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Forbes Exposes Puppy Mills and Pet Stores

February 28, 2012 17 comments

I don’t know about everyone else, but when I first saw this article linked in a Facebook posting, my jaw dropped. Not because it was about puppy mills, or even that it was about the link between pet stores and puppy mills, but because both those subjects were being discussed in Forbes Magazine.

Forgive me, but when I usually think about Forbes it’s in relation to their lists of the richest men, richest women, most highly paid movie stars,etc. Not a story about the fact that pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Wow.

Of course, it was an interview with a CEO (in sticking with the Forbes readership), but who cares? This CEO just happened to leave his job for over a year to film a documentary about puppy mills (You have to love someone who would take time away from his job to bring attention to something so important even though he may never get paid for it… ever.).

Kudos to Andrew Nibley for taking time off to make the film, Madonna of the Mills, AND to Forbes and Allen St. John, for making the puppy mill problem and the pet store connection more public. I recommend you read it if you haven’t it’s quite good and very interesting.

Where *Not* to Buy a Dog: The Pet Store Connection to the Business of Puppy Mills
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Update:

My thanks to Allen St. John for his comment below and for reminding me that he has other stories on this issue (he’s doing a series, so check them out if you can) and an upcoming one with Ian Dunabar (awesome!). I noticed one of the links was broken in his piece from above, so I’ve included it below. I think you will find them equally as interesting.

Westminster, “Show Dog,” and the Battle Over Purebred Puppies

How Much is that Doggie in the Window? The Surprising Economics of Purchasing a Purebred Puppy

I including this last little piece just because I loved it so much, especially the last paragraph. I totally agree with his sentiments. (Funny enough, we also raised chickens in my 5th grade class, from egg to chicken, and when it was time we took them home with us until my Aunt Sheila could take them home to live with her chickens. Funny coincidence huh?)

How Do You Turn a Chick into A Puppy? The True Story of Our Special-Needs Chicken

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

October 15, 2011 27 comments

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

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PUPPY MILLS
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

78% of Americans are Ignorant About Pet Stores & Puppy Mills?

August 17, 2011 42 comments

Daisy

USA Today’s Pet Talk column has been on my mind all day today. According to the ASPCA, who commissioned a survey of 800 U.S. adults from across the country, the “vast majority of people surveyed — 78% of them — told interviewers they believe that puppies sold in pet stores come from such places as shelters, or private owners whose pets had litters, or that they really have no idea where the animals come from.”

I kept thinking… How is it possible that 78% of Americans still don’t have a clue that pet store puppies come from puppy mills? How?

Maybe I’m a bit more sensitive to this topic because I have a former puppy mill breeding dog. I KNOW what she was like when I adopted her and what it took to rehab her. I know she suffered at the hands of some idiot who viewed her as a money-making-puppy-machine, not as a living being that was deserving of kindness. I have heard her cry in her sleep many, many times. Maybe that’s why I get so angry about this. It is so beyond me that people could have such a hard time making the connection between puppy mills and pets stores. Seriously?

People! Where the HELL do you think all those puppy mill puppies are going anyways? The zoo?

I know the ASPCA is starting a campaign to educate people about the connection between pet stores and puppy mills (nopetstorepuppies.com) and I hope it works, but maybe people need to see the reality of what happens to the “burned out bitches” once they are no longer the puppy-producing-money-makers for their “owners”.

Next week, HBO will be airing a documentary called “Madonna of the Mills.” It’s about one woman’s crusade to save the breeding dogs used in puppy mills. It is a powerful documentary and worth seeing if only to educate people about what really happens to the mothers of those pet store puppies you keep buying. I am asking you to please spread the word about this show. I’m even including a link to when it will air on HBO. Please share with your friends and then tell them where puppy mill puppies come from.

It’s about time Americans stop being ignorant of the truth and get educated.

Madonna of the Mills Trailer from Umbrella Girl Media on Vimeo.

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