When you walk into certain pet stores, you may see a sight that looks something like this: glass enclosures lined along the wall that contain tiny purebred puppies.
Pet Store Puppies
Each puppy has a piece of paper on the wall of the enclosure listing its basic information, including its breed, price, and a promise of a bloodline certificate that verifies the breed purity.
Chihuahuas, Western Highland Terriers, Bulldogs, Poodles, and other purebred puppies are just some of the ones you might see in pet store cases. Though it may be tempting to purchase one of these puppies, chances are by doing so, you are supporting a cruel system of animal neglect and abuse. Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
What are Puppy Mills?
Puppy mills are large scale dog breeding operations that focus on the profit being produced rather than the health and well being of the dogs being bred. Puppy mill puppies are often kept in small wire cages without food or water, unsanitary conditions, and often inadequate veterinary care.
Besides the neglect and abuse that puppy mill puppies endure, health problems are also common in these dogs. Because of the horrendous conditions they are kept in, issues like matting, sores, mange, dental problems, and other negative health impacts are widespread among puppy mill puppies.
The cages the animals live in are often outdoors, which means they are exposed to nature’s elements, too, leaving them more vulnerable to developing an illness. Though pet stores will often promise a certificate of good health, the certificate usually just refers to the vaccines the puppy has received, not the actual current state of health of the animal.
The ASPCA has launched a campaign against pet store puppies to help raise awareness about the plight that puppy mill puppies and breeding dogs must endure. Another article in Forbes focuses on the problems with puppy mills and the truth about the industry, which is typically hidden from the buyer.
Finding the Perfect Dog
If you are looking for a specific breed of dog, try searching for a breed-specific rescue near you. There are plenty of these kinds of organizations that exist, whether they are golden retriever rescues, border collie rescues, or chihuahua rescues, there is almost always a rescue that focuses on the breed you are interested in. Adopting from a rescue organization is much better than buying from a pet store because rather than support the puppy mill industry, you are helping the rescue save more lives at your local shelter.
If breed doesn’t matter to you, stopping by your local animal shelter is a great option. By adopting from a shelter, you are also helping save lives by making more room for other dogs who need homes. Mixed breed dogs are also less likely to have severe health problems than purebred dogs like pugs who have breathing and hip problems and large breed dogs that often have hip or joint problems. That means you may be saving yourself money on vet bills in the future by opting for a mixed breed, or mutt.
Next time you walk past a pet store, you may be wondering just how much is the puppy in the window. If you are concerned about the health, living conditions, and treatment of that animal and all others included in the puppy mill industry, though, it’s best to just keep walking.