So you hit the mall to do a little window shopping and what do you see? That cute little puppy in the window. Your local mall has a beautiful pet store boutique with tons of puppies to chose from, supplies to pamper your pooch and you find you just can’t resist that ball of fur in that cage. Please, STOP and count to ten before you start singing “How much is that doggie in the window”. There are many, MANY things you need to know before you let your heart strings tug you into making that purchase.
Most pet stores purchase their dogs from places known as “Puppy Mills”. (NOTE: Read all the way through to find out about the pet store at the Fashion Square Mall) If you have not yet heard of a Puppy Mill, don’t be fooled into thinking it is a darling little camp where they pamper momma and her pups before sending them off to their new lives. No, these places are horrendous farms where it is all about the money. There have been many raids over the last few years on these places, if you take a few moments to simply search the web you will see. And I can guarantee you won’t like what you find.
Many pet stores will tell you that they are not one of “those” places and would never purchase a puppy from one of these breeders. They claim they only work with USDA Licensed breeders. However let me tell you this: That label is used lightly. While a breeder may have the label, the standards of care required are far from what we would consider remotely humane.
At a USDA breeding facility the dogs can legally be housed in cages six inches longer then the dog in EACH direction. Their cages can legally be “stacked” one on top of the other and they can be kept confined for their entire life. The floors are made of wire and they are bred continuously. Once they no longer serve their purpose these places no longer have a need for “momma”.
Save a pet from a shelter or a rescue. Find a reputable breeder via the AKC site or through word of mouth. If you must purchase from a breeder, visit that home and assess the living conditions. Request to see the parents. Do not purchase a puppy online and meet at some gas station half-way. Reputable breeders will want what’s best for their puppies so they will invite you into their home because as you are assessing them, they will be sizing you up too!
These days there are many Rescue organizations opening up store fronts and filling their windows with rescued dogs so keep an eye out for facilities such as these. In fact, did you know that the pet store, Trendy Pet & Rescue in Fashion Square Mall only features dogs who need to be rescued? They sell all the accessories for pets and then give the rescues free space to home their pets until they get adopted. In fact, a lot of pet stores are starting this trend, although not every one is doing this yet. Kudos to this business for knowing the value of a life!
Please, refrain from purchasing a puppy from a pet store that uses this practice. “No Pet Store Puppies Day” is on July 21st but if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to celebrate that day, every day. Just say no to pet store puppies and contact your local humane society and legislature to start a campaign to toughen the laws that regulate puppy mills! If you want to learn more about how completely inadequate the current laws are, just read this report by the Inspector General. Tell us – what are you doing to help?