The horror of puppy mills


To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to also comment on puppy mills, as I had firsthand knowledge of the condition of these puppies when they arrived at the pet shop.

Years ago I worked at Docktor Pet shop, which was in Rhode Island (Midland) Mall. This particular pet shop had its employees wear doctor-style white smock/lab coats and the company’s misleading name Docktor Pet made some people think that they were affiliated with a vet/animal doctor, which they weren’t.

Since I had a large four-wheel drive vehicle, I was selected to sometimes go to the airport and pick up these puppies when they arrived. Puppies would be in one crate and could be six or more of them of different breeds. They were scared to death, and they were always shivering from fright and they stunk. The urine smell was so bad that I would have to drive with all of my windows wide open, even in the winter.

Another employee, who also had to make runs to the airport, once got stopped on Route 95 for speeding. When the officer approached her car and asked her what was her hurry, she responded that she was trying to get the puppies to the store so quickly because she could hardly breathe because of the ammonia smell of the urine. The officer stuck his head in her car, almost gagged, and told her to “just go” and get them there without a citation. This is a true story.

When the puppies arrived at the store, they would be cleaned up and put in individual cages. Now you have extremely frightened puppies who no longer have another puppy to even cuddle with. Sometimes the puppies could not stand or walk properly because they had spent six to eight weeks of their lives trying to balance on a wire cage. I saw puppies with bent legs. Sometimes the legs would straighten, sometimes not.

People would come in to the store and fall in love with these puppies. How could you not? They would pay top dollar prices for what should have been show quality purebreds, but that is not what they were getting. In fact, what they were getting was a puppy that might not even make it to six to eight months of age. And yes, puppies would die, and people would come in for a replacement, even though their hearts were broken because they had already been emotionally attached to the one that died. How sad for the families who unknowingly bought that sickly puppy.

I am not a person who usually stands up for what is right, and the only thing that I did back then was to quit working there because that whole puppy thing made me sick, and I am a big animal lover. I did tell friends and families about what I saw, but that was pretty much all I did back then. I should have done more, so now I am writing to tell you and everyone who will listen this time. Don’t buy a puppy mill puppy!

Maxine Factor


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Dear Maxine,

Thanks for your letter. What you saw with the puppies was just the tip of the iceberg. The parents of these poor pups have no hope of ever having a loving, pain-free life. The smell you encountered is multiplied many times over at the puppy mill they came from. The parents of the pups usually have not vet care, ( sometimes the mill owner will even do C-sections on mama dogs) no grooming, infected teeth to the point of a broken jaw from infection. Suffering all of their lives until the owner decides they are not "producing" at which time they are either left to starve or shot and buried in a pile of other discarded dogs. Thanks again for telling your story, unfortunately this continues today and with help from people like you we can stop the horror.

Friday, June 15, 2012