I think we can all agree that it’s a universal FACT that puppies, kittens, and other companion animals are often so cute that it hurts. What many people don’t realize, though, is that if you decide to shop for a furry friend rather than adopting one, their cuteness isn’t the only thing that’s causing pain. Puppies and other animals purchased from breeders or pet stores, which often obtain their animals from puppy mills, come with a hidden history of pain and abuse. If you’re searching for a new fuzzy companion, check out this list to learn why peta2 says, “Adopt. Don’t buy“!
A puppy mill is a breeding kennel that raises dogs in often cramped, crude, filthy conditions. Dogs in most puppy mills are kept in tiny cages, where they often languish in their own filth and face verbal and physical abuse. They never get to go on walks or cuddle with kind humans, and they often suffer from malnutrition and other ailments because of a lack of veterinary care and terrible living conditions. Mother dogs are repeatedly impregnated, and each new litter of babies is torn away from them and shipped to pet stores and local breeders. Packed into crates and trucked or flown hundreds of miles—often without adequate food, water, or ventilation—some puppies don’t even survive the grueling journey.
2. Puppy mills are all about money, not animals’ well-being.
Thousands of both licensed and unlicensed puppy mills supply animals to pet stores nationwide. The people running these mass-breeding facilities care more about making a profit than ensuring that the animals receive proper care. PETA undercover investigations of animal-breeding facilities have revealed animals suffering from untreated wounds, confined to tiny cages without any bedding, kept in extreme cold or heat without protection from the elements, and left to suffer alone for so long that they commonly show signs of insanity, such as turning in circles for hours on end inside their cages.
In puppy mills, dogs are bred to have certain “desirable cosmetic traits,” which many people don’t realize can cause health problems in their pups. For example, dogs bred to have a “pushed-in” nose, such as pugs and bulldogs, can have difficulty exercising and even breathing normally. Dogs bred to have long backs, such as dachshunds, can end up with painful disc problems. Dalmatians, Dobermans, and Cavalier King Charles spaniels are all at risk for a long list of health problems. Some purebred dogs even have an increased risk of developing cancer. Purebred breeding involves inbreeding, which is never a good idea.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is supposed to monitor and inspect kennels to ensure that they aren’t violating the housing standards of the Animal Welfare Act, but kennel inspections are a low priority. Inspections are rarely thorough, and they’re often ignored. Puppy mills are rarely monitored by state governments, and existing regulations vary from state to state. Many states lack the funding or resources to monitor puppy mills, so the abuse, neglect, and illegal activity that occur in many of these facilities often go unnoticed or unpunished.
Millions of unwanted dogs (and cats), including purebreds, are dying every year in animal shelters, so there is simply no excuse for animals to be bred and sold for the pet trade. Without pet stores and online sales, the financial incentive for puppy mills would disappear and the suffering of these dogs would end. The best way to find an animal companion is through an animal shelter or rescue group.