Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone contributing editor

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Paul Solotaroff—Rolling Stone contributing editor who wrote a wide-ranging, high-profile exposé about the netherworld of puppy mills in the then-new issue of the magazine—discusses how he came to write the piece, sort of goaded into it by Humane Society of The United States CEO Wayne Pacelle, after Solotaroff completed another Rolling Stone investigative opus about factory farming. Solotaroff recounts the birth and development of puppy mills, chiefly outgrowths of family farms that evolved into dog-breeding operations. When asked, in reporting Emma-Stone-Rolling-Stone-2016_14the puppy mills story, to what extent he anticipated just how dark and depraved a universe he was descending into, Solotaroff allows that he was steeped in horrors—of both the animal and human variety—from working on the factory farming piece, but was still struck by the cruelty visited on these canines consigned to the puppy mill biz. He addresses how these operations flourish because laws in the states where the operations are based tend to be weak, toothless or nonexistent—and even where there are stronger laws in place, there’s still the other major factor in allowing puppy mills to churn out dogs unchecked: Far too few USDA inspectors to monitor them, much less enforce the Animal Welfare Act, or any statewide statute. Solotaroff speaks to a section of his article that engendered a great deal of chatter on Facebook and elsewhere online: The current status of the Hunte Corporation, the largest of the puppy brokers, which, near as his reporting—and the stonewalling of repeated phone calls and emails from Solotaroff to Hunte—could assess, appeared to be “now-defunct,” but Solotaroff notes in our interview, has downsized and renamed itself Choice Puppies. (www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-dog-factory-inside-the-sickening-world-of-puppy-mills-w457673)

Massive-python-wrestles-with-alligator-in-South-FloridaALSO: I spoke briefly with Joe Capozzi, a staff writer at The Palm Beach Post (and, full disclosure, a friend of mine), who was biking in Big Cypress National Preserve, when he came upon an astounding scene: A python attacking, and ultimately strangling, an alligator. He videotaped the battle with his iPhone, a dramatic video that’s since gone viral, and become an important document for those who study wildlife in that region. (www.palmbeachpost.com/news/video-big-cypress-bike-ride-watched-python-wrestle-alligator/YmShcrbLaGlyXpIFJyiUlM/)

COMEDY CORNER: Joe Zimmerman “Pet Snakes” (www.zimmermancomedy.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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