The question you should really ask is, “Where did that Doggie come from?”
Pet store puppies do not come from reputable breeders. They’re born in puppy mills, to dogs that live their lives on wire, kept in small cages. The bottoms of the cages are left open wire so feces and urine fall through. Cages are stacked on top of one another so the dogs beneath are often filthy from the dogs above. The dogs’ feet are distorted from never having their feet on a solid surface. Rescued dogs have been known to have difficulty walking because of their years in a wire cage. It typically takes over a year for the urine stains to be cleared from their fur, if ever they are.
A female dog in a puppy mill is typically bred every season, producing several litters a year. When these dogs are rescued and spayed, veterinarians have said their uterus is like jelly and falls apart in their hands. Some dogs have scars that indicate the owners performed home C-sections on these dogs to save a little money. No one knows if proper anesthetic is used for these surgeries.
Puppy mill dogs are often registered with AKC. Just because the puppy from the pet store has AKC papers does NOT mean it’s a quality-bred dog or that caring owners bred it. A good breeder wants to know who is buying their puppy. They would never leave their puppies in a store where they didn’t get to meet the new owners first.
Why are puppy mills allowed to exist? Isn’t someone watching them?
Since 1971, the USDA has issued licenses to breeding facilities that include puppy mills. Their purpose is primarily to promote commercial farmers, not to police them. Out of 4100 licensed dog breeders in 1998, only 29 had their licenses revoked as a result of USDA inspection. There are no figures available for unlicensed breeders. AKC will register a litter for anyone who sends in the funds for registration. Neither the AKC nor the USDA makes the shutting down of puppy mills a priority.
What can YOU do? You can do a lot.
First, boycott all pet stores that sell dogs or cats. Don’t buy ANYTHING from a pet store that sells these animals and make it a point to tell them that you are boycotting them until they change their practice.
Secondly, tell your friends and family about puppy mills and ask them to boycott the stores as well.
Adopt animals from animal shelters or rescue groups instead of buying your dog or cat in a pet store.
Support your humane society and other rescue groups.
Encourage your favorite pet store to sponsor rescue groups and the humane society in their store for animal adoptions. It’s good for the animals and good for store business. Tell the store you support businesses that support animals and boycott those that support the puppy mill industry.