We would like to think that no one supports animal cruelty. But not everyone knows how puppy mills and animal cruelty go hand in hand. It is a problem that has been going on for a long time, operating in the shadows of the past, going unnoticed, but is now being brought out into the open where animal activists can work to put a stop to this inhumane practice.
What is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is an operation that exists solely for the purpose of breeding and selling puppies – the more, the better, because the bottom line is all that matters to these breeders, meaning that the well being of the dogs is not even a consideration. The only objective these breeders have is to sell as many puppies as they can, no matter the condition of the animal — these dogs can, and often do, have a host of health problems.
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Responsible breeders screen for hereditary genetic defects, working to produce the healthiest puppies possible. Puppy mills have no such practice. Another practice of responsible breeders is to provide adequate vet care, including testing for disease and administering immunizations for their puppies at the proper time. Puppy mills have no such policy.
The breeding mothers and fathers are usually kept in horrible conditions, either outside, regardless of weather, with no shelter, in filthy, cramped buildings, or in cages with wire bottoms that barely have enough room for the dog herself. These dogs are caged this way their entire life.
Breeding mothers are made to produce as many litters as physically possible, until their bodies are used up. When they are no longer able to have puppies, they are killed. The puppies themselves are not given adequate time with the mother and litter mates for proper bonding and socialization, which leads to other problems, such as extreme fearfulness, aggression, and anxiety.
How to Know if your Puppy is from a Mill
Unfortunately, many people think a pet store is a good place to get a puppy (The Truth about Pet Stores) ; however, the truth is that many puppies in pet stores are from puppy mills. Do not be fooled by the assurance that the puppy in the pet store is from a USDA licensed breeder. Puppy mills are USDA licensed! The standards for USDA licensing are ridiculously low and allow keeping animals caged for their entire lives. Another avenue through which puppy mills operate is over the internet or in newspaper ads — beware of all of these situations.
With Your Own Eyes
The only way to be 100% sure of the conditions your puppy comes from is to inspect them yourself. When purchasing a puppy from a breeder, visit the facility in person; ask to see the place the dogs are housed, and to meet the puppy’s parents. Responsible breeders genuinely care for the welfare of, not only the puppy parents, but all of the puppies themselves – these are their furry grandchildren and they treat them as such. Reputable breeders do not sell to just anyone. Reputable breeders are interested in the homes their puppies are going to, and will screen potential pet parents before approving them for a puppy. In addition, reputable breeders will offer a guarantee regarding the health of their puppies and usually have a policy of taking back the puppy at any time, because they do want to ensure they are taken care of.
Put the Puppy Mills Out of Business
While it is true that in the beginning of a grass roots effort to shut down puppy mills there will be little noticeable impact; however, if enough people are committed to refusing to purchase puppies from these operations, eventually the loss of profit will cause them to look for greener pastures. Pet stores will reduce the price of any unsold puppies until they are sold, and in the meantime, fewer puppies sold means less room for new puppies, fewer orders from mills, and falling profits. It is possible, but you must get involved.
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