If you’re in the market for a new dog, you’ve probably done research on the breed you want to bring home. From size and weight to personality traits, there are many things to consider when searching for the perfect dog for you and your family. But there is another piece of dog-buying research that is crucial in choosing your new best friend – where he was bred. Before you bring home your new pooch you should be familiar with the term “puppy mill” and understand the consequences of supporting this type of breeding.
Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given higher priority than the wellbeing of the animal, according to the ASPCA. Rather than being treated as living creatures, dogs in puppy mills are treated as machines that exist only to produce puppies for profit. Typically, the precious pups you see in the window at pet stores are a product of puppy mills.
Unlike responsible breeders, puppy mills are not concerned with producing the healthiest puppies possible – their main priority is to create as many puppies as they can, without consideration of genetic quality. By doing this, puppy mills produce generations of dogs with hereditary defects such as epilepsy, kidney disease, heart disease, deafness, eye problems and respiratory disorders.
The dogs in puppy mills are typically housed in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization, according to the ASPCA. Female dogs are often used to breed until they are physically depleted, then killed.
The best way to avoid supporting puppy mills is to not buy puppies from pet stores. Instead, consider adopting a puppy or adult dog from your local shelter. You’ll not only pay much less than you would a breeder or pet store, but you’ll be supporting your community and helping a dog in need. Visit your local shelter today to meet some of the sweet dogs available for adoption.
– Jen Burke, Butte Humane Society volunteer