Puppies, such a simple word that can bring such joy. The best part of my Saturday mornings is the Puppy Socialization Hour where I can inhale my fair share of puppy breath and watch those clumsy babies romp around. There is a sweetness about puppies that’s just so pure and delicious. There is a dark side to puppies, and how they are bred and sold and it has a big effect on the puppies and the owners. We’ll soon be celebrating National Puppy Day, but before we celebrate, let’s look at some facts about puppies and where they are coming from.
The words “puppy mill” have a negative connotation to most people, but the little knowledge you have of them that makes you cringe, isn’t even the start of the story.
The website http://www.dosomething.org has published 11 disturbing facts about puppy mills:
- A puppy mill is a commercial dog-breeding facility that focuses on increasing profit with little overhead cost. The health and welfare of the animals is not a priority.
- Puppy mills will breed a female dog every time she is in heat. For instance, a 5 year old dog could have given birth to 10 litters of puppies.
- In puppy mills, animals can spend most of their lives in cramped cages, with no room to play or exercise.
- Often times, the water and food provided for the puppies is contaminated, crawling with bugs. Puppies can even be malnourished.
- Puppies in mills are found with bleeding or swollen paws, feet falling through the wire cages, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration, and lesions on their eyes, which often lead to blindness.
- Almost all pet store animals come from puppy mills. At time of purchase, consumers are given incorrect lineage about the dog’s health, breed, and breeder.
- Every year, retail pet stores across America sell 500,000 dogs, while 5 to 7 million dogs enter shelters.
- Most puppy mills have no veterinary care, climate control, or protection for the animals from weather (hot, cold, rain, or snow).
- With limited or no regulations or enforcement, puppy mills have no cleanup control. This means that dogs can be living in urine and feces for indefinite periods of time.
- In most states, puppy mills are legal. It is important that future pet owners seek rescue dogs from their local shelter or buy pets from a trusted breeder in order to put mills out of business.
- Only 26 states in the U.S. have laws to regulate commercial kennels to prevent animal abuse and cruelty.
So many dogs are sitting in shelters waiting to find their fur-ever home and most never will. Don’t be blinded by the romantic notion of having a puppy…a dog is a forever companion, and the puppy phase doesn’t last forever. Shelter dogs that aren’t puppies have a harder time being adopted but the things we love about puppies are equal with the things that annoy us about the “puppy phase”; house breaking, crate training, leash walking, chewing, biting, barking, etc.
Be sure you think long and hard before you purchase a puppy, because the start of that journey isn’t something that every family can handle. If you’re looking for a canine companion, before anything else, consider a shelter dog. Some have come from homes and have been surrendered, others may have been rescued off the streets but they all need the same thing(s), a family to love and a place to live.
If you’re looking for a canine companion join us at a Grosse Pointe Animal Society adoption. We’re having a 2 week celebration for National Puppy Day, beginning on March 22nd with a GPAAS adoption at our training center (noon to 3p.m.) and the following week, March 29th we’ll be meeting at the Maloof Statler Dog Park from 10a.m. to noon for a “Mutt Madness Mix-n-Mingle”. Bring your rescue dog, family pet, canine companion, furry four legged children and yeah, even those purebreds…we don’t discriminate! Come and mingle and tell us about your mutt.