Jim Long has never considered himself an animal-rights activist. But when he read about the conditions of dogs at so-called "puppy mills," he wanted to take action.
"It's not that I take a particular interest in animals," he said. "I just don't want to see them abused."
Long of Sharon learned about puppy mills--large, commercial breeding facilities where puppies and mothers get inadequate care and little exercise or socialization--on the Internet. He started protesting pet stores that sell puppies because he believes that most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.
"That's when I came up with the idea of the truck, that it would really capture people's attention and educate them," he said.
Long certainly has succeeded on his first goal. He painted his pickup truck with anti-puppy mill slogans in April. The messages list the problems puppy-mill dogs face: "No exercise. No play. No vet care. Dirty food. Cage-wire injuries. Cruelty."
But the most eye-catching part of Long's truck is the cages stacked in back filled with fuzzy stuffed dogs. He wanted to show people how dogs in puppy mills are raised.