Sunsethills Puppy Farm: Rorie’s story, a puppy’s Hard Labour

As you know Farms of Shame sometimes take up the story of an individual dog in a puppy farm. I was sent a picture of  a puppy, not a happy and confident puppy but a puppy just about to have puppies herself for her puppy farmer owner,. Looking into her eyes I felt that we should try to tell the story of this sweet and shy puppy that was bought not to love but just to make money, given a sketchy pedigree and described as an Australian Labradoodle.

Here she is

Sunsethills Crimson Aurora was born on the 4th of December 2003, the result of a mating between a poodle and a cocker spaniel crossed with a labrador (or so they said). Of course puppyhood is just an inconvenience to a puppy farm and she was mated at 7 months old by Melinda Radus to a poodle and had her first litter at only 9 months old on the 25th of September 2004  at Sunset Hills Puppy Farm. She shed hair so in order to carry on the pretence of breeding “hypoallergenic ” dogs she was bred constantly from then on to poodles or dogs that were well over 80% poodle according to our researchers..

51/2 months later on the 2nd of March 2005 poor Rorie had another litter to a poodle. Her little body couldn’t cope and she had an emergency c-section almost a week early  We have a picture of her looking thin and miserable and shaved to the skin. She has some tiny puppies that Sunset Hills fought hard for as they had big money waiting for them and export deals.

You would think this 15 month old puppy had now done enough for her owner but sadly that was not all.

5 months later again  on the 11th of August 2005, Rorie had her 3rd litter after another difficult labour. The fact that she had only recently had a caesarean was not enough to give her a rest from producing puppies for sale. Rorie wasn’t fit to have a picture taken and photoshopped to the desired gold/red colour and anyway she wasn’t important, only the puppies mattered. as some were kept for breeding and sold for a minimum 25, 000 AUD as breeding stock. All this from a puppy bitch who had no real pedigree, just another mongrel. Rorie’s bitch puppies Elly, Abi, and Crimson were kept on to produce more puppies in America and Australia for Sunset Hills. 

Only 5 months after her last litter at the beginning of January 2006 Rorie was exported to America. She was 7 weeks in whelp and had her puppies at Alpenridge, Sunsethills’ American branch on the 23rd of January. This branch was first set up with Melinda’s mother Sue Broady described on the website: Sue is a wonderful and caring person who has been involved in animal breeding programs for over 30 years now.   She has a great love for animals and a talent for developing breeding programs.

Note the picture of Sue Broady
By the time Rorie was sent heavy with pup for the long and uncomfortable trip to her new “home” at Alpenridge there had been some changes, Sue Broady is now called Crystalyn Widic  but with an identical description:  Christalyn is a wonderful and caring person who has been involved in animal breeding programs for over 30 years now.   She has a great love for animals and a talent for developing breeding programs.

Click on the picture of the 2006 website and you can see the Sue Broady picture now labelled Crystalyn.

This is Sunset Hills new Breeding Center located in the USA.  Our Center is operated by Christalyn Widic recently relocated from Crooked River Ranch, Oregon to Elko, Nevada, the home of the anual National Cowboy Poetry Contest!

Sunset Hills is like most puppy farms, nothing is quite what it seems, names are changed at will and we are all expected to believe everything we are told. These farms trade on the gullibility of the public who after all only want a puppy to love.

I don’t know whether life was better or worse for little Rorie in America, but I do know that she was still not allowed to just be a young dog given freedom to have fun and love with a family.

5 months later on the 2nd of July 2006 after finally having some health testing done, Rorie had her 5th litter in America at Sunset Hills new breeding centre Alpenridge. After that we do not know what happened to her. I hope she was finally retired as they claim and allowed to have a life, not just litter after litter of puppies until her poor body could take no more. Rorie, a cheap little cross breed puppy, earned hundreds of thousands for her owners, she deserved a wonderful life after being sentenced to Hard Labour every 5 months. Rorie’s life was not exceptional at Sunset Hills, it was typical for any bitch unlucky enough to remain in the kennels.

I believe that loyalty is a virtue  we should all respect, but there comes a time when we need to look carefully at what demands our loyalty and judge if it is worthy of it. In this case Sunset Hills has clearly got a number of loyal friends but it is time they took stock. I know many already have.


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19 Responses to Sunsethills Puppy Farm: Rorie’s story, a puppy’s Hard Labour

  1. ellie says:

    How the hell did this little bitch have 5 litters 5 months apart? Were Sunset Hills using hormones to bring her back into season?

  2. Other bitches in the kennels at that time had multiple litters with 5 to 6 months between them, it isn’t completely impossible but Rorie’s breeding record with no less than 5 litters with only 5 months between them would make any “normal” dog breeder wonder if drugs were used or just puppies removed early to bring her heat on. That could be the explanation, if anyone knows for sure I would like to hear from them.

  3. purple rain says:

    After a bitch has a caesarean they tend to have different heat patterns, but also many bitches have trouble giving birth with their next litter so tend to need another caesarean. Litter sizes tend to go down in number following many caesareans. To combat this hormone drugs can be given (the same type that are given to pigs) thus bringing the bitch into season again and producing.
    One must question the health of these puppies being produced in this way. It’s not the healthiest way to breed but if you are only after money it works. Of course the hormones given to the dam would pass on to the unborn puppies.

  4. alison says:

    thankyou purple rain…
    i think that this information is also useful when assessing the Rutland Manor breeding system… many of their bitches were also bred young and multiple time within and 18 month period… Some of the other dog breeder forums have also discussed the use of hormones in breeding bitches, particularly the german shepherd breed foum.
    I have also questioned the rather large numbers in each litter with many of their bitches…particularly in some of the smaller sized dogs.
    best wishes

  5. Doodle Lover says:

    A Google search has produced the following:
    “Monté and Rorie’s puppies were not part of our planned litter’s for this year but even with all our planning sometimes Mother Nature (with the help of a 4 year old) makes our plans for us.” Sounds to me like it was an accidental pregnancy. So do you want the dogs roaming and free (which they obviously were) or locked in cages? I am now confused about what this site is trying to achieve. The following link: shows that the second litter was born in August ’05 and not March. That’s a big difference! Can’t find any record of any more litters after Jan 06. Rorie was desexed in 2006 and went to a loving home. I have found evidence that she was in a family environment as late as 2009.

    And as for Sue Broady v Christalyn Widic? I have only met her once and don’t know anything of her background but she does go by the name C. Sue Broady – I guess the C is Christalyn and I guess that she is like most Americans I know that use an initial or their maiden name in various circumstances. Probably a simple change that now looks quite sinister when you take it out of context without any attempt to find out why.

    I encourage others to do a little investigation themselves before blindly believing everything that is published here.

  6. Rorie’s second litter, all the dates and details on the Hawaian site agree with the details from staff I have of the second litter. Just go and look.
    Litters born to Sunset Hills bitches under 1 year old and contrary to State law were described as accidents (naturally enough) but had buyers waiting for them. Back to back breeding was carried out for as long as possible and then the bitch was usually sold on or exported.

    Would you like to accept now that what we are telling you is true : 5 litters with only 5 months between each? If you are a Doodle Lover as your name says, you can’t love this!
    Sunsethills Crimson Aurora
    Date of Birth 4th of December 2003
    1st litter 25th September 2004
    2nd litter 2nd of March 2005
    3rd litter 11th of August 2005
    4th litter 23rd of January 2006
    5th litter 2nd of July 2006
    I have no contacts in the American branch of Sunset Hills and don’t know whether there were more litters or if the pale cream bitch shown in pictures as Rorie retired was indeed her, we hope so!

  7. Justin says:

    Sunset Hills knowingly bred with Epileptic dogs for years – even sold the progeny as breeding dogs – it was all about money NOT the betterment of the breed or the welfare of the dogs. The ALA also knew about the Epilepsy and did nothing about it.

  8. Joyce Tabor says:

    This is something that really bothers me as a breeder and a person. I am not a member of the ALA or the ALAA or ALFA or ALCA – all organizations that state how much they want to improve the Labradoodle through health, temperament and confirmational guidelines. They state beautifully what their goals are and how their members comply with a ‘long list of requirements and ethics’. Well, here was an opportunity for the ALA to oust a member breeder for obvious neglect of the organizations ethics, etc., yet they have not. To date, her name is still listed as a member. ALL of these organizations have NOT followed their own rules. Why would any one want to be a member of such a ‘bowl of jello’ mentality that will not follow their own policies?

    When one does come to being that absolutely REQUIRES CERTIFIED health scores – not this prelim nonsense) through proof on professionally documented paperwork and does not have a Board of Directors that keeps changing the rules to support their own programs, I would consider joining such an elite group. There is no such thing at this time and all these organizations are is ‘global advertising’. There are no benefits to the client.

  9. For Joyce
    Very pleased to get a breeder’s opinion. Contrary to what the bad breeders say Animal Rights groups like mine are not against good breeding. How could we be when humans and dogs mutually benefit from their traditional friendship, where would puppies come from without breeders? We just want them to care for their dogs and breed ethically and within the law.

    The differences are so obvious when you compare the website of caring breeders to Sunset Hills and their like. Bitches with dates of birth and lists of health tests and recent photos, not page after page of head shots taken at 9 months only,and one eye testing result and NOTHING else. They can’t tell you more because to look good they have to lie, and liars are found out..

    I hope you find your “elite group”. Any group prepared to accept SSH or RM/TP offers no benefit to other clients or any of the dogs..

  10. Levi says:

    How sad to see that the ALA (Australian Labradoodle Association) are now allowing their members/breeders to purchase a puppy/dog from ANYONE and they will register it as long is the Hips and Elbows test OK!!!
    How the standards have dropped over time – it used to be that ONLY ALA Registered dogs were accepted into the breeding programs and these dogs were from Infused or accredited dogs which were only accpetd by following the required process for registering a dog into the ALA Database. Proof of parentage (pedigrees), hip and elbow testing, DNA Profile and prcd PRA DNA Test results. If a dog was to be infused into a members breeding program then strict standards were required.
    NOT NOW – the reputation of the ALA has been lost – along with the reputation of Sunset Hills !!!!

  11. nkny says:

    I bought a puppy from Sunset Hills and found them to be very professional. They shipped our puppy at 3 1/2 mths to Thailand. They offered to take our puppy back if we ever needed to give her up (which we would never). She is a lovely, healthy dog with a beautiful temperament. They had always replied to all my queries about how to groom etc and I was very happy with their service. The puppy has tattooed ears to show who the breeder is and she was desexed at 6weeks (which I thought was a bit early) before arriving at us.

  12. fiona says:

    I actually own Elly, who is one of Rorie’s pups from her second litter. I also met Rorie at the time and in no way was she an abused dog. Elly was in Melinda’s breeding program and had only 3 litters and was then desexed, younger than 5 years when her contract was actually up. Melinda always asked us ( as her family care home) if we where happy for her to breed before she was mated and assessed whether the dog was healthy enough for another litter. We also own one of Elly’s daughters and she also bred 3 litters over 5 years, hardly back to back breeding!. She is also desexed and both those dogs are currently lying by my feet, having had a long beach run and a bath today – hardly a tough life. I have known Melinda for 7 years and have always found her an ethical breeder and very caring of her dogs. I have sat up with her all night while she delivered my dogs puppies and seen first hand her close relationship with my dogs and her other dogs. Both my dogs were extensively health tested before they were bred and we knew they wouldn’t be bred if a problem was uncovered. They are both beautiful dogs with amazing temperaments and no significant health problems. People continually ask me who the breeder is as they are so impressed by them. None of this fits in with a puppy farm environment as far as I am concerned. It would be better if you looked for real puppy farms rather than continuing this witch hunt. And yes, she made money from her breeding program, I imagine most people do, but she also spent a lot of money on the dogs to ensure their health and safely.

  13. sue says:

    This is an awful thing to happen to rorie but i know for a fact that sunsethills is nothing like what has been written about them. The dogs that spend time at sunsethills are always keen to come back, they are taken care of to the highest regard, they have their freedom, they get feed extremely well. The people who work at sunsethills maintain a clean, healthy and happy environment and are always giving 110% effort into ensuring the dogs and puppies who are staying at sunsethills are treated like royalty. Stop slandering sunsethills, go out and take a look for urselves this is a great environment for dogs and puppies!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Jane says:

    In panic have just placed an option on a puppy from Sunset Hills at Lewiston SA Not payed for yet. Health tested says Y Puppies seemed well cared for etc. I am now very concerned .

  15. Silva says:

    You haven’t paid so there is nothing keeping you to this. Read this site and you realize its a multinational puppy why go ahead?

  16. Cindy says:

    I own Poetry In Motion (you can see her on their site in the Australian families area). I have no idea if what has been said about Sunset Hills is true or not but I do know that my dog was originally to e a breeding bitch. I was on the waiting list for the next litter. But at 4 months they found that she had an under-bite & so wouldn’t breed with her & offered her to me. I felt that they obviously inspected their dogs closely & didn’t pick just any old dog to breed with. Poetry is a wonderful loving, intelligent & high spirited girl & if any of the puppy mill claims are true I am so glad my girl has an under-bite & didn’t have to go through that torture.

  17. MaverickFA18 says:

    This is completely incorrect.
    Sunsethills are not a puppy farm. They take excellent care for the dogs and are very nice people and the dogs have a great time there and are cared for very well.

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