Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Puppy Mill Action Week

Sorry I've been neglecting you lately. I was in San Francisco, then Fort Walton (where I grew up in Florida) to see my brother Mikey get married to my new ubercool sister-in-law, Cassie. Photos will follow.

In the mean time, it's Puppy Mill Action Week, which is a darn fine opportunity to do a little something to help out exploited and abused dogs. It's all easy stuff, I promise.

Puppy Mills are mass breeding facilities for the pet trade. Though puppy mills are the most talked about, there are similar mass production companies for other animals as well. Think about all those cute little fuzzy guys you've seen for sale--hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, etc., they are often bred in little drawers stacked on hundreds of shelves. They're pretty dreadful places for any species. Breeding bitches spend their lives in little cages where they are kept in a near constant state of preganacy and lactation, producing litter after litter only to have their pups taken away, typically very young--long before they should be separated from their mother. Puppies should be given time to finish being weaned, to be taught some important life lessons that will make them well-adjusted dogs. There's how to have a "soft mouth" instead of biting hard during play and how to relate to other dogs so they can be taken to dog parks or live in harmony with others of their own species, just to name a couple of the vital skills mom would teach her little ones if the mill workers didn't take them away so early. I've even known of some puppies being sold still requiring puppy formula feedings to survive. Why do the mills do this? Pet shops, internet brokers, and others want their puppies to have the longest "shelf life" possible in their stores. The public tends to think "the younger the better" when it comes to buying a dog. Many buyers don't understand the behavioral problems that arise when a pup is torn away from his litter too young and think that a younger dog will bond to them better. Pet stores and other outlets know this. They don't want to be stuck with a 6 month old puppy who's "too old" to sell. They know what the custiomer will buy, and once that dog is out of their shop, they know that dog is the customer's problem now. These dogs are merchandise to them, not individuals with a life ahead of them.

And what happens to the adult dogs? When they can no longer be bred, they are either killed or dumped on the streets, in shelters, etc. The result of years of constant breeding, the small dog mothers may be recognizable by the wasting away of their lower jaw. These dogs never get to recover from their pregnancies before becoming pregnant again, and they rarely have a proper pre-natal diet offered, so their bodies resort to leeching calcium from their teeth. When their teeth have gone, the lower jaw begins to waste away to nothing.

Puppy Mill Action Week provides an opportunity for animal lovers arround the country to work together to help put an end to the abuses that go on in the name of profitting from puppies. Please visit the Humane Society of the United States' website for easy actions you can take every day this week. Today's assignment is super easy--just sign the pledge to never purchase a puppy mill dog. Want to do more? Hit puppy mills in the pocketbook an additional way by refusing to shop at any pet store that sells animals. There are plenty of pet supply stores that responsibly choose to stop treating animals like merchandise, both in brick and mortar locations and online. When puppy mills stop getting our money, they'll stop the mass production of puppies.

1 comment:

Helen Dooley said...

First- I love the word ubber- I use it and everyone looks at me. LOL
Second- Thanks for speaking out against puppy mills. Our Stella came from one after a reesuce by the humane society then we got her. she is very skittish and sick alot.
And hugs to you for you being you!!