Many of us want to experience the amazing companionship that comes with having a dog of our very own. But millions of people have been naturally conditioned to think “I want to go to the pet store and buy a puppy!” or “let’s look online for breeders!” rather than their instinct being to visit their local animal shelter.
The assumption that so many of us have been accustomed to believing is that we have to find a breeder to get a purebred dog. That is so far from true! The ASPCA says, “purebred dogs end up in shelters just like mixed breeds. Breed rescue groups exist for just about every breed possible. If you have your heart set on a purebred, please be sure to visit your local shelter or find a breed rescue group before searching for a breeder. If you can’t find what you want through a shelter or breed rescue group, please learn how to recognize a responsible breeder.”
The harsh reality that most people aren’t aware of is that 99% of all dogs sold in pet stores and online are from a PUPPY MILL, and almost 100% of these puppies are infested with parasites when you purchase them. The ASPCA defines a puppy mill as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation that places profit over the well-being of its dogs—who are often severely neglected—and acts without regard to responsible breeding practices. Unlike responsible breeders, who place the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible, breeding at puppy mills is performed without consideration of genetic quality. This results in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary defects. Some puppy mill puppies are sold to pet shops—usually through a broker, or middleman—and marketed as young as eight weeks of age. The lineage records of puppy mill dogs are often falsified. Other puppy mill puppies are sold directly to the public, including over the Internet, through newspaper ads, and at swap meets and flea markets.”
Dogs used for breeding are usually kept in cages with wire floors which injure their paws and legs. Cages are sometimes stacked on top of each other and lined up in columns, so waste falls on the dogs in the cages below them. Poor health, matting, sores, mange, severe dental disease and abscesses are usually widespread with puppy mill dogs. Many sick puppies manage to end up at pet stores and the new puppy owner unknowingly purchases the sick dog.
According to the ASPCA “No Pet Store Puppies” Website:
There are roughly 10,000 puppy mills in the US with Missouri and Oklahoma producing HALF of all the puppies sold in pet stores alone. Some puppy mills can have up to 1,000 adult dogs breeding at once and up to 400 puppies born every year – more than one born per day. Every year there are approximately 4 MILLION puppies born in puppy mills but only about 2,000,000 are sold online and in pet stores because many are born with or develop physical problems that make them unwanted and either end up abandoned or left to die.
Madonna of the Mills, a courageous woman who dedicates her life to saving dogs trapped and tortured in puppy mills, explains that “almost every puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog.” Breeding dogs usually spend their entire lives outdoors and the females usually have little or no recovery time between litters. When the females can no longer reproduce after a few years, the dogs are usually abandoned, shot, or starved until they eventually die.
If you still think that your breeder or pet store is telling the truth about their ethical breeding practices because they are “USDA licensed,” here’s what ASPCA has to say about that:
Below is the trailer for Dog by Dog, a documentary “that aims to wake up the American public to the horrible realities of puppy mills by following the money trail across the United States and confronting those that have maintained this corrupt and irresponsible system.”
There was also a special episode on the Oprah show dedicated to exposing puppy mills after she saw a billboard just off the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago that said “Oprah: Do a show on puppy mills. The dogs need you” created by Bill Smith, the founder of Main Line Animal Rescue.
There are people out there like the ones you see in the videos that have the resources and the means to expose the torturous conditions the dogs are living in. But without your help to spread their messages and get the word out to the masses, these dogs will continue to suffer.
Just to give you an idea of how little attention this horrible epidemic receives: The Madonna of the Mills trailer was posted on YouTube 3 years ago has only been viewed 2,007 times as of today. The Oprah episode is the only copy of the show on YouTube and has been viewed 464 times. The dog by dog documentary trailer was posted nearly a year ago and has only received 5,834 views.
People are constantly sharing “viral videos” on social media and talking about them with their friends, so why aren’t videos and documentaries as important as these being shared or viewed just as much if not more?
You are probably feeling just as as troubled, devastated, sick, hurt, and helpless as I am after learning about puppy mills. But you CAN do something to help! It is as easy as SHARING the knowledge and taking a stand against purchasing puppies from pet stores and online! The more people that learn what is going on, take a stand against puppy mills, and stop buying from pet stores that sell puppies, the less puppy mills there will be until they become extinct all together. If no one is buying the puppies, the money-hungry puppy mill owners will have no choice but to stop the cruelty.
There are so many shocking facts and lessons to be learned about puppy mills that cannot possibly be explained in one blog post, so please do more research for yourself and read the ASPCA FAQ’s about puppy mills.