. They all look so happy sitting there in the frigid air. I'm sure there is a drum for every dog right . You counted them I'm sure. Thats right you did say that they didn't "look" like they were freezing to death so that must be the case. There are plenty of things that are legally right in this world. Too bad not morally right. Oh yeah, seems like the judge didn't agree that there was adequate housing for all the dogs. Must be he didn't read your article.

01/07/2014 8:11pm

Thank you, Diane. Couldn't have said it better.

01/21/2014 7:16pm

Hey Kate, that's right. That's why you are letting the homeless sleep outside in cardboard boxes while dogs with hair that protects them from all elements live outside in the fresh air to enjoy the elements like they were intended to do. They looked good to me, and the couple that were emaciated, I know the one, personally met her about 12 years ago when she was a puppy, so I expect she is old, and I know she lives in the house with Herman, was his dog.
So, help some starving children, maybe climb into their boxes and steal them some night.

01/07/2014 9:51pm

People don't understand that dogs and all other animals like them came into this world to be outside. Dogs have survived many of years outside without human help. They are survival animals that can survive outside. How do you think they survived so many years ago.
Just because these shelters aren't up to some people's standards doesn't mean these dogs are living poorly. Dogs and other animals are a lot more tough than us humans think.

01/08/2014 4:34am

I am not a vet, but I do have 30 years experience raising livestock. I too questioned the tactics of the original FB posts. I've seen first hand how extremist groups work, how they play on the heart strings of the human soul, how, once seized animals never make it back where they belong, even after a trial where the owner is found not guilty. Too many politicians and police agencies play into the hype and the sheer numbers of calls and letters (if they investigated which ones came from the town, state or county I am sure they would be surprised) and act accordingly. In NYS it is the Ag and Markets law for kennel/breeders of dogs (and dog welfare in general). This same group wrote that all dogs must have shelter, yet anyone using Livestock Guardian Dogs thus violates the law if they have no man made shelter for their livestock (no law required). There is a much larger agenda on the horizon and too many people let their hearts run their minds. Animals that have been suitably acclimate to weather conditions will do much better and will be much hardier than those that aren't. Many of the people posting here would be shocked that shepherds shear their stock in November/December for January/February lambing. What they don't have is animal experience, all those warm wooly/furry animals in a closed barn produce moisture, lots of it which causes pneumonia, a primary killer of young stock.
I do agree the conditions could use improvement and the owner could use some education on making the operation look more presentable for the neighbors, but this won't happen, one of their major means of income may be lost. Sad how people with no real animal experience can have such a large say in the matter. Will I respond to the article on FB, no, it almost seems pointless...same issues with the carriage horses of NYC. Again, well taken care of animals, acclimated to their surroundings, but the new mayor has taken up the cause and out they will go, taking the jobs away from hard working people. What's next? Be careful how far you let the extremists take all of just might help them outlaw all domesticated animals.

01/08/2014 5:18am

Diane, I couldn't have said it better myself!!! Hats off to you!

Brittany Dawson
01/08/2014 5:43am

I don't agree with you all but, everyone has a right to their own opinion. My dog os about rhe size of the small breed dogs in the picture. And has fir similar. She is well groomed and brushed and stays that way no matter how much she is playing and roughing around. You would be able to tell a difference between matted from lack of care or matted from playing. With the paws and limping... In my opinion there is NO other explanation besides cold paws. My dog has lasted not more than 1 minute before lifting her paws the past few days of freezing snowy weather. I couldn't even imagine forcing her to stay outside past that. I respect your opinion and I hope you can respect mine and others out there.

01/08/2014 12:38pm

I have to agree with the fact that the barrels make great doghouses. Commercial doghouses are made of plastic and have air holes for ventilation. The barrels don't have those air holes. Pack them with straw, or hay, and they keep the dogs very comfortable. Even more so if they have two dog to a barrel.

Time to see if the breeder needs some financial help from the vigilantes.

01/09/2014 7:36am

Yes some little dogs aren't made to be outside. But bigger dogs that can grow winter fur can be outside. As long as their used to it they will be okay. Your dog has its paws up after being outside for a minute because it's not used to being outside.

I have a beagle, a smaller dog. He loves playing in the snow, sometimes he lifts his paws up when they get cold but he doesn't whine or anything he keeps on playing. If you baby your dog it's going to act like one.

I feel that people who are used to being around farm animals and know how much a animal can take will only understand. People who have no experience with animals and treat them like a baby will think this is cruel.

Those dogs were probably the happiest dogs and one person who didn't agree with the way ruined it. Ruined it for the dog and the owners. Do you think the dogs would rather be locked in a kennel than be able to roam around like they had before? If the dog is used to those living situations then they will be fine. Dogs are a simple animal.

Tina Marie
01/23/2014 9:29am

I think the Author of this article really needs to research the out come of this case and write the true facts and not just their assumptions and opinion..The second night after these photos were taking two dead frozen small dogs were seen wheelbarrow away by a witness.. Since than 35 of the dogs were legally taken and considered safe -a detailed -documented-complete evaluation of each one of these dogs has been done by a Third Party Reputable Vet ..The Findings of Medical conditions were worse than they original thought and caused by LONG TERM NEGLECT ..The Judicial System gave the breeder time to comply with a court resolution to upgrade the conditions but since than has had the remaining dogs seized due to the vet findings ! I would say this Authors cynical ,sarcastic attitude has been proven wrong and unfit for this situation .And the return hatred against all Animal Activist /Advocates is uncalled for .Apparently the author isn't a voice or speaks for those that have none.

Herds not Hoards
01/23/2014 11:18am

It's a blog post, not an article, so it's opinion based. Also, perhaps the author of the comment above needs to research my blog and see that I've written no less than THREE other blog posts about this issue. If I went back and changed this blog post, I would be accused of trying to hide things, of back pedaling, of trying to cover up things. I just can't win with you people, can I?

Cara Messina
01/23/2014 12:05pm

as the photographer of the PHOTOS THAT WERE PUT ON THIS PAGE , in the beginning WITHOUT authorization- I decided to allow them to remain up because I ,along with SO many others can OBVIOUSLY SEE the neglect - I am so HAPPY that they were ALL removed & NOW have warm homes - are getting the MUCH NEEDED VACCINATIONS that they DID NOT have previously and will actually be LOVED!


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