Erie Puppy Mill Awareness


Volunteer Spotlight

Our volunteers are an integral part of EPMA and they mean the world to us. Our vital work is made possible by people like you. Simply said, we could not do this without you. Please read below to meet our featured volunteer.

karen cottrell

How did you first learn about the Erie Puppy Mill Awareness group?

I found the group at the BYC walk where I signed a poster showing support. The idea of a grass-roots movement to get the storefront in the Millcreek Mall to go humane was interesting. I could never stomach seeing those animals there, and learning more about the sources of those dogs was sickening. I started following on Facebook and my interest grew from there. Dr. Radford has done an impressive amount of research and I have done what I can to help spread the word about her work. This group is passionate!

Do you have any pets?

I went from a “no pets” person to “crazy dog lady” later in life. My husband begged for a dog for eleven years. We got Gemma in 2011. She was surrendered to The ANNA Shelter so we knew her story. After getting more involved with local shelters and rescues (and gaining confidence as part of Pack of Erie Dogs) we started talking about becoming a two-dog family. I saw a block-headed dog that had been abandoned - almost starved to death and tied up outside The ANNA Shelter in the freezing cold of January. Those images haunted me for months, not knowing if he lived or died. Once we met him, I knew it was meant to be and we added Diesel to our family in 2014. I explain it this way: Gemma changed my life, but Diesel changed me. I’ve become an advocate for the voiceless.

 What hobbies do you enjoy?

I like cooking, photography, spending time with friends & family, and supporting local businesses that make #MyErie a great place to live. We have a camp that’s a terrific escape for when we need to unwind.

What is your favorite animal?

I’m a dog person, for sure.

What do you like most about being involved with EPMA?

It’s satisfying to feel like we are making a difference. With the recent passing of a stricter animal cruelty law, Pennsylvania has become a more compassionate place to live. While people tend to focus on national politics, I’ve always believed that being interested and engaged on a local level is critical. Working closer to home has an impact that we see every day and those changes can have a ripple-effect. I have great hopes that the next step in anti-cruelty laws is to end puppy mills. If PA can do that, other states can (and will) follow. This is the next logical step and I believe we make this happen.