Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Can We Do TO STOP PUPPY MILLS ........

Puppy Mills: What Can We Do to Stop Them?

Yesterday, I saw a puppy in my practice. He was an adorable little puppy and his new owner had just purchased him from a local pet shop. Naturally, they were very proud of the new member of their family and very excited. I don’t blame them. I would be too. The problem is that on examining this puppy, I found lots of different problems, most of them genetic in origin. I’m not going to go into the details because they really only matter to the puppy’s new family and to me as his new veterinarian.
However, this puppy’s story is indicative of a much bigger problem. This puppy started life in a puppy mill and his story is played out every day in veterinary hospitals all across the United States. In fact, Dr. Laci Schaible writes about the same topic in her blog post, My Puppy Mill Plea. The unfortunate part is that these puppies are destined to lead unhealthy lives and many of them will die earlier than necessary because of the health issues they were born with. The other unfortunate thing is that we, as a society, continue to let this happen.

Why Do Puppy Mills Continue to Exist?

Is it just because we, as a society, don’t care? I really don’t think that’s the case. In fact, when the public became aware of the plight of these puppies and their parents through coverage by the mainstream media, many people rushed out to rescue these dogs and the number of puppy mill puppies sold sky-rocketed. Obviously, this was a well-intentioned reaction with an unwanted result! 

What Can We Do to Get Rid of Puppy Mills?

I wish I had all the answers here. Unfortunately, I do not! However, here is what I know:
  • If you buy a puppy from a puppy mill, you’re part of the problem instead of part of the solution, no matter how good your intentions are.
  • Most, if not all, pet stores that sell puppies obtain these puppies from puppy mills. When you buy a puppy from a pet store, you increase the demand for these puppies.
  • Pet stores (and puppy mills) are not the only source of purebred puppies. And they are not even the best source. Reputable breeders produce much healthier, better adjusted puppies.

Is There Something You Can Do to Help Stop Puppy Mills?

There are several things that you can do to help put an end to puppy mills and the cruelty, neglect and abuse that the animals housed there are forced to endure.
  • Do not purchase puppies from pet stores.
  • If you are considering purchasing or adopting a new puppy or an adult dog, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue.
  • If you have your heart set on a purebred puppy, purchase from a reputable breeder. Or better yet, consider adopting from a breed rescue. There are breed rescues for all breeds of dogs.
  • Support legislation that regulates what type of housing and care must be delivered in puppy mills and kennels.
  • Support legislation that bans the sale of live puppies in pet shops. Pet shop owners would have you believe that these laws are part of governmental attempt to legislate small business and argue that this type of legislation oversteps the role government should play in business. Perhaps that’s true in part. However, there is much more at stake here than just a businessman’s ability to run his business. The price that must be paid in animal lives is too high to allow this particular business decision to persist. How many animals is it okay to sacrifice is the name of free enterprise?
  • Consider fostering or adopting a dog rescued from a puppy mill. Many of these dogs have never seen the light of day, have had inadequate care and are in tough shape. These rescued dogs need safe homes with patient owners.

Blood Pups: A New Emerging Term for Puppy Mill Puppies?

My friend, Mel Freer, in her blog No Dog About It, recently wrote Blood Pups: The New Term for a Pet Store Puppy. In this article, she suggests patterning the nomenclature used for pet store puppies (and puppy mill puppies) after the so-called “blood diamonds” that are sold in the jewelry industry. The theory here is to bring attention to the origins of these puppies. 
Can this approach work? Can stopping puppy mills be as simple as renaming them? Probably not by itself, but as part of an overall plan, it may be effective. One thing is certain: What we are doing now is not enough. We need to do more to stop this abhorrent practice. So perhaps it’s time to consider changing our tactics. The term “blood pups”, in my opinion, pretty effectively illustrates the plight of these puppies. 
Now, it’s your turn. What do you think about using the name “blood pups”? Do you have other ideas for stopping the puppy mills and putting them out of business? Have you rescued a puppy mill survivor? Or purchased a puppy mill puppy? Please share your thoughts and stories with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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