by Katharine Dokken - September 19, 2016.
At left: Katharine with renowned tiger trainer Carlos Quinones, Mindy Patterson, President of The Cavalry Group, and exotic animal trainer Doug Terranova at the USDA Headquarters, Washington, DC, 2016.
In every money scam, eventually there comes a tipping point in which the outrageousness of the scam overcomes the ability of the spin doctors to come up with a good story to cover their butts. Here in America we have reached that point with the sheer volume of outrageous dog "rescue" stories that simply defy belief. In towns and cities near you, long term reputable American pet breeders have been legislated out of existence while at the same time, dog "rescue" is now the hot new tax free business. It is in fact so hot, coining new millionaires daily, that the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), now estimates that up to one million foreign dogs are imported into America, washed through complicit shelters and rescues and resold to Americans with a fake back story to keep the outrageous profits coming in.
Even more troubling, some of these people who are becoming rich off of exploiting America's love of saving animals are becoming media darlings. Take for example, a man named Greg Mahle who runs a dog shipping business called Rescue Road Trips, Inc. (shown above), one of many used pet dealers who stack dogs in trucks and vans like cord wood for maximum profit and then shipping them thousands of miles for resale. Front and center on his website he brags about numerous media interviews for his business, while his supporters shill a book written about him and claim he's a saint. A check of his financials and background shows a vastly different story. He's nothing more than a paid transporter selling moral do-goodness and drama while he rakes in the untraceable cash.
One of the biggest markets for rescue scams today is New England. The states of the north eastern part of the US are so short of both dogs and cats that massive pipelines of second hand animals travel up Interstate 81 from the south to the north along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Most transports break multiple state laws, care nothing about the animals in their care, and quickly sell off their product in parking lot drop offs in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and other states.
In Connecticut, the state is so disgusted with these con artists who are bringing in massive disease that they have started to crack down on the fake "rescue" dog market. A fact that even Greg Mahle and his "Rescue Road Trips" notes on their website by stating that "No exchange of payment may occur within the boarders [sic] of The State of Connecticut." There is a very good reason for that statement on his website, more on that later. He in fact charges $185 to ship these dogs from unknown backgrounds that are being sold off to gullible people who think they have saved something. Several people did the math on his claims. He states right on his website that he has shipped 55,000 dogs since he started his business. At a fee of $185 each, he has earned a profit of over ten million dollars, all tax-free. Or $10,175,000 to be exact. That's just his shipping fees. He also accepts "donations" to include the donation of a brand new truck. In 2015 alone, his tax returns claim he grossed over two hundred thousand dollars on roughly just two trips per month. That's one hell of an income for a man who claims to have no expenses of any kind and to have paid himself and his wife, no salary. So just where has the ten million dollars gone? That's one hell of a living he's earning.
The fake sob story this money coining man is promoting is a heart sickening dog tale he calls "Southern Comfort" dogs. A typical story that these dog flippers promote is this idea that the southern parts of the United States are awash in many homeless dogs from irresponsible southern people who are too stupid to spay and neuter their dogs. In fact, the lie is so outrageous that Greg Mahle claims that the southern parts of the United States imply do not have any veterinarians in business giving southern states a "lack of spay/neuter facilities." Got a bridge to nowhere or some swamp land to sell me while you are at it? The reality is, as NAIA has proven for years with multiple shelter studies is that America has run out of rescued and shelter dogs to sell. Even the ASPCA is now admitting that America is out of dogs. So just where are they coming from?
As I've covered in the past, some of them are stolen dogs, others are shipped in from foreign countries were they are deliberately bred for the American "rescue dog market."
When a recent social media user ran into one of these inhumane transport runs, she questioned what she was seeing only to be viciously attacked and threatened by rabid rescue zealots who are terrified that the inhumane gravy train may be ending. She deleted the original story but by then many activists who have been struggling to report on this rampant dog rescue fraud picked it up and ran with it. Even more quickly rescue apologists who admit to making their own profit on the side have continued the social media attacks. Just as they ran to defend an undefendable industry, more interesting facts continued to come to life.
Including one woman who continuously insisted that even though Greg Mahle's tax returns states he has no expenses at all, a supporter named Christie Rackley insisted that he has to pay at least $20,000 in gas money and pay for brand new tires for his truck with every transport. You want me to believe he has to put brand new tires on his truck twice a month? When no one else in the trucking industry is doing that? The commercial trucking industry which has their trucks on the road 365 days a year instead of just twice a month like Mahle reports that the average commercial trucker will spend no more than $4,000 per YEAR for tires. Several other posters rushed to defend Mahle and let it spill that donations paid for the entire truck itself. As one woman said, "He's able to get a new rig because of the generosity of people who know him." Really? He's already coining money like no tomorrow and his truck? Was completely free.
So if the truck was free, again, where did the missing ten million dollars go? Or did it go here? After all, this is a mighty nice home that Greg Mahler lives in.
His supporters rushed to provide details about how "Texas" was awash in homeless animals but many of these shipments are coming from Georgia, not Texas. Georgia is one of the biggest importers of foreign dogs in the south. Complicit groups in Georgia calling themselves "rescues" import plane loads of foreign dogs and then ship them to northern states claiming that mythical southern overpopulation, while they scam a fee off of the sale. Other brain dead supporters spread mythical fairy dust by claiming that the reason the north is out of dogs is that they freeze to death in the winter and that's the reason why the south has more dogs and cats and is shipping truck loads north.
The tax returns of Mahler are even more interesting after a second look. He reported that for 2015, he took in $203,983 in government grants and contributions with again no expenses of any kind. No travel expenses, no lodging, no gas expenses, nothing. In fact he doesn't even itemize the revenue he earned from all of his 2015 shipping trips. Every time a commenter questioned his dodgy tax returns, his rabid supporters threatened to sue everyone for libel, spouted profanity, threatens and demanded that everyone buy Mahler's book to find out the "truth" about him.
This isn't the first time that people have questioned Greg Mahler's activities. The state of Connecticut went after him in 2015 for illegally shipping dogs into the state in a crack down on what they called illegal dog importers passing themselves off as animal rescue organizations. "The Department of Agriculture is advising residents to be aware of illegal dog and cat sales by out-of-state organizations that often portray themselves as animal-rescue organizations and are not licensed to do business in Connecticut."
"A fourth importer, Greg Mahler, 53, of Zanesville, Ohio, was cited for one count of failure to provide event notices after he was observed delivering dogs to several adopters from his Rescue Road Trips tractor-trailer at a public parking lot in Putnam that afternoon.
The adopters told officers that they had prepaid for the dogs via Pay Pal or a credit card. Mahler was cited for one count of failing to provide an event notice."
After he was busted by state authorities, Mahler simply added a statement to his website that you have to pay him outside of the borders of Connecticut. If that isn't a red flag, I don't know what is. Let alone the entire idea of buying a dog in a parking lot from some anonymous "rescue." Keep in mind that Mahler is just the transporter and he's raked in a cool ten million dollars at a minimum. Each of these dogs he has shipped was also purchased from a so-called rescue group who also is raking in the cash along with him and who knows how much they have pulled in but average adoption fees are now $500 to $800 in New England.
Even before 2015, in the efforts to stop inhumane and illegal dog trafficking that Dr. Arnold Goldman covered in his presentation on "Taking Control of Rescue Dog Trafficking in Connecticut" at the NAIA 2011 annual conference he mentioned Mahler and his transports.
Animal rescue fraud can only be stopped if you stop buying animals from them. Here's ten million dollars worth of reasons right here. Mahler is just one of hundreds of new shipping companies transporting animals for dodgy fly by night groups all raking in the tax-free and untraceable cash. This inhumane trade will only end when Americans stop falling for these scams.