Couture canines strut for a cause

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Tails will be wagging as dogs strut down the runway during the second Canines and Couture Fashion Show Thursday, May 8.

The fashion show will feature local rescue dogs dressed up in tutus and other attire.

Ashley Miller, co-organizer of the event, said the fashion show is a way to show off a pet’s charm and to raise awareness of the puppy mill issue in North Carolina.

“It’s a fashion show featuring rescue dogs around the area that have gotten permanent homes, and to raise public awareness on the puppy mill bill [HB 930] that didn’t pass in the state senate,” Miller said.

In North Carolina, there are no specific laws to protect dogs sold directly to the public or online from breeding facilities. In many cases, these commercial breeding facilities neglect the animals’ health and many dogs are forced to live in poor conditions only to be bred.

Miller, who knows firsthand the effects that puppy mills, also sometimes known as puppy farms, have on dogs, said she hopes for a solution.

“A lot of these dogs are not medically cared for. We just want regulation of breeding,” Miller said. “I want to make sure that every [animal]is treated in a humane fashion. I’ve had a puppy mill dog. … It took six months for me to touch her, because she had no human interaction.”

The 2014 event will present the first Woofie Awards to activists who dedicate their time for the betterment of dogs. Recipients include N.C. House Representatives Jason Saine and Rick Catlin for their support of HB 930 to end puppy mills. Local recipients include Melisa Gallison of the Karma Foundation and Sheriff Ed McMahon of New Hanover County Animal services.

During the fashion show, Rick Catlin will help attendees write cards to their local legislators about supporting regulation of dog breeding.

“We’re going to have cards to send in to their legislators that they support some sort of state regulation to the breeding of dogs,” Miller said. “We’re trying to bring some public awareness.”

The fashion show will be held at Unleashed in the Landfall Shopping Center on May 8 from 6-8 p.m.

“Unleashed is doing some giveaways, and we’re doing some raffles with gift baskets and doggie treats,” Miller said. “We’re just a group of people that want to raise awareness and do it in a fun fashion way.”

J.P. Phinney, owner of Unleashed, said he wanted more awareness of the puppy mill issue.

“We as a company try to bring awareness that you shouldn’t buy a puppy at a store. We’re trying to raise consumer awareness about puppy mills,” Phinney said. “… Last year was a lot of fun. This year will be a lot more fun.”

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