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Mariah Hope, aka Little Tag 19:
A Puppy Mill Survivor

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Mariah Hope, formerly known only as Tag 19, was a puppymill survivor. She had cattle tags punched through both ears, a tag on a rusted chain around her neck, and a brand burned into the top of her head.


       This sweet-faced little miniature dachshund spent most of the first 10 years of her life in a 3' x 4' wire cage, which she shared with half a dozen other dogs. Her "jewelry" was a necklace of rusted chain with her mill ID number on it and "earrings" which were metal cattle tags punched through her ears. You can see the tears in her ears where she pulled them out. She also wore the scar from a hot branding iron on the top of her head for her entire life. The miller who owned her was very careful to mark his property.

       "Tag 19" was bred heat after heat, producing so many puppies that even she wasn't sure how many she'd had. Her feet were so damaged by living on wire mesh that she walked and stood on her leg joints rather than her pads. Later in her life, she wouldn't be able to walk at all.

       But "Tag 19" was one of the lucky ones: though after her last litter was born blind and the miller had no more use for her, the Oklahoma Dachshund Rescue did. "Tag 19," puppy mill breeder, became Mariah Hope, Queen of her new home and the hearts of her adopted family. Millons of puppy mill dogs are never rescued -- but all deserve to be a valued family member and not just a commodity.

       Mariah Hope lived to the age of 21 years, leaving behind the legacy of her story: She asks that you use what you might have learned from her story to educate the public to the horrors of puppy mills and help give the dogs their freedom.


Mariah Hope's neck tag and the tool that was used to insert the metal cattle tags in her ears.

Note:  USDA Animal Welfare Reguations, Subpart E: Identification of Animals, Sec.2.50, state in part that:

All live dogs...shall be identified by an official tag of the type described in Sec. 2.52 affixed to the animal's neck by means of a collar made of material generally considered aceptable to pet owners...or shall be identified by a distinctive and legible tattoo marking acceptable to and approved by the Administrator.

/2/...The use of certain types of chains presently used by some [Class A Licencees] may also be deemed acceptable...on an individual basis.... The use of materials such as wire, elastic, or sharp metal that might cause discomfort or injury to the dogs ... is not acceptable.

Sec. 2.51 describes the Form of official tag:

The official tag shall be made of a durable alloy such as brass, bronze, or steel, or of a durable plastic. Aluminum of a sufficient thickness to assure the tag is durable and legible may also be used. The tag shall be one of the following shapes:

(1) Circular in shape and not less than 1\1/4\ inches in diameter, or

(2) Oblong and flat in shape, not less than 2 inches by \3/4\ inch and riveted to an acceptable collar.

(b) Each tag shall have the following information embossed or stamped on so that it is easily readable:

(1) The letters ``USDA'';

(2) Numbers identifying the State and dealer, exhibitor, or research facility (e.g., 39-AB); and

(3) Numbers identifying the animal (e.g., 82488).

(c) Official tags shall be serially numbered. No individual dealer or exhibitor shall use any identification tag number more than once within a 5-year period.

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