|When you see an adorable and purebred puppy for sale in a pet store, it can be tempting to open your wallet to get the animal and bring home / Photo by: elbud via Shutterstock|
When you see an adorable and purebred puppy for sale in a pet store, it can be tempting to open your wallet to get the animal and bring home. But have you ever thought about how that store obtained the puppy? Chances are it came from a puppy mill.
According to non-profit organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), dogs are forced to produce litter after litter to supply puppies to pet stores. Customers pay a high price for a cute puppy, oblivious to its mommy’s pain and suffering.
Non-profit media organization Sentient Media explained that puppy mills continue to exist and operate because there is demand. For example, most owners prefer purchasing purebred dogs over mutts. Hence, they are willing to pay for a dog they perceive as more valuable. Little do they know that puppy mills are rooted in a system of animal abuse and cruelty.
What Is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is an operation that breeds dogs for profit, not for the animals’ health and vitality. In the United States, it is estimated that there around 12,000 mills producing more than two million puppies each year. Each female in a puppy mill produces an average of 9.4 puppies every year. Some of the puppies die within days, as their exhausted and malnourished mothers do not produce sufficient milk for all of their offspring. Equally worse, puppies are wrested from their mothers far before the natural weaning process is concluded. Doing so causes depression, desperation, and poor socialization in puppies.
Puppy mills can house from a few to a thousand dogs. Operators do not care about the animals’ welfare so long as they profit from the dogs they breed.
Thus, they do not create a safe and clean environment for the animals, feed them nutritious food, or give them veterinary care. Many animals are forced to thrive in deplorable conditions and they die young due to disease, exhaustion, or neglect.
Dogs in mills sit in their own urine and droppings, develop infections of their hair follicles caused by lack of grooming, and get hit for “misbehavior.” Further, people tend to beat dogs simply because they want to rage out at the animals.
|A puppy mill is an operation that breeds dogs for profit, not for the animals’ health and vitality / Photo by: Oleg Proskurin via Shutterstock|
The Plight of Dogs in Puppy Mills
Neglect and Poor Conditions
Housing can consist of small cages made of wood, wire mesh, tractor-trailer cabs, or tethers attached to trees. Female dogs are killed or abandoned when they can no longer produce liter. Puppies are taken away from their mothers and sold to brokers.
Workers pack them in creates for sale or transport, and the puppies travel hundreds of miles in tractor-trailers, pickup trucks, or airplanes without adequate food, water, ventilation, and shelter. Conditions do not improve when puppies are transported from mills to pet stores. Dogs housed in small enclosures tend to exhibit destructive behavior, become unsociable, or bark excessively.
Emotional and Psychological Problems
Dogs in puppy mills spin, weave or run in circles to keep themselves preoccupied. Such behavior exhibits despair and boredom. Dogs need to be socialized with each other or their human companion to remain healthy. They also need to be mentally stimulated. However, mills deprive them of stimulation and social interaction.
Bred for Quantity, not Quality
People love purebred and designer dogs even if they have little to no knowledge of the breed. For example, Labradoodles and cockapoos are sold for thousands of dollars to unsuspecting buyers. Like any other dog, designer breeds are locked in small cages, which can result in paw and flank damage. They are also not allowed to socialize or get exercise.
It is common for genetic defects and personality disorders to manifest in dogs, passing them from generation to the next. These defects and disorders are unmonitored by mill operators. For owners who will purchase unsociable or maladaptive dogs, they will have to dispose of them eventually or spend money on costly veterinary bills.
No Veterinary Care
Ear and eye infections, kennel cough, intestinal parasites, and other health complications are rampant in puppy mills. Dogs there become extremely sick to the point that they can’t procreate. Many of the animals die due to health problems or possibly, they are inhumanely euthanized. Infected dogs transmit diseases to their puppies or to a human.
|In the United States, it is estimated that there around 12,000 mills producing more than two million puppies each year. Each female in a puppy mill produces an average of 9.4 puppies every year / Photo by: KITSANANAN via Shutterstock|
What Can You Do About It?
1. Stop Buying Puppies
Avoid pet shops and internet sellers as these sell puppies from puppy mills, reported pet website PetMD. If no one buys puppies from mills, then they will go bankrupt. It’s all supply and demand. If there’s no demand, then mills will have no incentive to supply more puppies. If you want a puppy, you might want to consider looking into an adoption shelter.
2. Avoid Impulse Buying
Just because a puppy looks cute in the pet shop doesn’t mean you should buy it. “You could end up with more than you bargained for” when you take it home, PetMD warned. Instead, purchase one from a reputable breeder who will wait for the puppy to be born or old enough to be taken home.
Be prepared to stand up for injustice to animals. Reach out to your friends and family and educate them about puppy mills. Tell them not to transact with people who abuse animals for profit. It’s unethical and not worth the investment.