Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Puppy Mills in Virginia Exposed

The Humane Society of the United States has brought to light the deplorable conditions of many unlicensed breeding facilities in Virginia. The undercover operation shows filthy, crowded conditions and lack of veterinary care for dogs that exist solely for their breeders' profit. It's easy to feel shock and horror that people could operate these inhumane facilities. But are the breeders the only ones to blame? What about those of us who purchase these dogs? In our desire for a puppy of a certain breed, do we shirk our responsibility to learn where the puppy came from? If we buy a puppy based on a cute photo on the internet, what do we know about the conditions in which it has lived? What is that purchase price going to: The pet store that doesn't ask questions of their suppliers and the breeders who protect their profits by keeping operating costs low?

Besides mistreating the breeding animals and their pupppies, these puppy mills are adding to the pet overpopulation crisis by selling unneutered dogs. Do any of these breeders or pet stores require neutering? I doubt it. What can we do? Like the illegal drug market, if there were no consumer demand, there would be no suppliers. Obviously, one answer is to adopt dogs from the large supply of homeless animals already in our Virginia shelters. If you decide to buy a purebred dog, investigate first and make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder. Visit the facility and ask for references from a veterinarian. Find out whether a breeder is primarily interested in the welfare of the dogs or in making a sale.

Until we consumers demand change, puppy mills will continue to exist. Let's look at our own contribution to the problem and make decisions that promote animal welfare.


Anonymous said...

I understand why some consumers feel compelled to buy puppies. Some of the animal shelters make it extremely difficult to adopt a dog. I understand there must be some type of screening process in place. What I don't understand is how someone who interviews a prospective candidate for fifteen minutes can make a determination with regards to what pet would be best for you. I constantly review the shelter sites and rescue groups and there are dogs on these sites that have been listed for over eight months. I am considering getting a dog. I am an experienced dog owner and a responsible pet owner. Unfortunately, I am looking to buy a dog instead of being put through the rigors of adopting from a shelter. It bothers me that someone can tell me what dog I can have because I have to work for a living, etc.

Anna said...

I'm sorry, but with all do respect, what exactly do you mean by "rigors of adopting from a shelter" ? If you are referring to the fact that they are trying to find a loving home for their dogs rather than giving it to just anyone only to find it back in their shelter in a few months, than you must lack compassion. By BUYING a dog, you are DIRECTLY supporting puppy mills or breeders who are the number ONE contributers to the overpopulation of dogs and cats as it is.

And if you are referring to the fact that you work a lot, and may have been turned down for wanting a larger dog that needs lots of exercise and attention, than you probably shouldn't own that kind of dog. You need to understand that they are trying to place dogs in a loving and APPROPRIATE environment; Not shuffing them off to just anyone.