What You Can Do? No one has more power to fight puppy mills than the consumer. In each individual’s hands is the ability to stop the cycle of abuse that ends with the purchase of a puppy mill puppy at a pet store.
Don’t Buy A Dog From A Pet Store.
It’s that simple. Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Because it is virtually impossible to determine the quality of the breeding facility listed on the puppy’s papers, the more humane option is simply not to buy the dog at all. Although the consumer may be assured that American Kennel Club (AKC) papers guarantee a quality dog, in reality, nothing is further from the truth. After years of artfully dodging the question of how AKC papers could be registered to dogs and puppies found in the worst of puppy mills, the AKC itself is admitting the misconceptions that are connected with purebred papers.
Opt To Adopt Instead.
When you’re ready to bring a dog into your life, visit your local animal shelter. Millions of homeless dogs are waiting at animal shelters for life-long, responsible homes. You won’t be supporting the puppy mill industry, and at the same time, you’ll be fighting the tragic pet overpopulation problem. If you are interested in a particular breed, your animal shelter can help you locate a breed specific adoption group that will match you with the type of dog you want.
Unlike buying, adoption usually focuses on matching the adopter’s lifestyle and habits with the animal’s needs and characteristics. When an animal is sold, profit comes first. Most pet stores will sell an animal to almost anyone. A young puppy may be sold to someone who may not have the time to take care of her. The profit motive only puts the animal’s interests in jeopardy.
Make Your Voice Heard.
Outrage at the conditions found in many puppy mills has brought increased awareness to the issue. Legislators listen to calls and letters from constituents, and plan their priorities accordingly. Contacting your state and federal representatives does makes a difference. On the personal level, resolve to inform friends, neighbors, and family about the puppy mill issue. Many people who care deeply about animals are not always aware of the connection between the pet store puppy and the breeding female trapped for life in a mill.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for dogs housed and bred in puppy mills. Collectively, we can fight an industry that views dogs as mere profit machines. Dogs, our best friends and companions, deserve our best effort. After all the licks, wags, and love they have given us, we owe them this fight. Their lives depend on it.
Rachel A. Lamb is Director for Companion Animal Care at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in Washington, DC.