Anyone who's spent a chunk of time inside the Ohio Dog Auction in Farmerstown isn't likely to shake the experience soon. Located in a barn right in the gut of Amish country, the site is where dog breeders and puppy mill barons from all over the country east of the Mississippi come to hock their wares — the wares in question being puppies. A lot of them. Cute, adorable pups, looking straight off the Hallmark card, jammed into cages stacked to the ceiling.
That mash-up of cuddly animals and confining circumstances is the reason more than one critic has called auctions cruel and unusual. As we wrote in a 2010 feature, the auction was ground zero for the controversy surrounding Amish dog breeders. For the last two years, activists have regularly picketed the events, and there's been a healthy push to ban the auctions outright through a ballot vote.