Home > Animal Rescue, Blog the Change for Animals, Puppy Mills > Dog #201 – Why Petland Should Stop Selling Puppies #BtC4A

Dog #201 – Why Petland Should Stop Selling Puppies #BtC4A

Dog #201

I first met dog #201 at a local shelter I had been volunteering at for about 6 1/2 years. She was a Yellow Labrador Retriever, but her coat was more white than yellow. Her face bore the scars of a dog squabble or two, perhaps a fight over food? She also bore a few scars on her feet, where her dew claws had once been. They had been torn out, probably with a pair of pliers. Only one disfigured, twisted dew claw remained. Her teats were still swollen with milk, having just weaned her puppies – her last litter (one of the many she’d had over the past 4 years), and, she was very, very scared.

She had been brought to our shelter by a local service organization, who had rescued her, pregnant and scared, from a puppy mill. They cared for her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her puppies, but she was so damaged emotionally that they had considered euthanizing her thinking that she would never be able to be anything but a scared unsocialized dog, afraid of everything and everyone. Her foster mom wanted to give her a chance and asked our shelter manager if he would take her. He agreed.

When I first met her on that day at the shelter, she was sitting at the back of her kennel – terrified and alone. She cowered in my presence and avoided direct eye contact. When I raised my hand to unlock the kennel door, she went straight to the ground and curled into a little ball with feet curled under her body, frozen in fear. It was easy to get the leash on her, but getting her to walk to the door to go outside was a slow process and required slow movements.

I walked her around the shelter property so she could go to the bathroom, but it was more of a crawl than a walk. She moved slowly, her body slunk low to the ground, and she would freeze at any sudden movement or loud noise. I avoided talking to her, hoping it would calm her. It didn’t. After a short walk, I sat down on the parking lot curb and waited to see what she would do. Her whole body language conveyed fear and distrust – averted eyes, lowered head and body, frozen body posture. She kept her back towards me the whole time. She did not trust me, and I didn’t blame her at all.

I let her be while I remained seated. I hoped that giving her some time to adjust to my presence would help. It didn’t. She allowed me to pet her, but I think that was only because she was too scared to move. My heart broke for her. It was at that moment that I knew that this dog and I were somehow going to be connected. I just didn’t know then how much.

It would be much later before I would learn that she had a tattoo in her ear. The number 201. Dog number 201 in a puppy mill of how many? How many breeding dogs in dog number 201’s puppy mill were left behind? How many were not rescued?

Dog #201 is also known as Daisy. My dog Daisy. She was breeding dog in a puppy mill for four years. I can’t say how many litters she had, but my vet surmised that it had been many since her skin hangs down as if it had been stretched often by pregnancy. I can’t even begin to guess where all her puppies went, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could have ended up at a Petland store since Petland USA gets 95% of their puppies from puppy mills.

That’s why I am joining Be the Change for Animals today to blog about puppy mills and Petland. All week Be the Change for Animals has been asking people to sign our petition (started by my friend Mary Haight over at Dancing Dog Blog) to ask Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies. We need 50,000 signatures and we only have 750 signatures. Hardly enough to convince Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies like Petland Canada decided to do earlier this year is it?

Daisy and I are asking for your help. We are asking you to join this cause and ask Petland USA to stop selling puppy mill puppies. It took me less than a minute to add my name to the petition. Will you join us? Change doesn’t happen unless people speak up. We need you.

Sign and Share the Petition at Change.org
Write to Petland USA on Facebook and Twitter
Paste the following across your social media outlets:
Tell @Petland USA to Stop Selling Pets! Sign the Petition: http://chn.ge/qT2HNs #BTC4A #Change

1. 99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
2. Nearly 100% of all puppies in pet stores have parasites when they are purchased.
3. 48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an illness at the time of purchase, according to a recent California study.
4. 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores every year in the United States.
5. There are 35,000 pet stores in America
6. Puppy millers can make more than $300,000 growing puppies every year.
7. Puppy mills have been around since the early 1960s.
8. Almost every Puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog.
9. Female dogs are usually bred 2x a year. At that rate, they usually burn out by age 5, at which time they are put to death.
10. About 1 million breeder dogs are confined in puppy mills throughout the country.

This data can also be found at Madonna of the Mills.

Blog the Change

  1. JJ
    October 15, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    A small note on the statistical facts: Nearly 100% of all puppies, regardless of breed, regardless of where they came from (breeder, rescue, puppy mill, accidental pregnancy) have parasites. Usually roundworm.
    Although I agree with the statistics in general, I feel that that one is irrelevant as much as unfair.

    Now I can see why you were looking for a different description than “cut off” or “calming” signals – but essentially that’s what Daisy was doing. Of course, you could take a more Cesar Millan approach and say she was being incredibly submissive because she was so afraid. (On that note, I’ve always like the Germans’ way of describing submissive/dominant. The words mean “your priority over mine” and “my priority over yours” respectively. Seems a far more accurate description than our silly English words. =p)

    Although I have no issue with pet stores selling puppies, I do have an issue with where the dogs come from. The problem, I guess, is that it’s really hard to make a profit breeding. A responsible breeder oftentimes barely breaks even. After medical care for the dam and for the whelps…it’s hard to make any money. Even if you sell the puppies for $800. (Which, I think, is a decent price. When people sell puppies for $200, I firmly believe that the neither the dam nor the whelps received the medical care they needed.)

    Of course, PetLand sells their puppies for a couple thousand dollars, usually, and you know the places they came from don’t give the dogs any medical care.

    I will concede the point that people don’t all view dogs and cats as we do. Not everyone looks at them and sees a companion animal. Some see a piece of property whose wants and needs are about as relevant as the wants and needs of a cattle prod.

    So I can understand that some people would view it as an acceptable practice to have something like a breeding farm. To which I say, okay, but you need to start treating your farm equipment (that’d be the dogs) with care and respect. No one wants to buy a tractor that is rusty, damaged, and doesn’t function properly because the owner didn’t take care of it.

    If you’re going to have a puppy farm, at least take proper care of your product.

    More than anything, THAT’S what I don’t get.

    I would have thought that the people doing these things would take more pride in their products, would take better care of the dams, sires, and whelps.

    But no.

    It turns out that they and their associated companies are nothing but glorified pimps, whoring their “farm equipment” for a profit.

  2. October 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    JJ, I think the distinction can be made about the parasite issue, that the puppies for sale in the pet stores are infested – not that puppies in general get them. When you purchase from reputable breeders, or adopt from respectable shelters or rescues, the puppies have received treatment and are no longer infested with parasites. The pet store puppies only show that they have not received any vet care.

    Mel, you’ve brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart for Daisy, and all like her. Bless you for taking her into your life and providing for one so scarred by mistreatment. Puppy mills need to be shut out, the suffering needs to end.

    Thank you, Daisy, for being our mascot for this very important cause. Thank you, Mel, for blogging the change for animals!

    Kim Thomas

  3. MyBrownNewfies
    October 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Wonderful post Mel! It brought tears to my eyes to read that Daisy was once known as dog #201.
    We see puppies all the time at work that come from Petland, I would have to say that at least 80% are ill in some way. It is so sad:(
    I signed the petition eatleir this week:)

    • Mel
      October 15, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      How sad Jen. I was just over at Dr. Lorie’s blog mentioning that same thing. Veterinarian’s offices must see this kind of thing all of the time. I don’t know how you guys manage to deal with it as well as you do.
      I usually want to scream in frustration. Instead, all I can do is educate. I often wonder what happened to dog #202 or #199. I hope they made it out too. Thanks for signing the petition and for participating.

  4. October 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    You’re made such wonderful progress with Daisy. I’m thinking about the picture of her that you posted earlier this week – the one where she’s resting her chin on the back seat of the car with her eyes closed. Now I wonder if she was thinking about how far she’s come. It must seem to her that she’s already arrived in heaven.

    • Mel
      October 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      Your comment made me smile Amy. That picture? It was the first time I had seen Daisy sit up in the car like that. When I first got her she would lay sprawled out or curled up in a ball in the back and just sort of shut down. I think it freaked her out and when Daisy is freaked out she goes into shut down mode. Boy has THAT changed! 🙂

      I sure hope she loves her life now. I certainly see her smile more these days!

  5. Pip
    October 15, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Thanks for sharing Daisy with us! What an amazing (and sad) story. She is a true survivor! I have signed the petition and will share the information on puppy mills!

  6. Estelle
    October 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Thank you for sharing about beautiful Daisy. She is not the same dog as she was when you rescued her – she now knows love, and kindness, and compassion, and understanding, but I know some effects from that life remain. Every time someone buys a pet at a pet store, or shops at stores that sell animals, it continues the suffering of the dogs in the large breeding facilities. Daisy got out of that life and had a chance at a wonderful life with you. Some never get out.

  7. Pip
    October 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Thank you for your kind words for Dillon! I forgot to mention that he is in the Chicago area, but I am sure the rescue would arrange transport if the right home came along. Thanks again! I will keep you posted!

  8. October 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Mel, you’ve done a beautiful job bringing the animal face to this issue. It’s not just about ethics or money or principles. It’s about millions of suffering dogs.

    Thank you.

  9. October 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Everytime I hear Daisy’s story, I get a little more angry. Her life obviously has ended up much differently from how it began, but not all dogs that are born in puppy mills are as fortunate as she is. We humans have a lot of explaining to do.

    Thanks for being so open about yours and Daisy’s story, Mel. I think people see the numbers in the newspaper and on television, but they don’t truly understand the impact operations like these have on individual dogs. You have brought that world a little bit closer.

  10. October 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Every time I read about your sweet, beautiful Daisy, my Emmett’s behavior comes to mind. Granted, he’s a mutt and not likely a puppymill dog, but he was certainly abandoned, filthy, left to roam the streets, scarred from serious scuffles, anxious and cowering with loud noises and unable to trust or relax. I only mention his behavior because, as you describe Daisy’s, I can picture her cowering walk perfectly and my heart aches for her deep-seated anxiety back then. Daisy (and Emmett) made amazing strides while surrounded by love and patience. I too hope #199, #201 and all the others made it out but we know that’s not true. No dog deserves to live a life of fear and physical discomfort at the hand of humans – by whatever means inflicted. As long as humans leave this negative imprint in the universe, other humans will have to fight to make it better. Thanks so much for your part in this fight, Mel.


  11. Amy
    October 15, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    You are amazing. I am so happy for you and Daisy both. Most people don’t realize what happens to these dogs, I can’t wait to share your story with my friends.

  12. October 15, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    Mel, my heart ached for Daisy as read through your post. I wonder too what happened to dog #199 and #202, etc. It’s almost too disturbing to think about.

    On the issue of parasites, yes, most puppies and kittens are born with them. But current recommendations in the pet care industry are to begin routine dewormings of all kittens and puppies at a very young age (as young as a few weeks of age). Responsible breeders do this, have fecal samples checked and do not place pets with parasites. Puppy mills on the other hand…well, parasites are all too often the least of their problems. And I’m not making light of the issue of parasite infestations either, but parvovirus and similar diseases are even worse.

    Thanks for sharing Daisy’s story with us, Mel. I think it helps for people to see a face associated with our requests to sign the petition and help with this campaign.

  13. October 16, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Bless your big heart for seeing the potential in Daisy. Like Kim and Lorie, I do wonder about dogs #199 and #202. Where are they? Did they get the same chance as Daisy?

    • Mel
      October 17, 2011 at 7:06 AM

      I hope they did Karen. I’m hoping that the whole place was shut down – wherever Daisy came from. I can’t imagine a puppy mill giving away a pregnant dog. Too much money to be made from her puppies. I’m hoping it was raided and shut down.

  14. October 16, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    I hear what JJ’s saying– that maybe the “bad business practice” argument (rather than the “immoral sick behaviour” argument) may get through more easily to some people. Unfortunately, the damage done to a puppy through puppy mill breeding isn’t as visible as rust on a tractor. And of course they don’t replace a damaged puppy the way one has to replace a tractor; they’ll just make more puppies and kill the damaged ones. Not the same expense involved.

    What’s needed are exposes, more education (there can never be enough), and pressure on the retailers. I elect Mel president of the puppy mill destruction drive. Who’s with me? 🙂

    • Mel
      October 17, 2011 at 7:04 AM

      Agree Lori. The damage is mostly on the inside, unlike rust. And no, replacing a damaged puppy is nothing like machinery.
      More education is needed. No need to elect me for the puppy mill destruction drive (LOL!). I’m all about educating so the demand no longer exists.

  15. October 16, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Thank you for sharing Daisy’s story. It breaks my heart to think of such a beautiful dog cowering in fear because she has never known a loving touch from a human hand. Daisy is one of the lucky ones who got out and found a loving home. How many more spend their entire lives in these horrendous places?

    As Amy Burkert mentioned in her post, these operations will continue as long as there are people who buy from stores like Petland. We must spread the word so people understand the consequences of their actions when they buy a puppy from a pet store rather than adopt or buy from a reputable breeder.

    • Mel
      October 17, 2011 at 7:05 AM

      Thanks Vicki. Daisy broke my heart too. To see her in the shelter like that was horrible. To see her now? Rewarding. Education is the key. Impact demand and you impact supply.

  16. October 19, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Tears in my eyes while reading Daisy’s story. Thank goodness for you.

    Dog #201. It saddens and angers me at the same time to think that she was just a number in a puppy factory.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever understand how anyone with a heart isn’t appalled and horrified by puppy mills.

  17. October 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    What a wonderful story! I’m so glad you and your shelter manager took a chance on her. She, and you, are a testament to the fact of what love and patience can do.

    I volunteer in the shelter frequently and can’t even imagine why anyone would buy a dog from a pet store, when getting one from a shelter is so rewarding and joyful. More posts like this and maybe, slowly, people will start to get it.

    • Mel
      October 20, 2011 at 10:42 PM

      Thanks Kirsten. I agree. Love and patience can do so much.
      I used to volunteer until my business took off and then when I was about to go back and start volunteering again it closed down. I hope people get what wonderful dogs can be found at shelters. There are so many awesome dogs to be found there!

  1. October 17, 2011 at 4:59 PM
  2. October 20, 2011 at 7:02 AM
  3. March 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM
  4. March 13, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: