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Annie's Birthday Anniversary ~ 26 March

On 26 March 2012 my English Setter girl, Annie was born. If she had lived, Annie would be 1 year old today. 

Every time I look at this photo of Annie taken on 19 June, 2012 I feel as if my heart is being ripped up into pieces. This particular photo of Annie shows the energy finally coming into her eyes. That day I felt as if Annie had a chance. 

My tiny, baby girl loved me so much. I cannot express in words how much I loved my Annie. When I was outside the house, she would throw herself at the screen door to try to open it to come out to be with me even though she was too tiny to make any impact on the door. 

Anniversaries are extremely important in the grieving process. 

My life has been challenging to say the very least. I have endured an extraordinary amount of grief throughout my life. I have learned that I am a resilient human being. I have learned that it helps if I can find a way on an anniversary to honour the life of my loved one. I feel very strongly that the best way I can honour Annie’s life is to continue to raise awareness about her abuse. 

It is beyond my comprehension that a woman and a registered breeder could neglect and abuse a puppy. I believe a puppy deserves the same care and respect as a human baby. I believe an animal deserves the same care and respect as a human being. I believe it is our responsibility to protect and care for animals and the natural environment. Their needs should come before our own. 

On 12 June 2012 I lodged a complaint against Annie’s breeder with the relevant Canine Control Council. I listed 8 serious issues concerning Annie’s abuse and neglect by her breeder during her first 8 weeks of life, all of which were in breach of the ANKC Policies for Health & Welfare including the Breeding Code of Ethics and Responsible Breeding, the Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Breeding dogs and cats, and the Canine Control Council Regulations Part XIII Code of Ethics. 

I did not lodge this complaint against Annie’s breeder to gain financial compensation even though she had deliberately lied to me about Annie’s health. I did not want any refund of Annie’s purchase price. I was prepared to pay all the veterinary costs and Annie’s ongoing care. All I wanted was for Annie’s breeder to be made accountable, hopefully to be de-registered so that she could never harm another puppy and deceive another genuine purchaser like myself. 

In summary, my complaint was ignored. This is the standard behaviour of Canine Control Councils in Australia. This is why memberships continue to decline. 

Two weeks later on 25 June 2012, Annie died. I went into a severe state of shock.

On 1 July 2012, the anniversary of the stealing of my English Setter, Beau, I decided I had to do something that weekend to try to find some sort of justice for my baby girl, Annie. This was only 1 week after Annie had died. I was in a terrible emotional state but somehow I managed to achieve what I set out to do. I wrote to the Canine Control Councils in Queensland and NSW, the RSPCA in Queensland and NSW, as well as RSPCA Australia. I provided written evidence to support my complaint which included veterinary records and email communications between Annie’s breeder and myself. 

At that time an ES member wisely pointed out to me that it was extremely unlikely that the Canine Control Council and the RSPCA would do anything about Annie’s breeder. She believed the only way to make Annie’s breeder accountable was through financial compensation. I realised she was right and I spoke to a solicitor. On 15 July 2012 I wrote to Annie’s breeder and listed the reasons for my complaint. Legally I was obliged to provide her with an opportunity to respond before commencing legal action against her. To avoid legal action, Annie’s breeder immediately refunded Annie’s purchase price and travel costs. She would not have done this if she was not guilty, and this action in itself confirmed her guilt. 

The truth is that Annie was not a show quality puppy. Annie was the runt of the litter. Annie’s breeder deliberately lied to me. She sent Annie away from the litter at 8 weeks of age in a grossly malnourished state because she did not care about Annie and her only concern was maximising her profit. Annie was not fed properly during her first 8 weeks of life and she was not wormed properly. Annie only weighed 3.5kg at 8 weeks of age. The normal average weight for an 8 weeks old female English Setter puppy is 6.5kg. Annie had lived her first 8 weeks of life in a confined space, sitting, standing and sleeping in her urine and faeces. She was not emotionally or physically prepared in any way to cope with inter-state travel. Her breeder would not even drive Annie to the airport which was 2 hours away. Can you imagine the sheer terror Annie suffered this day, and it is a miracle she did survive. It is beyond my comprehension that a woman and a registered breeder could do this to an innocent, vulnerable, baby puppy. 

As it turned out, I was ignored by the Canine Control Councils and the RSPCA organisations. 

This year I did not renew my membership of Dogs Queensland. 

After Annie died I was made aware that registered English Setter breeders in Australia and New Zealand had been warned about Annie’s breeder and advised to steer clear of her when considering the purchase of a puppy. Many are aware of the filthy, unacceptable conditions in which her English Setter puppies and mature dogs are forced to live. I despise these breeders almost as much as Annie’s breeder. 

None of Annie’s siblings are now owned by the breeder, including the puppies who were shown. Many of Annie’s siblings were offered Free of Charge including the show quality “pick” of the litter. He was offered Free of Charge at 8 months of age provided he was desexed and the new owner paid for the desexing. The only reason a registered breeder would do this is because there is something wrong with the puppies. Annie’s mother is no longer shown on this breeder’s website. I shudder to think what has happened to Annie’s mother. 

Annie’s breeder never showed remorse for what she had done to Annie. From the moment Annie arrived, she tried to blame me. Her dishonesty and cruelty is unforgivable. She is a monster.

Annie was not well in the days before she died. I believe I know why now. Even if I had done things differently, this may not have changed what happened. Annie’s immune system was severely compromised and she had constant problems with her digestive system. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler write in their book Life Lessons: “As hard as it may be to accept, the reality is that we don’t die before our time. When we die, it is our time.” 

I will most likely never understand why my baby girl, Annie had to die but one thing is for certain I will never, ever forget her. Annie made a huge impact on me as a human being and every aspect of my life. My English Setter, Hobson loved Annie dearly and he has also suffered from her death.

Annie is buried with her favourite toy beside my English Setter girl, Rose who is buried beside my English Setter boy, Hammer. Each one of them has burrowed so deeply into my heart. They are my special children. I suffer great pain in my grief but I could never consider trading this for never having known them at all. 

Rest In Peace my beautiful, baby girl, Annie. I will continue to fight for you in every way I can. 

Your mum, Susan

Views: 545

Comment by Dianne cook on March 25, 2013 at 5:18am
Beautiful words Susan you have written about your Annie :0) I imagine it would of taken a lot of courage to write your tribute to your baby girl. A quote I just read in a book but I imagine you would of already heard it ...." We never get the dog we want. We get the dog we need" I believe it's so true :0)) take care Dianne, Flame, Ruby and Poppy. X
Comment by Fran Griffin on March 25, 2013 at 5:40am

Dear little Annie. Both you and she are more victims of bad breeding practices. So tragic and yet such a familiar story throughout the world, and with so many breeds of dogs too :-(  Changes are so badly needed.  Take care and keep your strengths up xx

Comment by Kimberly Simmons on March 25, 2013 at 9:18am

RIP sweet Annie girl, she was blessed to have spent her last days in the glow of your love Susan. xx

Comment by Angela Clarke on March 25, 2013 at 10:23am

Dear Susan, I feel for you every day, with the loses you have had, from thieves, vets and bad breeders you have suffered from them all. RIP sweet Anne you know you were loved in your short life, a life if you were here longer would have been so full of love and fun. Take care Susan.

Comment by karen chesher on March 25, 2013 at 12:16pm

A lovely tribute blog to little Annie,thinking of you on this very difficult anniversary. 

Comment by Catherine Carter on March 25, 2013 at 12:29pm
Susan, you showed such strength in writing you beautiful blog on Annie. Such a sad story. At least you know you have given love and happiness to Annie even if for such a short time. Thinking of you in this anniversary. Xxxxx
Comment by McBIRDY - Jean DUHANT on March 25, 2013 at 12:46pm

So sad ! we can't read without tears  :(  Our thoughts are with you ! RIP LITTLE ANNIE  <3 <3

Comment by Dianne cook on March 25, 2013 at 2:34pm
I forgot to say....Happy 1st Birthday Annie, I'm sure your here in spirit sweet English girl :0))
Comment by Phil du Plessis on March 25, 2013 at 3:02pm

Susan, it is with tears in my eyes that I read about Annie. Look up into the sky tonight: there you will see the brightest star is Annie's Star! Lots of love. Ari, Rhett and me xxx

Comment by silvia on March 25, 2013 at 4:35pm

Susan, this is one of the saddest stories I ever read... tears in our eyes as well.. Annie had such a sweet face, she's running somewhere now , free from the devils she has found.. and she's running peacefully after she spent her last, and finally happy,  time with you!!


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