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by mrdarcy on 29 April 2018 - 14:04

Olivia Day, please do not come here and threaten other members. If you read the whole thread you will get the facts and your threats are unwarranted.

by GSDMomma2 on 02 May 2018 - 17:05

For those of you who missed the news segment on this kennel-

For those of you who are new to this story, please read the entire thread.

Thank you.

by Dawn G. Bonome on 09 May 2018 - 17:05

I just hope that CHANNEL 2 news keeps people updated on this. People should call Pam Zekman of Channel 2 news periodically, and ask for updates on this story.
People should think long and hard before they step on the premises of this Kennel.
New people that don't know any better are the ones who are getting suckered into the web of JM, and end up getting their heart broken. THE DOGS pay for it for the greed of this woman!

I just found out about it yesterday as I don't come on PDB too often anymore. I was livid and saddened as to how many things one person can hurt this breed by what is done and gets away with?

by GSDMomma2 on 09 May 2018 - 21:05


That was my only goal with this post is to keep the public informed. I did not post to bash, punish, shame, or insult anyone. I am not a "stalker", not trying to take business away, not playing a hate game. Yes, Mittelwest has beautiful dogs and once was #1 in the US in the past; but things have changed. Money changes things. When quantity over quality takes over, things decline. Mistakes happen. While there is more "supposedly" going on than just parvo, I chose to only focus on the parvo because it is active, impossible to get rid of without proper quarantine and cleaning, and because it affects everyone. It affects families, breeders who work with them, trainers, club members, vet offices that treat these puppies, of course the puppies, and anywhere else these puppies go. It was not being disclosed to anyone and no responsibility was taken for the outbreak. Fingers were pointed, denials were made. Yes, the parvo virus can happen to anyone at anytime--but take responsibility and blame. Own up to these mistakes. Close shop, stop selling puppies, tell customers the truth.

IMHO, a breeder loses credibility and trustworthiness after an event like this. For those of you who know the past of Mittelwest, things have been brought up before but buried for one reason or another. People are afraid to say anything because the GSD community is so small. People are afraid of saying anything in the fear of legal action being taken. Speaking the truth is not illegal. Anybody who is interested in working with this kennel, of course can at their free will. My hope is that anyone who chooses to do so asks all questions and educates themselves in what they are getting into. On paper, the parvo may be "clear", but the deception is not.

I would ask anyone who wanted to speak with Pam Zekman to try reaching out to her. I would think that after a public story like that, more people might be inclined to speak up. Speaking to her does not have to be public if they chose to remain anonymous.

by Dawn G. Bonome on 09 May 2018 - 22:05

If people are MUM... and say nothing then they are part of the problem. They should NOT call themselves SHEPHERD LOVERS or KEEPERS OF THE BREED. People are only helping her by keeping silent.
Not helping the dogs or puppies, or the families with children who get their hearts ripped out of them if the pup is sick or dies, but being part of the problem, and this will continue.
JM lost credibility a LONG time ago. MAYBE people are afraid to talk because she MIGHT have something on them. As you said the GSD Community is small!
If there are new people reading this thread....LET THE BUYER BEWARE!

by hexe on 10 May 2018 - 05:05

You're right, Dawn--there have been far too many instances where a breeder or trainer is found to have failed to provide appropriate care and/or housing for dogs they're responsible for, and once the story breaks in the news, there's people who knew the individual[s], had been to the facilities and were aware that the system was breaking down...and who didn't say anything for a myriad of reasons. Fear, sometimes; or in an attempt to protect them, perhaps, with a hope that the situation would turn around before it was too late...

As I understand it, the owner of Mittelwest has a habit of threatening legal action if anyone dares to speak less than glowingly about the operation--and the average person doesn't wish to become ensnared in something like that, as most don't have a lawyer on retainer, unlike many commercial operations. Although the truth is an adequate defense to slander and libel charges, how many folks want to shell out attorney fees to present that defense?

But make no mistake--if the dog community doesn't hold its members accountable, all of the opportunistic 'non-profit' groups will continue to be happy to do so instead.


by Hundmutter on 10 May 2018 - 05:05

It is really sad; Mittelwest is not the first US-based operation I am aware of (even at this great distance ! ) where otherwise skilled and well-respected breeders and their kennels eventually seem to slide downhill. The clue I think is in Momma's "quantity taking over from quality" - success breeds success and then suddenly it has all got huge and very expensive, and its a business and a daily chore, and all the early love and belief and interest in producing really good dogs somehow got left behind.

Add to this - maybe this is not yet relevant here, but it is certainly often a factor - of a breeder starting to struggle with health and age issues, maybe lack of supporting family or staff, or other problems of that nature (even some distracting long-standing struggle with officialdom), and you end up with a malfunctioning kennel, unable to meet the needs of its customers and what suffers most, inevitably, is the dogs.

Have seen this over and again here in the UK over a half-century following dog issues. It's a long slippery slope; IF Julie Martinez is starting out on it now, the end picture seems, I am afraid, inevitable - unless she does stuff about it NOW. Admit problems; scale down numbers; ask for help.
All things breeders I've known about in the past did not do, before it was too late.         I think I am right in saying AKC has some scheme to help breeders for whom it is starting to 'get a bit much', just as does the UK Kennel Club. But it is simpler to provide such help at the earliest possible stage, and if it is admitted that it is needed, than to try to sort it all out further along the path to decline. And as Hexe says, it does not want to get to the stage where Humane Societies etc have to be involved.

by momma on 25 May 2018 - 02:05

Julie bred some of the best dogs in the United States and competed at the highest levels. That being said a certain amount of political influence was for sure involved. And she may have gotten out of control and may have started dealing with less than desirable people to be able to ship, compete and bring new blood into the US. I am told that one transporter may be responsible. Other kennels also use this transporter so beware this is not an isolated incident.This is a failure of the International rules and organizations checking these dogs/puppies before shipping them. I am told NYC, NJ, Boston and TX may also be involved. I will update you as I check with people I know in the breed.

by charlie319 on 26 May 2018 - 15:05

I've been following this thread for some time now. I don't believe that I know anyone at VM, so I'm not carrying water for anybody (In full disclosure, I'm preliminarily considering Ikon v Mittelwest as a mate for one of my two very young von Arlett females, but that won't be until late 2019 or early 2020).... I've met a couple of VM dog owners and they didn't strike me as articularly naive. Most seem well informed.

Out here, from the cheap seats, it's a sad display of lesser achievers trying to cut down a fallen tree. This whole subject reminds me of when the zoo monkeys try to pelt the tourists with feces... with no change to their own situation.

So, they had an outbreak of Parvo, and the state is appropriately involved, the breeder is doing what the state requires of them. But that is not enough for some... Big operations like them tend to have proportional outbreaks or problems. So far, I don't see a problem in execution or the state would have them over a barrel and subject them to intrusive audits of their operation. This is not a small business in it's category. How much per pup? How much revenue (20-25 litters/year @ 6-8 pups per-litter could be $600k to a Million?) or taxes per year? Im pretty sure that not only is AG involved but the Illinni state tax boys are too.

Should they have blared the news from the highest tower and fallen on their sword to make their competition giddy and take away the megaphone from them???? That is a debatable point divorced from reality and not worth the keystrokes already expended.

IMPO, Mittlewest has executed the best business plan for a breeding operation in the US. That includes development and consistent reproduction of a type of GSD that consistently achieves in the show ring and at trials. A fantastic marketing operation that includes tremendous customer support and development of a community committed to VM GSD's. It is reasonable to say that they are the envy of many in the breeding & show community. I think that OherTannen of Atlanta is among the few like them in execution. No. I don't have OT dogs either. I have a friend who had one. A fantastic female. There are better breeders, but they execute on production, marketing, support, etc.

I expect VM to do what is best for it in the long run. That is to have the best recovery possible to this tragic incident.

Remember that old thing of the Bible " Matthew 7:12" about doing on to others???

Going back to the chest-thumping, self-appointed-guardians-of-the-breed... Did they report this to AKC or keep it on "gossip radio"??? The SV? GSDCA?USCA??? Did these organizations react? Or is this just a feel-good therapy group?

In the end, the market will weed out the unscrupulous. The ignorant bargain seekers will continue to buy cheap backyard breeder dogs, the wealthy ignorant will buy dogs who are not worth their price from those who oversell the qualities of their pups, and life will go on. Outfits like VM operate by word of mouth...satisfied owners recommend the product to those they appreciate. That is much stronger than any campaign, and I think that is VM plan. Always has been. Those who choose to not do business with VM on hearsay will do that. I'm not yet in that group.

by Rik on 07 June 2018 - 20:06

not going to read all this. just going to say that if I wanted a winning GSD in the U.S., Julie produces them and proves it. if I was in the market for one would have no issue in looking at what she has.


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