Dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They are playful, loyal, compassionate, curious and affectionate; they encompass all of the positive qualities an animal can have.
Dogs will spend their entire lives making their owners happy, all they ask for in return is love and a good home. Dog owners may be providing great homes for them after they’re purchased, but it’s where the dogs get their start that we should be worrying about.
Puppy mills are commercial dog- breeding facilities where profits are given priority over the health and well- being of the dogs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
These puppy mills force female dogs to breed frequently and give them almost no recovery time between different breeding periods. The dogs are not given proper veterinary care and are deprived of food and water. Usually, they live in small cages only 6 inches bigger than themselves, which is the minimum federal requirement, according to bestfriends.org.
Puppy mill dogs often contract diseases from the poor conditions they’re forced to endure, and then transmit those diseases to their puppies, who are then given to pet stores. Therefore, when people purchase them and take them home, it’s only a matter of time before the dogs’ health problems become apparent.
According to Petful.com, puppy mill puppies could have any number of health issues; including kidney and heart disease, blood disorders, shortened or missing limbs, gum disease, respiratory problems, deafness, blindness and so many more.
Dogs who are bred or who have lived in mills can also experience behavioral problems when interacting with people or other animals. They can be difficult to house break, have difficulty sleeping, be aggressive or shy, have anxiety and incessant trembling, be sensitive to light or sound and may be in constant fear of their surroundings.
There are ways to protest this inhumane practice, but it comes at a price: no longer will we be able to shop at pet stores. Many pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills, and they will say that it’s all legal and within the government regulations. But what they don’t tell people is that the regulations put on breeding facilities are very broad.
The legal minimum size of a cage is only 6 inches width from the animal on all four sides, that’s barely enough room for the dog to turn around in. Not to mention these mills aren’t exactly focused on how much exercise or one- on-one time the dogs receive. Dogs leave mills with diseases and deformities for a reason: their breeders do not care how happy or healthy they are and are not working on behalf of the dogs’ best interests. All mill breeders care about is exploiting these dogs for a pro t, and it’s up to us to stop it.
Puppy mills don’t exactly like to advertise their locations, so we can’t stop them directly. What we can do is boycott pet stores that get their supply from mills and eventually put them out of business. According to an interview conducted by Forbes with a puppy mill documentary producer, 99 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.
The solution is actually quite simple- we must have the willpower to ignore the face of that doggy in the window. If we stop demanding dogs from pet stores, their supply from puppy mills will decrease. The mills will then dry up and shut down, no longer pursuing more dogs to breed. Pet stores would stop selling dogs and only sell toys, food and supplies. The only way to buy dogs would be from certified dog breeders, ones who take proper care of their animals and ensure they go to loving homes.
In a perfect world, this would allow for a safer and more humane way of breeding the puppies that we all love so much.