This catchy little song was recorded back in 1953. Back then it was filled with such innocent lyrics. Today, not so much. How much does that doggie in the window cost? So much more than anyone could have imagined! Puppy mills have evolved across this country resulting in high prices for cute, cuddly puppies in just about every breed imaginable. Those puppies now come with a hefty price paid not by shoppers, but by dogs. Today’s puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given top priority over the well-being of the dogs.
As I sit here writing this article Kirby is sound asleep stretched out on my comfy bed. He ate his normal meal of dehydrated all natural dog food around 6:30 p.m.. Over the evening he enjoyed two duck jerky treats and a carob cookie. He went outside a few times to do his business and enjoy some fresh air. His green frog is laying near him and several of his toys are still strewn across my living room rug where they were left when we went to bed. He has a good life.
Puppy mill dogs aren't so lucky. They live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions with little to no veterinary care, food, or water. They are usually kept in cages stacked in columns to minimize space with wire flooring which is painful for their paws and bodies. Since cleanup takes time, they are often left to sit or lay in their own feces and urine. Baths and simple grooming are also time consuming chores left undone. These animals never get to feel the sun on their bodies. They never get to experience treats, toys, or exercise. They never get to discover what a hug feels like. They never get the chance to experience love.
The females are bred over and over with little to no recovery time between litters. After a few years they are physically depleted to the point they can no longer reproduce so they are often killed. Do you realize the mom and dad of that adorable puppy in the pet store window will never make it out of the mill alive? Do you realize that the puppies born with major physical problems that make them un-sellable to pet stores are destroyed?
Illness, disease, fearful behavior and lack of socialization with humans and other animals are common characteristics of these puppies. Some of the congenital and hereditary conditions these puppies can have are Epilepsy, heart disease, kidney disease, musculoskeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas, Endocrine disorders such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism, blood disorders like anemia, deafness, eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy, and respiratory disorders
Then there are the puppies waiting in pet stores who already have Giardia, Parvovirus, Distemper, upper respiratory infections, kennel cough, Pneumonia, mange, fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites such as heartworm, and/or chronic diarrhea.
There are many organizations working to put these puppy mills out of business. Slowly they are winning the war yet there are still so many puppy mills out there to be shut down. So what can individuals do? Don’t buy any puppy from any pet store! If your local pet store sells puppies then don’t shop there – take your money elsewhere and let them know why. Don’t buy a puppy from any place that doesn’t let you see its entire facility and meet the mother dog. This includes websites that sell pets online since there is no way of knowing if such businesses are what they claim. Responsible breeders always want to meet you before selling you one of their puppies so they know it is going to a good home. In fact, the good ones will want you to return the puppy to them should you ever decide you can’t keep it.
So next time you are looking to add a new puppy to your family, remember this slogan: Don’t shop, Adopt! Visit your local shelter, check out great websites like PetFinder, or find a reputable breeder.
And that catchy little song? The lyrics were later changed to this version:
Today is the last quarterly awareness day in 2011 for Blog the Change for Animals whose main focus of action right now is to make consumers aware of the puppy mill puppies still being sold at Petland USA.
Tell @Petland USA to Stop Selling Pets! Sign the Petition: http://chn.ge/qT2HNs #BTC4A #Change
P.S. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!
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In 2010 a large puppy mill was busted in Mississippi - you can read the firsthand account from HSUS here.