by Sojos | November 06, 2012
There are few things more disarming than a sweet, roly-poly puppy. If you’re looking for a pup to be a new part of your family, it can be hard not to fall in love at first sight, but knowing more about where that adorable little furball comes from can make all the difference in the world.
Puppy mills have gotten more coverage in the press in recent years, but they’ve also continued to breed and sell many dogs. Puppy mills are sometimes large scale and sometimes small scale, but their purpose is the same no matter the size: breeding dogs to make maximum profit. And when profit comes first, dogs suffer in multiple ways. They are often housed in cramped, unclean conditions and it’s common for them to be plagued with health problems (both contagious and genetic). According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), many puppy mills breed females at every opportunity, without giving them the time they need to heal from a previous pregnancy and whelping.
When you see puppies for sale in pet shops or online, it’s best to avoid making a purchase. It’s often not possible to know where the puppies are coming from, even if it’s purported that they’re not from a mill. If it’s a no-strings-attached transaction, be suspicious and remember that there’s no one to go to if you have questions or problems.
So, if you’re looking for a puppy, where should you look? You can visit shelters or local rescue groups to see if there’s a dog that’s right for you there – and you may well find a lifelong companion who’s just waiting to be adopted.
If you know that you want a specific breed, make sure that you get in contact with a reputable breeder. If the breeder doesn’t ask tough questions of you – like your history with dogs, what the dog’s living conditions would be with you, how often you will be able to let the dog out, whether you have a fenced yard, etc. – you might want to think twice. Legitimate breeders put the well-being of their dogs first and many will give you the opportunity to return a dog to them if things truly don’t work out for you. And unlike puppy mills, which are unconcerned with dogs being unhealthy, genetically or otherwise, a good breeder will offer you lots of information about the puppy’s health as well as the health history of the parents and other dogs in his pedigree.
Puppy mills produce a product that’s in high demand – and that’s part of the reason why they continue to successfully operate. By being aware of the abusive nature of puppy mills, and making informed decisions about bringing a new pet into your home, you can help fight the problem. For more information, visit the ASPCA’s puppy mills information Web page.