Puppy Mills - The sad story behind pet shops
I'm guilty of passing the pet store in the mall and going inside to see the adorable puppies and kittens. In my heart I would love to take each one of them home. But also in my heart, I know that supporting stores that buy from puppy mills only supports these heartless operations. Buying one means an order for another.
What happens in a puppy mill?
Females are breeded over and over again until they can no longer go on or become ill. Then they are put to death. Puppies are kept in overcrowded cages, not allowed to run, and miss the affection so important to their well being. Often facilities are unkept, unclean, and unsanitary. Because these facilities do not remove sick dogs from their breeding schedules, many puppy mill dogs are born with heart problems, kidney ailments, eye issues, etc.
So how can you help?
First: Don't buy a pet from a pet store, or any facility that doesn't allow you to see the mother & father. This includes buying from websites. There are lots of pretty pictures that can be posted with a click of a finger. This dosn't mean what the site looks like is really where the puppies come from. Animals are long committments - take the time to meet the breeder, understand the characteristics of the breed, and meet the parents.
See a video on puppy mills /must-see-videos.html
Visit the ASPCA's site on Puppy Mills for ideas on how to help: http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/puppy-mills/10-ways-you-can-help-fight.aspx
Support organizations that fight puppy mills - North Shore Animal League, Best Friends, CAPS, etc. /links.html
Look for legislation in your town or state for protecting dogs and cats from mills. http://caps-web.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=228&Itemid=150
And when you or a friend are going to buy a dog or cat, go to the amercian kennel club: http://www.akc.org/puppybuyerinfo/index.cfm or a local shelter. Remember when you adopt from a shelter you save two lives: the one you adopt and the one waiting for a spot to open.