The old song might go, “How much is that doggie in the window?” but these days animal welfare groups like the ASPCA are saying that we shouldn’t buy dogs from stores at all. To raise awareness about the poor conditions many pet store pups face, the ASPCA has launchedNo Pet Store Puppies Day, which aims to educate people on adoption and puppy mills.
Most of the puppies you see in pet stores come from puppy mills, and as Gina Miller, manager of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign explains, that’s not a good thing.
“There are tens of thousands of commercially-bred dogs in puppy mills throughout the United States,” Miller told MTV News. “These dogs are typically housed in tiny, overcrowded cages in unsanitary conditions, without proper veterinary care or adequate access to food and water – and many live out their entire lives without ever experiencing kindness, love or human affection.”
Because puppy mill owners want to make as much money as they can, female dogs are bred as often as possible, and their bodies aren't given time to recover between pregnancies.
“The puppies they produce may suffer from behavior, congenital and hereditary problems as a result of irresponsible, cruel breeding practices,” she said. “Puppies from puppy mills have been diagnosed with everything from respiratory infections and pneumonia to hip dysplasia.”
This is serious stuff, and many people ogling cute puppies at store windows might not realize they’re keeping these practices alive if they choose to buy from pet stores. Instead, the ASPCA wants people to concentrate on adopting their dogs from shelters and rescue centers. Some pet stores have also refused to sell puppy mill puppies and instead have adoptable dogs from their local shelter.
But what about stores still selling puppies and profiting from puppy mills? “The ASPCA aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers not to buy any items – including food, supplies or toys – at pet stores or on websites that sell dogs,” Miller said.
She also encourages people to take the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies pledge and let others know about this issue. A whopping 22 states have zero laws that regulate dog breeders, which makes it difficult to stop this sort of animal abuse. You might be surprised by how your locale stacks up.
On the other end of the spectrum, about 90 localities, especially cities in Southern California, have banned the sale of commercially-bred puppies in their stores, opting instead for the adoption model.
“There are so many wonderful pets available from humane sources like shelters and rescue groups that there is simply no need for any pet store to sell puppies from puppy mills,” Miller said.