While there are responsible breeders out there, far too often the term “breeder” covers for irresponsible and cruel puppy mills. These operations breed dogs strictly for profit, often with little concern for the well-being of the animals involved. Filthy conditions, unhealthy animals and packed cages are just a few reasons why these cruel operations should be a thing of the past. Fortunately, there are a number of actions you can take in your daily life to help end puppy mill suffering.
1. Be Wary of Pet Shops
If you’ve ever bought a puppy from a pet shop, chances are it was raised in a puppy mill. Refuse to buy dogs from pet shops, and encourage friends and family to do the same. This helps cut the demand that encourages puppy mill owners to keep the dogs coming.
2. Consider Adoption or Foster Care
There are dozens of dogs in your community in need of a good home. Plus, your adoption fee goes toward future humane efforts. Whether you’re willing to adopt an older dog or you have your heart set on a puppy, always consider adopting or fostering a shelter dog before buying.
3. For Purebred Puppies, Keep It Local
Avoid buying puppies from online sources and personal ads unless you have a way of checking the breeder’s credentials, and never buy from an online seller who’s not upfront about his identity and contact information. Visit the breeder’s home or facility to see where the mother dog and her pups live, checking for a sanitary living area, clean water and adequate space. If possible, find references who can confirm the ethical standards of the breeder’s operation.
4. Wise Up About Puppy Mills and Local Breeding Laws
Watch videos by the Humane Society of the United States and other organizations for a realistic view of what is happening in puppy mills and what people are doing to stop them. You should also familiarize yourself with the animal breeding and selling laws in your state, so you can more easily identify illegal puppy mills.
5. Spread the Word
Warning other people not to support cruel puppy mills is one of the best ways to put them out of business. Print out flyers and posters to put up in your school or workplace, and visit your local veterinary office or groomer to ask them to place posters in visible areas. You can also be an advocate for animals by making an educational display to put up in your local library.
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