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Canton City Council: Mayor Lou Ann Everett: [email protected]; Councilmember Blake Fowler: [email protected]; Councilmember Jim Fuller: [email protected] ; Councilmember Chase Melton: [email protected] ; Councilmember Cassidy Henderson: [email protected] ; Councilmember Randon Sumner: [email protected] //National Flea Market Association: [email protected]; Canton Police Chief Brad Allison via [email protected] AND fax at (903) 567-6429;  Van Zandt Sheriff Joe Carter and Van Zandt Sheriff’s Office, via [email protected] AND Erin McLeish: [email protected]; SPCA of East Texas via [email protected] AND https://spcaeasttx.com/report-cruelty/; Texas Speaker of the House: Dade Phelan: https://house.texas.gov/members/member-page/email/?district=21&session=88; Rep. Jared Patterson: https://house.texas.gov/members/member-page/email/?district=106&session=88; Rep. Ann Johnson: https://house.texas.gov/members/member-page/email/?district=134&session=88; Rep. Candy Noble: https://house.texas.gov/members/member-page/email/?district=89&session=88; Sen. Judith Zaffirini: https://senate.texas.gov/memberform.php?auth=9%2F2%2FmtrCC%2F80riTwJLSAPNaptL2NWOLks7k4mpJgipc6XzpfOg4oJ86ab67aY2WzHgFfZZ3PMc5AA133HTA%2BSdIYiXsdB2YLOnw6fDpqvH9jX0iu%2FkY%2F65webUYr&lang=en; 

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PETITION TARGETS: Canton City Council, Canton Police Department and Animal Control, Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, SPCA of East Texas, Texas State Legislators, National Flea Market Association

UPDATE (7/11/2023): The Canton Police Department has several investigations underway into the vendors identified by Lady Freethinker’s investigation, Chief Brad Allison said. Regarding the July 2023 event, the chief said via email, “Two City of Canton Animal Control officers attended the First Monday event and were supported by additional City police officers who visited the Dog Alley area.  While I cannot comment on individual investigations or prosecutions, the City took the issues raised in your footage seriously in our response to the July event, and we will continue to address these concerns at future First Monday events.” We plan to continue seeking updates, via inquiries or public records requests, to provide more concrete details regarding on-the-ground action when it’s publicly available. Meanwhile, the National Flea Market Association said they ” do not condone the unethical treatment of animals of any kind at any of our member markets and remain steadfast against any such infractions” but did not offer to outright prohibit the sale of live animals. We’ll keep watching this situation to see whether authorities make good on their stated promises. — Lady Freethinker Staff

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Defenseless puppies were crammed into filthy, rusted cages without food or water at a flea market in Texas called “Dog Alley” when an undercover investigator working for Lady Freethinker stopped by.

The investigator documented puppies with seemingly overgrown nails, weeping eyes, bloated stomachs, and eye conditions, as well as wet and muddy dogs left outside who had been drenched in an overnight storm. The investigator also documented dogs and puppies housed alongside live birds and other animals in a flooded building that smelled overwhelmingly of feces.

Puppies also were kept in tiny cages with wire-strand flooring that offered no protection for their sensitive paws and pens that afforded minimal room to move around — with the investigator documenting at least 16 puppies in a single small pen.

Inside Dog Alley

Inside Dog Alley (Lady Freethinker Investigation)

Many of the puppies for sale were less than eight weeks old, according to vendor comments as well as signs blatantly advertising their ages — in seeming violation of both state and federal law.

Other puppies who were older than four months hadn’t been vaccinated for rabies, according to numerous vendor comments — also in direct violation of Texas law.

The scope of suffering was massive, with the investigator estimating that more than 1,500 puppies were being sold by more than 100 vendors and that about 98 percent of stalls visited did not have any water immediately available to the dogs.

Inside Dog Alley

Inside Dog Alley (Lady Freethinker Investigation)

But dogs weren’t the only animals suffering. The investigator also documented birds, rabbits, hedgehogs,  and other animals crammed into filthy wire cages and other animals, including horses, languishing in muddy and flooded enclosures — conditions known to contribute to the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Dog Alley has been the subject of numerous news reports and investigations conducted by reputable animal welfare organizations for alleged animal cruelty and public health and safety risks over the years — and conditions clearly haven’t improved.

Inside Dog Alley

Inside Dog Alley (Lady Freethinker Investigation)

It’s time for authorities to immediately end this suffering by banning the sales of live dogs and other animals in open-air settings, including at flea markets and along roadsides.

Numerous other states — including Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Virginia — and compassionate municipalities, including Anderson County, SC, and Memphis, TN, have laws prohibiting the sale of dogs and other animals at flea markets.

The cruelty must stop now.

Sign our petition urging authorities to immediately and consistently investigate conditions at Dog Alley and crack down on any violative vendors. To save countless lives, we’re also asking city, county, and state officials to ban the sale of live animals in flea markets in Texas and for the National Flea Market Association to ban the sale of live animals at flea markets.

Then, read our full story here.

And if you live in Texas, please reach out to your legislators and ask them to ban cruel sales of live animals at flea markets!