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Pet store puppies: The stress of the mother passes to down to the child

March 29, 2015 9 comments

puppy mills 1The more you dig into puppy mills, the more you learn about the physical and physiological repercussions it has on the mother dog (and that doesn’t even take info consideration the genetic issues) and her puppies.

Last fall, when Dr. Frank McMillan spoke at an event (hosted by Animal Folks MN), he shared some data on the behavioral issues that show up in puppy mill puppies sold in pet stores. The results were quite startling:

  • Out of 14 behavioral variables measured across puppies from responsible breeders and those sold in pet stores, the pet store puppies were found to have fared worse in 12.
  • As they grew up, pet store puppies showed more aggression towards their owners.
  • Pet store puppies also displayed more aggression towards other dogs.
  • Puppies who are purchased in a pet store are more likely to escape and run away.
  • Pet store puppies tend to be under-socialized because they are taken away from their mothers too early and are likely to experience trouble as they grow up.

You can read more about Dr. McMillan’s study via Penn State here: Penn Vet study finds pet store puppies come with increased risk

Puppy mill breeding dogs have their own set of behavioral issues – almost all due to a lack of socialization and fear and ongoing abuse, but now we can show that the puppies they bear have problems too. Why is this the case?

New evidence suggests that mother dogs experiencing extreme levels of stress can pass that stress on to their puppies, and that stress can impact their lives long after they have been weaned and adopted into loving family homes.

The body is designed to protect the puppies from normal amounts of stress:

“Normally, an enzyme inactivates cortisol at the placenta, protecting the fetuses from the level of cortisol that the mother is experiencing. But when the cortisol level is extremely high, some passes through the placenta to the developing puppies. They receive the extra cortisol as information: The world is scary. We should be prepared. “

You can read more on this in the Whole Dog Journal from their November 2014 issue, titled “How a Mother’s Stress Can Influence Unborn Puppies: A highly stressed mother dog may influence her unborn puppies and affect their adult behavior.”

That pet store puppies are more likely to carry this stress message in their systems should not be all that surprising. After all, past evidence has shown that the stress of the mother passes down to the baby, both in humans and rats.

Puppies born in mills experience the stress of the mother in utero and after they are born. When you add in the fact that they are then pulled away from their mothers at a very young age, shipped across country in trucks with other sick little puppies, manhandled and placed in a pet store window, where they are on display and handled over and over again until they are adopted, it’s a wonder any of them survive, much less make it into a home as a normal dog. That they fare poorly on 12 of 14 behavioral variables should not be surprising either. It makes one wonder why anyone would want a dog from a pet store at all.  

DSC04401

Daisy in the early days.

Daisy’s last litter of puppies were kept by the organization that saved her life. They were going to be trained to be service dogs. I wonder how many of them failed to make the cut?  I hope not many, but the more and more I learn about puppy mills and their impacts on the dogs and their offspring, the more I believe that they were doomed from the start.

Now how sad is that?

 

 

 

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The biggest lie pet stores tell you

August 5, 2012 31 comments

The first time I saw Jasper (and his sister) it was in the impound room at our local shelter in Burnsville. I was immediately taken with both of them. They were so adorable!

It was pretty unusual to see a Sheltie at our shelter back then. Not that we didn’t get one in once in a while, but it just wasn’t common. The fact that these two were 8 1/2 months old was even more unusual. Sheltie puppies? No way!

Of course, I didn’t know then how they had come to be there. Not until much later. They had both been “rescued” along with a cat from a pet store in Shakopee. The woman who bought them did so because she was so appalled by the conditions they were in that she couldn’t stand leaving them there. She offered the store owner a low sum of money for both Jasper and Jasmine and a cat, and he took it.

She immediately brought them to our shelter so they could receive treatment and be adopted. I wrote about fostering them in a post back in March 2009.

The reason I share this story with you is to back up a point made in a great blog post I read a while back. It was titled “What Happens to the Puppies?”  In it, Brenda Nelson (the blogger) explored the common myths people have about what happens to pet store puppies.

She starts her post by saying You may have asked yourself “What happens when Pet Stores do not sell the puppies?”, I am going to tell you the true answer, but first let me tell you the wrong answer.

If you haven’t already guessed by that great opening statement, let me tell you now, pet store puppies are not euthanized if no one buys them. They are also not shipped back to the “breeder” (and I use that term loosely). They are not dumped somewhere and left to fend for themselves either.

No. Puppy mill puppies sold in pet stores are left in the pet store window until they sell. Or they are shipped to another store where they may have a better chance of being sold. And there they will sit, waiting for that one person, that special someone, who wants to “save” them.

You see, pet stores rely on people to feel guilty. They rely on someone thinking “If I don’t take this puppy, it will be killed.” They rely on someone falling in love with the puppy before they find out that it is sick and will need expensive medical care. They want you to feel sympathy for that puppy in the window. They want you to feel like you are rescuing the puppy. Because by making the person feel like (the) pets’ life is in danger, pet stores force the person to make a rash decision, “Buy the puppy.”.

This is how puppy mill puppies are sold every day in America’s pet stores. It’s all about lies and fostering misperceptions. Pet stores who sell puppy mill puppies (and 99% of the puppies in pet stores ARE from puppy mills) will do and say anything to get you to buy that puppy in the window. Why? Because they know that once you buy it, you won’t be bringing it back, sick or not sick.

As I told you at the beginning of this piece, Jasper and Jasmine were 8 1/2 months old when I got them. They were puppies, but not young puppies. If they were like most puppy mill puppies, they were probably shipped to this particular pet store at 6-8 weeks old and then sat there for 6-6 1/2 months, waiting for someone to “rescue” them. And, someone did.

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad she saved Jasper, his sister and the cat. They were living in horrible conditions in that pet store.

But, to Brenda’s point, they were not euthanized. They were not returned to the puppy mill owner. They were not dumped somewhere.

No. They were sold at a discounted price to someone willing to buy them to “save” them.

Please don’t buy into the guilt-fest that pet stores give you. Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store and thus force the parents to continue to live a life of torture, neglect and pain. Don’t help perpetuate the puppy mill trade.

Want to rescue a puppy? Adopt. Those are the ones who really WILL BE euthanized if you don’t “rescue” them.

Yes Minnesota, you can defeat puppy mills. Here’s how.

March 11, 2012 22 comments

Daisy

For anyone who has rehabbed a puppy mill breeding dog, the experience is a life changing one. Not only do you learn a lot about yourself, but you learn a whole lot more about puppy mills and pet stores and the conditions in which your dog lived.

I was one of the lucky ones. Yes. Daisy was fearful when I first got her, so fearful she would go straight to the ground and cower when I approached, but she wasn’t sick and full of parasites like many other puppy mill dogs. I am sure the organization that rescued her took care of that before she came to me. But, for many pet owners who purchase a pet from a pet store, their puppy or kitty is not only full of parasites but also sick and genetically flawed in some way. Genetic disorders and illnesses like hip dysplasia, heart disease, epilepsy, eye problems, and respiratory disorders are just the tip of the iceberg for these puppies and kitties. Many new owners will also find that they have not only purchased sick dog, but a fearful one or one with behavioral issues.

This week I want to focus on creating more awareness about puppy mills and pet stores. I welcome your input, thoughts, experiences, etc., but more than anything I would like to ask for your voice. Why? Because we need the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) to pass. I need you to help me (and the many other individuals and groups who have been working on this legislation) to make this bill become a law. Without your voice, nothing will change in Minnesota. Unsuspecting pet owners will continue to buy cats and dogs from pet stores and have their hearts broken when their furry friend dies, or requires serious medical care. Breeder dogs, like Daisy, will continue to suffer, having more and more puppies until they can no longer breed, only to be killed (likely shot) to make room for the next breeding female. Puppy millers will continue to operate with little chance of being held to the humane standards afforded many pets in other states.

So how can you help? Choose to do just TWO of the actions below.

1. SIGN the petition supporting dog and cat breeder regulation in Minnesota.

2. TWEET this post to your friends and family and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

3. SHARE this post with your friends and family on Facebook and ask them to sign the petition and contact their Minnesota state legislator.

4. ASK your veterinarian and his/her vet techs to sign the petition in support of this bill. Ask them to indicate they are a vet or vet tech in the last box on the petition. (You can also contact Cheryl@animalfolksmn.org and she will mail you the petition forms and literature on the bill.) 217 vets and vet techs have already signed the petition. Let’s double those numbers!

5. SHARE your own story about buying a cat or dog or rescuing a puppy mill dog. I welcome any and all of your stories here, whether inside Minnesota or out, but if from Minnesota please do share it on the AnimalFolksMN site. These will be used to show legislators why there is a need for a law to regulate puppy mills.

6. CONTACT your own Minnesota State Senator and Representative

To find out who represents you, go to: MN District Finder

This link is easy to use. Just type in your address and zip code. It will list who represents you based on where you live. Please contact your State legislators – your MN House Representative and your MN Senator. Click on their names and you will be linked to their phone number, email and address.

NOTE: In addition to the bills’ authors, some legislators have already expressed their support publicly by co-authoring the bills. To find out if your legislator is a co-author, go to: Authors and Co-Authors

7. CONTACT Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton

The bill must first pass through legislative committees and be voted on by the full House and Senate before it reaches the Governor to be signed into law. But we need the Governor to hear your voice now. Please contact Governor Mark Dayton and ask that he support S.F. 462/H.F. 702.

Governor Mark Dayton
Phone: 651-201-3400
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Fax: 651-797-1850
Email contact form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
Governor Mark Dayton on Twitter
Governor Mark Dayton’s on Facebook.

WHAT TO WRITE:

If you call, you’ll most likely reach voicemail or speak with an aide or assistant. Just be yourself. Speak from the heart. Keep it short and respectful.

NOTE: S.F. 462 is the bill in the Senate. H.F. 702 is the bill in the House.

Example for Senator:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Senator ________________ (name) support S.F. 462, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Senator Barb Goodwin. Thank you.”

Example for Representative:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a constituent and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that my Representative ________________ (name) support H.F. 702, which will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. This bill is authored by Representative John Lesch. Thank you.

Example for Governor:
“My name is ________________ (full name). I am a Minnesota resident and I live in __________ (city). I’m calling about the problem of inhumane dog and cat breeding conditions in Minnesota and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders. I’m asking that Governor Mark Dayton support S.F. 462, authored by Senator Goodwin, and H.F. 702, authored by Representative Lesch. These bills will license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders. Thank you.”

For more information on this bill go to AnimalFolksMN.

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