How often have you gone to the pet store and stood staring at the beautiful little puppies and kittens on display? Sometimes you can pet them, hold them and cuddle. And boy do they love the attention. Ever wondered what that little puppy has undergone before it landed up at your local pet store?
Here is the harsh reality. Almost all pet store puppies come from puppy mills. These puppies and their parents are subjected to extremely harsh and filthy living environments. A puppy mill is a for-profit organization which seeks to minimize overhead costs and focuses on generating revenue. This means that a puppy mill will focus on breeding dogs and selling them as quickly as possible, and until that sale is made, the dogs are made to live in appalling conditions.
Since the focus is on minimizing costs, very often 3 – 4 small dogs are stuffed into a single cage with hardly any room to move around. They are fed poorly and often develop diseases due to poor hygiene. Many a time, these dogs develop behavioral problems due to the extreme conditions they are raised in. Most puppy mills have poor lighting, ventilation and sanitation. Very often these animals even lack access to veterinary care. To say that these puppy mills are cruel, would be putting it mildly. Here is a video by the Humane Society of the United States which throws some light on the pathetic conditions of these poor animals.
Every year, retail pet stores sell more than 500,000 dogs, while 5 to 7 million dogs enter shelters. In many states, puppy mills are legal. Only 26 states in the U.S have laws to regulate commercial kennels to prevent cruelty to animals. It is hence our responsibility to look out for our canine friends. When you are looking for a pet, make a conscious choice. Check in your local shelter to see if you can find a pet suitable to your needs. If you choose to go to a breeder, ensure that the breeder has a good reputation. Do your research. A good breeder will ensure that the animal has been treated well and is healthy and happy. The need for a good home for the pet ranks higher than profit for a breeder of repute. Avoid purchasing your pet at pet stores or online. Most pet stores deny sourcing their puppies from puppy mills and do not disclose the true history of the animal. Before making a decision to buy from a pet store, explore other reliable sources.
Pets bring great joy into our world. It is our responsibility to ensure that cruelty towards these wonderful creatures is stopped.
Article by Madhumita Ganapathy
Madhu, having grown up in a household that always had pets, fell in love with animals at a very young age. She firmly believes that until one has loved, nurtured and cared for a pet, one’s life remains incomplete. She loves writing, travelling, and meeting new people. Madhu lives in Stamford and joined STARelief as Social Media Director to lend her marketing expertise in spreading the word and creating awareness. Connect with her on Twitter @MadhuG86