Puppy Mills suck.
The fact that they are not completely illegal is astounding to me.
For those of you not familiar with what a 'puppy mill' is, a brief explanation is simple and sickening.
Hundreds of dogs are bred each year to produce as many puppies as possible in living conditions you wouldn't subject your worst enemy to. Sires and dams are forced to live stacked on top of each other in wire cages with no bottoms and the only time they get to come OUT of the cages is when they are being bred or giving birth. These poor animals spend the majority of thier life unable to turn around, lie down, or stand at all comfortably as their paws dig into the metal. The dogs in the bottom cages perhaps have it worst of all, as there is nothing to catch the feces from the dogs above them.
Then, when these poor dogs are deemed too old to produce any more litters, they are routinely shot and killed and buried on the farmers land.
These poor dogs NEVER see a pat on the head, a scratch on the belly, or a night on a soft rug by a warm fire. These moms get to spend only 4 weeks with thier puppies (most good breeders recommend puppies stay with thier mothers for 8 weeks or more) and the puppies go from the farm to a petstore to sit in an even MORE cramped space waiting to be bought.
Puppy Mills are rampant in parts of central Pennsylvania, and Bill Smith (creator of Main Line Animal Rescue) and Oprah have done an expose on just how horrible these living conditions are for these poor animals. Bill has made it his mission to save dogs from central PA Puppy Mills and is working with local politicians and lobbying the state to have more strict laws enforced to regulate how these animals are being treated.
As of now in the state of Pennsylvania, dogs are considered livestock and therefore can be 'disposed of' (as the farmers call it) as such. It is not illegal to shoot a dog in the head in the State of Pennsylvania. WTF? How is that possible? This is the kind of thing that gets my blood BOILING and I want to do as much as I can to get the word out so we can shut down these 'farms' until they agree to better living conditions for all the animals they house.
PLEASE read the links below, they give a lot of information on all the good work that Bill and other dog rescuers are doing and thankfully the Oprah segment (which is re-airing tomorrow!!) has done a lot to uncover this seedy underbelly of dog breeding.
This is the Main Line Animal Rescue site that will link you to the Oprah story and the feature this week in People Magazine
Owning a dog or any animal for that matter is a privilage, not a right. Treat your animal as you would any other member of the family.
Adopt a dog from a shelter, try this one I guarantee they will have the breed you want!
Don't EVER buy a pet from a pet store. You are asking for trouble with the animals health (a very large percentage of puppy mill pups have been inbred and come riddled with disease) Pet stores are KNOWN for getting thier dogs from commerical breeders as opposed to private breeders who actually KNOW what they are doing. Plus, pet store owners know that you don't want to hear that they get thier dogs from a puppy mill, so they will tell you they don't. If you MUST buy a dog from a pet store, make sure to research the store, and the breeder they claim they get thier dogs from. If it is a responsible breeder you will be able to cross check them on www.akc.org or a number of other Kennel Club websites.
Also, don't sell yourself short by saying you'll only buy a pure bred dog. Pure breds are great (I grew up with a pure bred Portuguese Water Dog) but the mutts and mixes in shelters NEED YOU! Seriously, if you need points to get you to heaven, or for your karma...rescue an animal from a shelter. They will pay you back 100 fold with thier love and thanks.
And if you think that shelters only have pit bulls and 'bully breeds' a) check out a pit, you might like them. They were the original "Nanny Dog" used specifically to take care of children in the early 1900's. b) There are NO bad dogs, only bad owners. Don't shy away from dogs at shelters because you think they are bad dogs. 99% of the time its the owners who didn't know how to care for them or just plain didn't want the responsibility once they puppies grew into dogs. Dogs that aren't adoptable won't be there in the first place.
Thats all I have to say about the subject for now, I get pretty worked up about the whole subject and the whole thing makes me sad and mad and wanting to go home and give my rescue dog a great big hug (and a new toy).
So please, check out the above links and watch Oprah tomorrow at 4!
(BTW, thats my rescue pit puppy in the pic up there. Pretty ferocious looking huh?)