There are a countless number of problems facing our society today. People place them into different groups according to how important they believe the topic is. At the top of some peoples list would be topics like obesity, hunger, and pollution, but what about the topic of puppy mills. Do people realize how big of a problem puppy mills are? I don’t think they do. Even though puppy mills are not at the top of everyone’s world problems list they are a big problem facing our society today. Most people have an idea about what a puppy mill is, but they don’t know to exact definition of what a puppy mill is and what takes place there.
A puppy mill is an inhumane, dog-breeding facility where the health of all the dogs is disregarded in order to have fewer expenses and have a higher profit. What does that really mean though? It means that the dogs are kept in cages their whole life, feed and watered the bare minimum, and never get vet or any medical treatment for anything. According to McHugh-Smith, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, “Lots of times the animals aren’t properly vaccinated, are unhealthy, are too young, or are out in the sun all day” (Stephans).
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When dogs are kept in cages outside all day to fend for themselves in whatever weather they can get sick, get overheated, or even die from the heat or cold, but we have to ask our selves is it better to keep them caged in a dark room where the only sunlight they get is the door opening? Animals are like humans and need sunlight but not all the day. Wellesley Coun. Dussan Cizman, a former dog breeder who is now helping to shut puppy mills down recalls one dark barn where dogs, covered in feces and bugs, were housed in rabbit pens suspended form the ceiling (Nicole).
In other words puppy mills are cruel places were dogs are breed for profit at the risk of their health and well being. The damage done to dogs at puppy mills is life treating. The puppies that you buy from these breeders may have a number of these health related issues: epilepsy, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, anemia, deafness, glaucoma, parvovirus, kennel cough, pneumonia, mange, fleas, ticks, parasites, heartworms, and many other issues. Some of these issues can be fatal to the animal. The female breeding dogs in a puppy mill are breed as frequently as possible. The puppies they have are taken away from their mother prematurely.
This causes the puppies to have more health problems. The poor dogs in puppy mills may also be subjected to matted fur, over grown nails, injuries, and fighting. When puppy mills are shut down other surrounding shelters and kennels take the dogs in and have to clean them up, get them medical help, feed, and house them. That can add up to a lot of extra money that they don’t necessarily have to spend. If the puppy mill owner doesn’t pay their fines the shelter or kennels can put them up for adoption once they have completed their treatments. Even though most people think that puppy mills are going out of business, they are very wrong.
According to The Humane Society of the United States there are 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills (Humane). According the Animal Rescue Corps there are 15,000 puppy mills that produce millions of puppies a year (Animal). Puppy mills are not illegal or regulated. Many people think the AKC regulates puppy mills but all the AKC does is register dogs that have two parents of the same breed. “Puppy mills comprise 80% of the AKC’s business” (Friends) they certainly don’t help the puppy mill cause. Then you have the USDA who has few agents that are able to inspect all the puppy mills.
Even if they were able to inspect the licensed puppy mills there is no way of ever finding out where all the unlicensed puppy mills are. With over two million puppies sold annually that originated from puppy mills (Humane) it is hard to sell dogs and puppies that are in shelters. Three million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year in the U. S. (Humane). If we didn’t buy puppy mill puppies online or in pet stores we would save around one to two million dogs every year. Puppy mills are also not against the law which makes it extremely hard to shut them down. Although all 50 states have anti-cruelty laws intended to prevent neglect and mistreatment of dogs, most large-scale breeding facilities continue to operate in ways that mock these laws” (Humane). They are able to do this because there is no one to regulate the way they practice their business. Many people think that puppy mills are a dying industry, but they are growing. With so many puppy mill puppies being bought many breeders are able to expand their operations making more dogs suffer every day. Many things are being done to stop puppy mills every day, but they are barely making any head way to solve the problem.
There are now over 2,000 pet stores who will not sell puppies from puppy mills. In order not to sell puppy mill puppies they are not selling puppies at all. Around Chicago there are more than 2,000 puppies shipped from puppy mills (Humane). Instead of selling puppies they work with local Humane Societies to help get dogs adopted. Although this is a big step for the HSUS and pet stores there are so many more pet stores who still need to convert to this method. Government is stepping in and making more laws and rules to how breeding can be done by passing laws.
In El Paso County “Animals can no longer be sold, traded or given away on public roadsides or parking lost anywhere in El Paso County” (Stephens). Although this doesn’t limit the right to sell puppy mill animals or other animals it makes it harder for breeders to get their name and animals out to the public. “If you didn’t buy puppies from puppy mills, they wouldn’t be in business” (Nicole). That is the one and only thing we can do as citizens to stop puppy mills—stop purchasing puppies from pet stores, over the internet, from unknown breeders, and unlicensed breeders.
If the public doesn’t make and effort to stop purchasing these puppies there will always be a reason for a puppy mill. Good breeders will spend a lot of money to have a nice facility where the dogs are treated like pets and will make good pets. When Wellesley Township when the local government cracked down on breeding facilities Shirley Gerber, a 14-year dog breeder, devoted $70,000 to build one of the best facilities out there (Nicole). She only has thirteen dogs and they are not crazy for attention because they are raised properly and get to socialize not only other dogs but humans as well. I don’t make money like these puppy mills do” (Nicole), said Shirley. Another reputable dog breeder said, “I have very little (profit) left at the end of it” (Nicole).
Puppy mills can only be stopped by one thing and that is to stop buying puppies from places other than shelters, where you can go and see how they run things. Without doing this the buyer would never be able to see if the dogs came from a puppy mill or not, and chances are if they won’t let someone tour the facility they have something to hide. People with all ifferent types of religion and backgrounds may be selling puppy mill puppies. Amish for example have puppy mills because they believe that they can treat people however they want because in the Bible humans are put to rule over animals (Herbst). Whatever the reason is it is wrong. People don’t like being housed in tiny areas with no room to grow and move, why should animals be kept that way? They need to run and see day light and the inside of a nice warm house in order to be good pets. It’s time to take a stand against puppy mills.