Image credit: Britannica
Ten puppies are crammed into a rusty cage along with their mother who can barely even turn around. They’ve been sitting in their own mess for days, and they haven’t been eating nearly enough. Their mother is barely out of puppyhood herself. The whimpers of the dogs ring out, but there is no comforting response.
This is how most of us imagine puppy mills. Unfortunately, this is indeed an accurate perception. However, we don’t always think about where those puppies go when they get out of the mill.
Ten fluffy, bouncy puppies wag their tails joyfully as people walk past in the pet store. They’re absolutely adorable and look really happy as well. They seem healthy and safe; there could certainly be no problem with them. Right?
Dogs are not products and should never be treated like they are. These pets are animals and should be cared for and loved all throughout their lives. Puppy mills are essentially “dog factories.” The goal of this sickening concept is to “make” as many puppies as possible with minimal effort and cost and maximum profit.
When the cute little canines are bouncing around in the store, it’s difficult to think about anything but how cute the dog is. We don’t always consider where the dogs are from. In fact, the ten puppies in the puppy mill could very well be the same ten puppies in the pet store.
While adopting a dog is the most humane option when looking to bring a dog home, it’s not the right option for everyone, and of course, some people want a designer puppy. Reputable breeders are always the way to go as their puppies are looked after and cared for by the family before sent off to their forever homes. On the other hand, pet stores and online sites usually don’t look beyond profits, and the dogs are raised in a non-home environment.
No matter how happy or “designer” the dog may look, no puppies from puppy mills have been treated with the kindness they deserve. Many puppy mills will go as far as to “debark” their dogs by shoving a metal pipe down their throat to rupture their vocal cords. Although many may see a quiet dog as a benefit, this cruel practice is silencing the dog’s way of communication and can be extremely harmful.
Shockingly, 90% of pet store puppies are from puppy mills (paws.org). While neglect and abuse signs aren’t always present right away, many puppy mill puppies end up sick, anxious, or with other behavioral problems from being in such unsanitary conditions. These after-effects could lead the owners to surrender their dog to a shelter. This is also feeding into the problem of overcrowded shelters. No good can come from puppy mills—the damages they cause are countless.
Nobody would want to see puppies in pain or disgusting facilities. That’s not the problem. The real problem is that people seem to be in denial that any cute, fluffy puppy could possibly come from a puppy mill. Despite the fact that pet stores seem safe and reputable, this is not typically so.
Since the most adorable puppies rake in the most money for mills, the mills will always be breeding the dogs in the highest demand. Mutts and other dogs that are typically found in shelters are not the same types of canines found in puppy mills.
Pet stores are never the way to go. Shelters first. If a perfect match isn’t found, a local, reputable breeder is the place to find a new furry friend.