Pooches in Peril

Click to enlarge. Infographic created by Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi on canva.com. 

Click to enlarge. Infographic created by Rustin Mehrabani-Farsi on canva.com. 

Who doesn’t love dogs and puppies? With over 70% of pet owners having adopted at least one of these furballs, it’s no secret that they’re a pretty big deal. However, if you purchased your pooch from a pet store, there may be more to its back story than you know about.

Your beloved pet may have come from one of many  puppy mills. These factory-like organizations breed and sell puppies like machines, and provide them with very poor living conditions. Many innocent animals are crammed in cages, not having enough room to turn around in. There are an estimated 15,000 puppy mills in the U.S. alone, each having between ten to 1,000 breeding dogs. However, since most puppy mills aren’t licensed and not even legal in most areas, it is impossible to know for sure how many there actually are. The animals who are used for breeding are given little to no recovery time between litters. Worst of all, when they have physically depleted themselves to the point where they cannot breed anymore, the owners of the mill do the unthinkable: they slaughter them. “I think that this is animal cruelty,” says eighth grader Ritvik, “Slaughtering an animal just because it won’t do what you want is just plain wrong.”

So how can a student stop these heartless people? The first step is to start by following the phrase, “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” Dogs from most pet stores come from puppy mills. Anyone can help support the fight by adopting from local shelters instead. Out of all the animals in shelters,  41% are euthanized. Soon-to-be dog owners can help reduce this number and save lives by purchasing dogs from humane shelters, and not commercial breeders or stores.

Another big way to help is by alerting the authorities if there is a puppy mill in your area. There are many federal and state laws addressing this situation, but as puppy mills are hard to track and pinpoint, there isn’t a specific law saying they are illegal. Instead, there are multiple laws addressing the conditions animals must be bred in, and most mills violate many of these laws. However, just because there is a commercial breeder in your area, it doesn’t automatically mean what he or she is doing is illegal. This is an issue that has many loopholes, and you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. For contact and other information regarding shutting down a puppy mill in your area, click here.

Puppy mills are cruel inhumane places that have been operating for far too long. The animals live in terrible conditions, and most dogs don’t even live to see sunlight, or get a breath of fresh air. However, if we work together, we can stop them. It’s time we put our foot down and say enough is enough. We can unite to put these mills out of business. Remember, “ Adopt, Don’t Shop!”