LIFE photographer Stan Wayman took the photos above for a February 4, 1966 article called Concentration Camps for Dogs. The graphic images and the story of dog robbers selling pets to research labs helped bring about passage of the Animal Welfare Act in July of 1966.
On Monday Slate began a five-part series about the Animal Welfare Act and about a Dalmatian named Pepper, "the stolen dog who changed American science."
Pepper's journey in the summer of 1965 helped start a national media sensation and a broad panic over the theft of pets for biomedical research. Her death on an operating table in the Bronx would help animal welfare advocates break a long-standing stalemate in Congress and push through the most significant animal-protection bill in American history. At the same time, she became a martyr to the cardiology revolution at a crucial moment in its development. Pepper also represents a turning point in science, from an earlier age when animals for experiment would be plucked from the road or the river, to a new era of standardized, mass-produced organisms that can be shipped right to the laboratory door. In a five-part series to be published over the course of this week, Slate will explore her legacy.
"Dan Engber's part-reporting, part-storytelling, part-memoir of his own experiences testing animals (don't worry, not dogs) makes for a compelling read," sez the Daily Beast. Plenty compelling, but be warned that it's also a gut-wrenching story for anyone who loves dogs. And how depressing is it that in 2009 there are puppy mills as bad as anything Stan Wayman photographed for LIFE? Very, very depressing.