Photo by Addison Geary
Tireless, relentless, driven, outrageously creative—a thousand adjectives leap to mind when one is asked to describe Bill Smith and the impact he’s had on the puppy-mill-rescue and pet-adoption movement.
Bill is one of those characters you meet in life that you never forget. His energy and charm are immediately captivating. Through a combination of self-deprecation, wit and searing intelligence, he wins you over, drawing you into his orbit.
We first met Bill when we were making a film about pet stores and the horrific puppy-mill industry. We were pointed in his direction by a number of folks who said he’d make an excellent source of information on the puppy millers who grossly mistreat the mothers and fathers of those cute puppies sold in pet stores to unsuspecting consumers.
Instead of melting into a bit role in our movie, Bill became the very backbone of the film. His natural skill as a first-class marketer has propelled Main Line Animal Rescue and its good work to national status. His famous billboard even won over Oprah, leading to three puppy-mill segments on her show. His efforts have been featured on all the networks and in countless newspapers and magazines.
But Bill has never sought the spotlight for himself, and he’s never developed a prima-donna persona. He can still be found driving down dark country lanes late at night, picking up neglected and abused animals. No task is too small when it comes to protecting the rights and dignity of God’s creatures.
Yet, anything Bill does during his day job pales in comparison to his efforts to raise funds for the cause. He’s a true inspiration and a national treasure. We, like the animals, are in his debt.
—Kelly Colbert, producer, and Andy Nibley,
director, both of the HBO documentary,
Madonna of the Mills