Many of us who love pets know about puppy mills and are aware that pet stores that sell animals tend to get them from puppy farms and puppy mills. What we may not realize is that the state of the puppy mills seems to worse than we had been led to believe.
In the past few months, there have been more reported raids on puppy mills in several states including North Carolina, Ohio, New York, and other states. The number of dogs being recovered from the homes are in bad shape but worse than the images you may have seen on television or in press releases by humane societies.
The laws to protect animals are very general and even downright confusing. There are loopholes and funding issues as well as legitimate, responsible breeders who are concerned that tighter laws could inadvertently affect them. Blame is being shifted across the aisles in our government and puppy mills are finding new ways everyday to bypass the regulations that are currently in place.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering taking action to regulate selling pets online and this may be one of the moss effective measures that could pass to stop or hinder puppy mill breeders.
Currently, breeders who sell their animals to pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the USDA. But inspections are often few and far between and the regulations are pretty flexible for the care of the animals. Food, water, and shelter are the three points that are stressed but the type of shelter, the cleanliness, and other factors are not hard and fast on the books.
There is currently a bill known as the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) that would require all licensed breeders to exercise the dogs everyday with a treadmill or outdoor space. This is one small step. These dogs and cats did not ask to be born and spend their first few weeks and months in cages or in dirty conditions. They did not ask to be transported in big trucks without sunlight for hours or days. They did not ask to be sitting in cages in pet stores and not breathe fresh air or have genetic defects from inbreeding and overbreeding.
What can we do?
1: Sign petitions that strive to regulate breeding practices.
2: Sign and advocate to remove puppy auctions.
3: Volunteer at your local animals shelter or rescue group. It won’t take many hours a month and some of it can be done online.
4: Check out organizations like the ASPCA and Best Friends Society and learn how you can peacefully make change.
5: Donate a few bucks to an animal organization to help them take care of the homeless pets they have.
6: Contact your legislators and ask them to pass the PUPS Act.
7: Remind your friends to look for a new pet at a shelter, rescue group, and avoid the cute puppy in the window at the pet store.
8: Report suspicious behavior if you see it around your area.
9: Do not shop in pet stores that sell puppies or kittens.
10: Take part in pet events. They usually benefit a local humane organization or cause that strives to better the welfare of pets.