PETA Video: Dog Seized by Police From Backyard Breeder Finds Happiness With Her First-Ever Family

For Immediate Release:
August 23, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

For years, you would have thought Ruthie was a sad little brown dog, as she was so filthy from being kept in a muddy pen outdoors in all weather conditions, neglected and repeatedly bred, her litters taken away from her by a backyard breeder in Michigan. But today, as a newly released PETA video shows, she’s unrecognizable—clean, healthy, loved, and living indoors with a new family who has pledged to protect her.

Ruthie is one of 39 dogs seized by authorities and placed for adoption following a PETA undercover investigation into John D. Jones’ seedy breeding operation, JRT John’s Jack Russell Terriers. PETA’s investigator documented that dozens of dogs were confined to small, barren kennels with little protection from the bitter cold and snow 24/7—conditions so dire that they prompted PETA supporters to hold a four-day sit-in at the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office until it enforced the law against cruelty to animals.

Ruthie in her muddy, freezing kennel.
Ruthie surrounded by her new family.

Once rescued, Ruthie’s trauma was so deep that it took her some time to adjust to life indoors with her guardians, Kenny and Nikki Carney, and her new “grandmother,” Eleanor. As Kenny explains in the video, Ruthie had spent “five or six years without having a name or a toy.” Whereas she once ran away or avoided eye contact, her new family and a pair of other dogs in the home soon showed her how to feel safe. “They pretty much taught her the ins and outs of everything here,” Kenny says of her new canine companions.

“Ruthie found love, but as long as people buy from breeders rather than adopting from shelters, other wonderful dogs will be caged or penned in puppy mills and deprived of the care and love they need,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA reminds everyone that breeders see dogs as breeding machines, there simply to churn out pups for them to sell.”

“Ruthie is the first of many rescues,” Kenny says through tears. “And I hope that somehow her experience can help others just bridge the gap.”

Photos and video from PETA’s investigation are available here and here.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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