How you can help stop puppy mills
DON’T buy a pet over the Internet, through newspaper ads, at a flea market, from a pet store or from a backyard breeder—even a neighbor whose dog “accidentally”—or intentionally—got pregnant.
DO adopt your next pet from your local shelter or breed rescue group. Or if you decide to adopt from a breeder, make sure they are reputable. All reputable breeders provide detailed genealogical information dating back several generations, will have the mother available for you to meet (who will appear clean, well cared for and happy), should always provide a health guarantee and may require that you spay or neuter your pet as a part of the purchase agreement should you not be a licensed breeder yourself.
DO contact your state senators and representatives and ask them to support any legislation that would protect animals in breeding facilities. Let them know you are aware of puppy mills and that you want them to do something about them.
DO report inhumane conditions and animal neglect and abuse to the SPCA of Texas and your local authorities.
DO educate others. Tell your family, friends and neighbors about the plight of dogs bred in puppy mills and encourage them to adopt from shelters and rescue groups.
DO sign petitions that encourage putting an end to puppy mills and other forms of animal cruelty.
DO spay and neuter your own pets and encourage others to do so.
DO support your local animal shelter by making donations and volunteering.
Why do puppy mills proliferate?
- There is a high demand for purebred dogs, even though registration papers often obtained from disreputable breeders cannot be guaranteed by the American Kennel Club. Nationwide, however, statistics show that up to 25% of all dogs in shelters are indeed purebreds the result of negligent breeding and unwanted litters.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is in charge of enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates commercial retail pet dealers who sell through brokers to pet stores. However, breeders who sell directly to the public are excluded from this regulation because their animal are sold to private individuals, not to brokers or into commerce and are not transported out of state for sale. This places hundreds of thousands of dogs in jeopardy every year.
- There are no “lemon laws” that protect consumers who purchase a sick dog. Reputable breeders will always provide a guarantee, while animals acquired through puppy mill sources rarely take the dog back or provide a refund.
- Puppy mills are profitable—a cash crop for breeders who also often avoid state sales tax.
- There aren’t enough USDA inspectors and law enforcement officials to enforce cruelty laws.
- Fines are often minor, at best, making it easy for puppy mills to stay in business.
Remember, for every puppy bought at a flea market, over the Internet or from a neighbor who wanted “Fluffy” to have “just one” litter, there is another litter of puppies being put to sleep at your local shelter.