November 22, 2014
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The horrors of puppy mills

Everyone had a horror story.

Those who gathered at the Rhode Islanders Against Puppy Mills protest on Sunday at Rumford Pets in Warwick were there to spread a message. “Don’t shop, adopt.”

But why? What’s wrong with buying a cute, fluffy puppy from a pet store? It’s not the act of buying a new dog that’s wrong; it’s what happens before and after the purchase.

After you buy a puppy, another shelter dog loses its chance of finding a forever home. That dog, if left unnoticed, could be put to sleep. Roughly 5 million animals are euthanized every year in the United States, a number that animal advocates cringe to hear.

And then there’s before. Before you buy a dog, the dog must be bred. Commonly, pet stores obtain their dogs from puppy mills, mass-breeding grounds where animals are kept in cages, piled on top of one another, for the entirety of their lives.

On Sunday, protestors handed out pamphlets to interested passersby. The fliers had pictures of neglected, injured, sick and filthy dogs that were being bred for their “purebred” babies. The horror stories were stomach churning. Dogs that had untreated, painful medical conditions; dogs that required c-sections and were instead left to die giving birth to oversized puppies; dogs born deaf and without eyes that were bred for puppies to be sold in pet shops around the country.

Of course there are reputable breeders out there that take care of their dams and sires. But the protesters weren’t there to combat those small, backyard enterprises. They were there to spread awareness about the mass-production of companion animals.

Puppy mills are often USDA certified and inspected, and many dogs from these mills receive American Kennel Club (AKC) certifications for a fee. Protestors say the puppy mills aren’t in it for the health, well-being or safety of the animals, but for a hefty profit.

And it’s the local pet stores that are ensnared in the middle of this hot-button issue. Opponents of puppy mills don’t want to shut down pet stores; they want these shops to sell adoptable animals, and prevent the euthanasia of 5 million companion animals each year. They want to put an end to the ongoing cruelty that these purebred dogs experience.

The photos were heartbreaking and the stories were sickening, but what happens in these puppy mills cannot be ignored forever. Most of the mills operate in mid-western states, but the dogs come here to Rhode Island stores.

It’s possible to make a difference, and the protesters know it. Spread awareness, adopt before you shop and help to make the horror stories come to an end.


Comments
4 comments on this item

THe protestors are intruding on a personal decision. If someone wants to buy a puppy from a pet store (I have) than that is their business. If you want to adopt a dog from a pound, that is your business. Basically, mind your business.

Protestors are not intruding on your personal decision...protestors are INFORMING one of options...plain and simple!

The people that protest are protected under the First Amendment (Freedom of Speech). They are not intruding on anyone's personal decision. Nobody stopped anyone from doing business at Rumford Pet Store. By the way, protecting animals is our business!!!

@ davebarry. If you have puchased a puppy from a pet shop you are contributing to the suffering of the dog who produced your dog. I would urge you to educate yourself on the horror that the mothers & fathers of your put suffer every day. Prisoners of Greed is a good place to start, If after you see some of the conditions these dogs endure, you still agree that it's OK for these dogs to live this way then there is something wrong with your personal decision making. Those of us who have seen or adopted a rescue, do not have the option of meetting our dogs parents to be sure they had proper care which is what a responsible pet owner would do when purchasing a puppy. Reputable breeders do not sell to pet shops and have have a safety net for all the dogs they sell. We will continue to try and educate people like you till there are no more puppy mills.

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