Saturday, October 15, 2011
Puppymills and how YOU can help stop them!
Today is the day bloggers all over are trying to spread the word about puppymills and Petland. It seems the Canadian Petland, tired of the protests over puppy sales in front of their stores, stopped selling puppies. Sadly Petland stores in the states have not followed suit. We really want them to follow suit.
Ironically I started my day by watching the ending of the movie "Hotel for Dogs" while eating my breakfast. It of course made me cry like a baby. But then again I have always been a sucker for a happy ending and music that swells creating emotional moments. Hotel for Dogs is a very cute movie if not almost entirely unrealistic. Except for the part about the horrifically large number of dogs in need of homes of course. That part is sadly very realistic.
I find it interesting that people still need to be educated about why it is a bad idea to buy a puppy from a pet store (or an online puppymill) in this age of the internet. But then I remember that kids grow into teens, that grow into adults that might not know any better. Or that not everyone lives on facebook. Sadly petstore puppies are most often bought by people who just don't know any better. (or they are drunk, the newest phenomenon to be seen in petstores) And online puppymills are very slick in how they sell dogs. "Oh the puppy you wanted isn't available anymore, but we have this other one....." Don't get me started about how they steal photos from responsible breeders websites to bait their buyers with.
So here are a few reason why I, and most other dog trainers, are against puppymills and pet store puppies.
The dogs at a high volume breeding facility are treated like product, not like pets. This can mean extreme stress for the mother dog during her pregnancy which can cause damage to unborn puppies. It has been proven that hormonal changes can cause learning disabilities in the pups they produce. This is also usually a very awful life for the dogs at the facility. Little to no human contact and sleeping in small cramped cages with no bedding day after day listening to all the other dogs bark their frustration. Wouldn't this drive you crazy?
Most puppies from these high volume breeders are taken away from their mother and siblings to early to keep them small and cute for the pet shop window. The stores need them tiny and cute as long as possible to bring in the impulse puppy buyer. If they don't sell fast they cost more to feed after all and may outgrow their "sales cages". A puppy taken away to soon is prone to behavioral problems down the road including separation anxiety, fear of people, aggression to other dogs and lack of bite inhibition. Oh but they forget to tell you that part. Of course most workers in pet stores don't know this either.
No responsible breeder would EVER sell their pups to someone else to sell for them. No matter what a pet store tells you. "Our pups come from good breeders and are raised in a local home". I call shenanigans! A responsible breeder cares where those pups go to and screen those potential homes. Not everyone should own a _______. (insert breed here) Responsible breeds do health testing and will even take back a puppy should something not work out in the new home. (or help the owner place the dog) They will even be there as a resource for training and health questions. Try getting a pet store to help you with that 2 months past the sale!
Some people would say that I shouldn't care where people get their dogs. People with dogs that have behavior problems are my bread and butter after all. But there's the thing, I love dogs. I don't want dogs to be mistreated. Dogs in puppymills are mistreated every day. If by no other fact than as companion animals they suffer being in those kennels day after day and not being in a real home with daily contact from people. It is cruel. It is cruelty done in the name of making money. Remember those dogs are being raised to be product after all.
So to help shut down puppymills we can do a few things. One is to go to Be The Change for Animals and sign the petition. This will let Petland know what we think about their practice of selling puppies. The other is to NEVER shop in a pet store that sells animals. Why support them with any of your money if they support puppymills? And the last, but the hardest for some people, is to NEVER buy a puppy from a petstore. (or online website) Buying just means you are part of the supply and demand chain. If they can't sell their puppies and make money then there is no reason for them to keep breeding. Breaking the chain is the only way to end the cycle.
There are many other options for getting a puppy. Check your local shelters, purebred rescue groups, and responsible breeders. You just might need to be a little more patient for those options. But don't you think saving dogs from a life of misery and hell of living just to produce puppies is worth waiting for?? I do. Now go sign that petition and spread the word. It's important.