Here in Washington state, the newspapers covered a truly despicable puppy mill. The papers were explicit in their description of what was found. The state of many of these animals, confined for years to metal cages, without ventilation, breathing and suffering from ammonia fumes released by their urine, standing knee deep in their own feces, living in darkness and terrified of the light, were unable to connect to human beings as they had probably never been touched by one except for the time the animal was picked up and thrown into its cage.
Yet the family providing “adorable puppies” from their puppy mill was doing a multi-million dollar business each year. Obviously, no one was walking into the dark shed with the metal cages and picking out a puppy, so how did they manage to sell them?
The daughter of the puppy mill owners had a beautiful home. The puppies would be cleaned up and brought to the home where people would come to see what they thought were well-cared for, loving puppies.
And so the process perpetuated itself.
Believe it or not, the woman received only a 9-month sentence; the husband’s sentence (9-months) was suspended and both were given community service. Both are now past their probation and it is legal for them to breed dogs again! For many puppy mills, however, censure only applies to the state where the puppy mill was located. No problem. Most puppy mill purveyors just move and start right up again in another state.
Please think about this the next time you see adorable puppies on a flashy web site or look inside a store window with puppies for sale. Or, if you are buying through a breeder, investigate thoroughly the person or organization who provides them. Best of all, and a positively sure way not to perpetuate puppy mills: Get a dog from your local animal shelter!
According to the Humane Society of the United States, approximately 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year. Sadly, 60 percent of the dogs (and 70 percent of the cats) are euthanized.
Twenty-five percent of the dogs who enter local shelters are purebred. So even if you want a special kind of dog, perhaps a certain breed, many shelters will be happy to alert you when one is available or provide you with the name of a breed rescue group.
And please, consider the shelter’s older dogs. Even a one-year old dog is likely to be house-broken and eager to give you lots of licks in appreciation for a new and loving home. And with a mature dog, you don’t have to find out that the tiny puppy you got because you wanted something small who wouldn’t break all your little glass objects d’art grew into a giant 150-pound klutz.