In 2008, Main Line Animal Rescue sponsored a billboard four blocks from famed Harpo Studios in Chicago. The message was simple – “Oprah, Please do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need your help.” Within days, Oprah noticed the billboard on her way to work, and special correspondent Lisa Ling soon arrived at MLAR to begin what many believe to be one of the most important undercover investigations in the history of animal welfare. Viewers in over 170 countries saw the deplorable conditions under which breeding dogs were forced to live in Pennsylvania’s notorious puppy mills.
Oprah, Lisa, and our friends at Harpo brought the issue to the attention of millions of people and the program had a huge impact on an industry that for so long went virtually unregulated. Hundreds of puppy mills closed, while adoption rates increased in shelters throughout the United States. New laws designed to protect dogs in high volume breeding facilities passed in over a dozen states, and thousands of animal welfare organizations cheered Oprah’s efforts.