Saturday, September 19th marked Puppy Mill Awareness Day.
I know people are generally aware of what puppy mills are, but is everyone aware just how deplorable these operations are? To say it’s heartbreaking is an understatement.
At a previous job, one of our duties was to inspect the animals that a local mall pet store acquired from a, erm, “breeder” as they arrived from the airport. They were always sick. The pet store owner always got mad when I documented their maladies. Eventually he started requesting a vet other than me to do the physical exams, a vet more conducive to his sales environment. And I would invariably see them again after they were purchased, a few weeks later, with illnesses including but not limited to kennel cough, distemper, and parvo. Which they couldn’t afford to treat since they had just spent $2000 on the malti-poo-tzu-apso.
I know everyone here knows this, but it bears repeating. NO REPUTABLE BREEDER sells their pets to pet stores. If you see a puppy in a cage in the mall, it is from a puppy mill, and by purchasing it you are supporting more of this:
I know shelters and rescues aren’t for everyone, for a variety of reasons. Buying a pet is a choice many people make, and that is fine too. This post isn’t about the plight of pet overpopulation, which is a story for another day. This is solely about the horrific reality of commerical breeding operations which is allowed to perpetuate by an understaffed USDA, and more importantly, by all the people who buy from pet stores and keep these mills in business.
I have a client, and I love her dearly, but she keeps getting dogs from the local pet store. She says she walks by and feels sorry for them, and worries about what will happen to the dog if she doesn’t get them. “Well, hopefully they will go out of business,” I tell her, and she laughs. Then she gets out her wallet, because let me tell you I have never seen a list of maladies like the ones affecting her dogs. An incontinent Great Pyrenees. A boxer with luxating patellas. A bulldog with…well, all bulldogs are a mess so it’s hard to say if this one is any worse than all the rest, but still.
Resist the urge. Don’t do it. I know you won’t, but tell your mom not to either. And your neighbor. And your mailman. And your hairdresser. And all the people milling about the front of the pet store, but if you do choose to do that make sure you’re quiet about it and don’t do it for more than 5 minutes, because that’s about the time the employees notice you and have you escorted from the premises. Not that I would know from experience or anything.