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Animal Shelters Benefit from the Oprah Effect

In the wake of Winfrey’s show on puppy mills, adoption numbers spike

In the wake of Winfrey’s show on puppy mills, adoption numbers spike

Oprah’s coverage of the puppy mill issue helped dogs like Mildred, a 12-year-old Chihuahua who was dumped by a breeder on a Virginia roadside after she could no longer reproduce. When the Rockbridge SPCA found her, she still had a USDA ID tag in her ear—a dead giveaway of her origins. Suffering from a prolapsed uterus, Mildred was to undergo an operation. But when she was opened up, the SPCA found her reproductive system riddled with cancer, and she had to be euthanized. Mildred’s ashes were taken home by shelter manager Karen Beard, who gave her the only home she ever knew. To read more puppy mill stories, visit
When The Oprah Winfrey Showaired on April 4, millions of Americans got a firsthand look at a puppy mill. What they saw showed the origins of many pet store puppies and designer dogs in a light they never imagined.

The show featured disturbing footage of puppy mill conditions captured during an investigative report by special correspondent Lisa Ling, and a conversation with Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue, and Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Perhaps the highlight of the show, however, was the moment when Winfrey—whose imprimatur has skyrocketed many an unknown product and author to fame and fortune—uttered the following words, “I would never, ever adopt another pet now without going to a shelter to do it. I am a changed woman after seeing this show.”

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