Is Happiness in Pets a Puppy Mill?
Puppy mills have become a growing problem in recent years, with an estimated 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States alone. These mass-breeding facilities often prioritize profit over animal welfare, leading to unhealthy and expensive pups with conditions that can range from mild to severe. As such, it is important to be mindful when buying a pet.
What Does a Puppy Mill Look Like?
Puppy mills usually consist of hundreds or even thousands of breeding dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Dogs are kept in dirty, wire cages and are often denied basic necessities such as water, food, and veterinary care. These conditions can lead to a multitude of health problems, from infection and malnutrition to blindness, deafness, and behavioral issues. Puppies from puppy mills are often sold through pet stores and online websites but can also be found at flea markets, auctions, and roadside stands.
What Can I Do to Avoid Supporting Puppy Mills?
Finding a responsible breeder is the best way to ensure that you don’t support puppy mills. Good breeders will practice good husbandry, provide health certificates and proof of veterinarian visits, and always welcome potential buyers to come and visit their facility to see the conditions of the dogs firsthand.
If you do decide to purchase a pet, here are a few tips to help ensure that you’re not supporting puppy mills:
- Visit the breeder in person and look for signs of a puppy mill. Ensure that the facility is clean and the dogs are well cared for. Observe the animals for signs of illness or distress, and look for signs of overcrowding or lack of exercise. Ask to see the mother dog and get as much information about the parentage and lineage of the pet as possible.
- Check out the breeder with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB can provide information about the breeder’s past conduct and customer experiences.
- Be wary of online advertisements and pet stores. While it’s possible to find a reputable pet online, it’s best to steer clear of mass-produced pets. Ask yourself: Does this seem like a mass-produced pet? Do the puppies seem to have identical physical characteristics?
- Avoid impulse buying. Purchasing a pet is a serious decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so be sure to research thoroughly and ask lots of questions before committing to a purchase.
Can I Help End Puppy Mills?
Yes! There are several ways that you can help support animal welfare and the fight against puppy mills:
- Adopt from a shelter. Adopting from a shelter or rescue group is often the best way to find a healthy, happy pet.
- Report any suspicious activity. If you suspect that someone is running an illegal breeding operation or otherwise exploiting animals, report them to local law enforcement and animal protection organizations.
- Support legislation that seeks to improve animal welfare. Keep an eye out for bills and initiatives in your community that work to strengthen animal welfare laws, and show your support.
- Donate time or money to animal welfare charities. There are numerous organizations that work to promote animal welfare, both locally and nationally. Consider donating your time or money to these organizations and doing your part to help end puppy mills.
Finding the right pet can be a very rewarding experience, but it is important to do your research and make sure you are not supporting the puppy mill industry. By avoiding puppy mills and supporting animal welfare organizations, you can help ensure that dogs are treated with respect and dignity.