Thursday, March 18, 2010

Puppy Mills - written by a teenager

Puppy Mills are one of the worst forms of animal cruelty in our world. It is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where dogs and other animals are sold to make a profit under very unsanitary and crowded conditions. Unlike responsible breeders, these people treat their animals with no care and it is extremely unhealthy for the animals that live there. Considering there is an outrageous amount of dogs being bred in puppy mills, they are partially responsible for the overpopulation of dogs in this country. There are about four to six million new sheltered animals every single year. Because not all of them will be able to find a home, half of these animals are euthanized.
Typically, when a puppy turns the age five to eight weeks old, they will be sold to a broker. A broker, or middleman, will buy the puppies from commercial kennels and sell them to any retail outlet that will take their product. The only way someone can become a broker or middleman, they have to be licensed by the USDA. The USDA licenses more than 4,500 animal dealers, most of them breeding cats and dogs. This makes it much easier and more convenient to make a profit off all these dogs. Usually, the animal will travel to the pet store after they are sold either by air or truck in hot or cold and uncomfortable conditions. The lineage records of the puppy mill dog are normally falsified. More often, the puppy with the falsified record is usually because the puppy does not meet the requirements to be sold to a pet store legally. If the puppy becomes sick or is born with any kind of physical condition, they are often killed considering pet stores and most others will not want to buy it. When something like this happens, operators get rid of the sick or hurt animal in the most cheapest and convenient way possible. Only a responsible breeder will want to meet you before selling anybody one of their “prize pups”, making sure that they will go to a great home. However, the mother and father of that cute puppy you will see in the pet store’s window are unlikely to survive and are living horrible lives.
Puppy Mills were first introduced to the public after WWll. Many farmers felt it very difficult to make a living after WWll ended and found selling chickens and cows do not make a bigger profit then selling puppies. The U.S. department of agriculture began breeding purebred puppies as a “fool proof cash crop”. Sadly, only an estimated ¼ of dogs are purebred in shelters do due inbreeding in Puppy Mills. Brokers set up seminars to teach farmers how to operate breeding facilities. Thirty years later in Lancaster County, PA made the highest amount of Puppy Mills in any county in the entire nation. Pennsylvania earned their infamous nickname as the “Puppy Mill Capital of the East”. Today Missouri is considered the Puppy Mill state in the country. Puppy Mills then began to spread the most in Pennsylvania and then throughout the rest of the country. Because the USDA has been severely criticized for the lack of aggression against animal abuse and neglecting to take care of all these Puppy Mills, millions of letters were sent from many pet lovers out there. Pennsylvania’s legislators eventually passed the H.B 2525 in 2008. This provides all the basic laws that are appropriate enough for a Puppy Mill. It bans wire flooring and the stacking of cages, plus dogs must have free access to outdoor exercise two times the size of the primary enclosure, and vet exams for all dogs once a year. Since then, Pennsylvania’s Puppy Mills have been much better at taking care of their animals.

A Puppy Mill is not exactly some place anybody would want to live in. Some facilities are completely filled with trash, piles of animal waste, tiny coops filled with ants, roaches, and rats that share dirty food bowls and dry dishes. Wired cages are piled on top of each other to minimize cleaning with absolutely no concerns of waste disposals below each cage. Food in water is often contaminated by fesses and the unsanitary conditions around. The food that is given to dogs has very little nutritional value in it, but that is even if the dog gets any of the food at all. A Puppy Mills “breeding stock” is where all the dogs are kept. They spend their entire lives in wired cages, boxes, animal carriers, shopping carts, or anything convenient. Dogs are overcrowded in unsanitary conditions with no veterinary care, very little water, no socialization with humans and will have no interactions with toys, going out for walks, exercise, and any type of basic grooming. Most dogs are crammed inside filthy areas where they will never get to experience the warm sun on their faces, the smell of fresh air, or get to feel the soft grass. Some dogs are exposed to all outdoor elements their whole lives. They often suffer from extreme heat in the summer or freeze in the winter due to lack of shelter. The wired cages cause injuries to their paws and legs and can cause agonizing pain. The breeding conditions lead to massive amount of litters every single year and more than half are killed or never find a home. When a Puppy Mill is no longer operating, breeding stocks are either abandoned; dogs are killed, or sold off to another Mill where abuse starts all over again.
Puppies that are often killed when their born usually have some type of physical condition or it was because they had became sick. Pet stores do not want any of those dogs.

Each female dog is bred at every single opportunity given with little or no time to recover between each litter. Once the breeding females are done and no longer able to breed, operators kill them. Dog fights also occur in these cages crammed with dogs leaving many of them hurt and injured with no veterinary care waiting for them. Once a puppy is born they stay with their mother until from about six to eight weeks of age and are ready to be sold to make a profit. These puppies often get lack of nutrition from leaving their mothers earlier than recommended.
Dogs are prone to all kinds of diseases from their living environment. Some of the miner sicknesses these dogs receive are runny noses and oozing sores. Some problems are faced with these dogs such as illness, diseases, fearful behavior and lack of socialization with both humans and other animals. The most common diseases animals come home from the pet stores with are Guardia, Parvovirus, Kennel Cough, Pneumonia, Mange, Fleas, Ticks, Intestinal Parasites, Heartworm, and Chronic Diarrhea. Many other dogs go through much more pain and become a lot sicker. Congenital and hereditary conditions are also very common due to inbreeding of all types of dogs. Many end up with conditions like Epilepsy, Heart Disease, musculoskeletal disorders from crammed cages, endocrine Disorders, blood disorders, deafness, eye problems, and even respiratory disorders. Operators fail to separate each sick dog from all the healthy dogs in their breeding pools. This causes dogs and puppies to become much more prone to all these types of diseases.

There are many ways to fight to ban Puppy Mills to help stop animal cruelty. The biggest concern is buying from pet stores or any place without seeing the entire facility and meet the breeder to assure there was no Puppy Mill involved. Make adoption the first option! Not only will you be saving a life but the money spent will not be supporting Puppy Mills. If someone is unable to find a specific breed from a shelter, buy a dog from a breed rescue by searching on the internet for a breed-specific rescue organization. Also, recognize a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder should screen the buyer as much as the buyer screens them to make sure each dog goes to a good home. Responsible breeders take into consideration of what each individual dog likes. Always ask to see their breeding facility to see where all the dogs are born and bred. If they happen to say no, that is one sign that it could be a Puppy Mill. Another thing you can do is to ask for an adoption contract explaining all responsibilities, wealth guarantee, and the return policy. Even more important, spread the word and speak out. Inform the state and the federal legislators about how and why Puppy Mills should be made illegal. Spread the word to many friends about the things you know about Puppy Mills and ways that you can help stop them. Puppies are just as healthy in a shelter, if not healthier then at a pet store. So when that cute little puppy is in the window of a pet store, just remember all those dogs that need people’s help and resist buying from any commercial breeding facilities to prevent supporting animal abuse.


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