By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“Winning this contest was a huge surprise. There were 500 entries,” said Joan Reynolds, who was informed last month that she had won the contest sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA.
“I just wanted to express my concerns and my feelings for animals' rights.”
The Port Townsend woman plans to submit nominations by Friday for three potential beneficiaries: the Jefferson Animal Shelter, the Peninsula Friends of Animals in Sequim and Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene.
ASPCA will decide which shelter will receive the prize after examining information about each facility online, Reynolds said, and it is expected to announce the beneficiary by the end of the month.
Reynolds wrote about puppy mills, which she defines as places where dogs are kept in small cages with no exercise and are used only for breeding.
The essay, spoken in the voice of a dog confined to a puppy mill, says:
“If I could speak your language for you to know how badly I feel being in this cage so long, never getting out and never getting to be a dog that wishes to have sunlight on my face and a ball to run after and a heart full of love to give you, then that's what I would say to you.
“Please give me a life to live that I was born for . . . a good home with plenty of everything a dog would wish for.
“No More Puppy Mills, close every one of them down!”
The dogs receive little or no medical care and are put down when they are no longer efficient breeders, Reynolds said.
“If you were put in a cage and left there to breed, how do you think that would feel?” Reynolds said.
“They all have thoughts and wishes, but they never get out to see any sunlight, and when they are sick, there is no one who will care for them.”
Reynolds has two dogs, Necco, 3, and Sophie, 4.
Reynolds said she regularly enters contests that have to do with animal issues, but she never expects to win.
“I did this for fun, to see what would happen,” she said.
“But it's important to save these little dogs.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.