If you are a pet lover, then chances are that you have already heard of puppy mills. The statistics pertaining to puppy mills are terribly saddening. Millions of puppies are killed in adoption and rescue shelters because they are too full to care for these animals that are bred commercially for profit. And despite these facts, unethical breeders continue breeding their animals indiscriminately producing diseased and sick puppies each year. The main intention behind puppy farms and puppy mills is making money. Breeders want to make thousands of dollars by selling these pups. However, they fail to understand that there is not much demand for puppies as a result of which most end up being killed. So let us understand puppy mill conditions and ways to stop these illegal breeding facilities.
1. Create awareness campaigns
Some people are spreading false and inaccurate information that puppy mills are good. They encourage these facilities and even write articles promoting them. These articles heavily distort the truth about puppy mills. So as an animal rights advocate, you can do a lot. Join hands with a humane society and make people understand why puppy mills are bad. This will encourage people to stop buying puppies from the Internet. Once this happens, the demand will go down which will eventually put a stop to puppy mills.
2. Encourage people to adopt not shop
Whenever you get a chance, please tell people looking for a puppy to visit rescue shelters and adoption centers. This will give some dog a new lease of life. SO many dogs end up being killed annually because there is no one to give them a home. So talk to people in your circles and encourage them to foster pets or adopt a dog instead of buying one. This will automatically reduce the demand and stop puppy mills.
3. Understand what it takes to raise a puppy
Many people fall for a pup’s cute looks in the shop window and impulsively buy them on the spot. Once they bring the pup home, the fun begins. Not only are they faced with the monumental task of housetraining, cleaning up after and walking the puppy twice a day; they realize that raising a puppy is an expensive deal. This reality check sends many puppies back into the shelters. Once people become more aware about these facts, they will stop buying puppies on whim. This will naturally put a stop to puppy mills that supply to these pet shops.
4. Seek ethical breeders for purebred dogs
If you have your heart set on a purebred dog, try to visit shelters to find one first. If that does not help, at least try to find a local dog that has just given birth to pups. In case you go through a breeder, then find an ethical one near you. You can visit the website of the official club of that breed to find registered breeders. A good, ethical and reputed breeder will always answer all your questions about the puppy. Go with a list of questions pertaining to the dog’s bloodline and feeding etc. A good breeder would be willing to take the puppy back and even refund the entire amount if due to some reason the dog is not a suitable fit for your home.
5. Use social media to talk about puppy mills
If you have a blog, write fiery puppy mills articles and describe the adverse conditions therein. You can also talk about dangers of puppy mills on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Educate people in your circles and encourage them to spread the word about unethical practices carried out in puppy mills. Ask friends to share your posts. If possible, make videos about puppy mills and how dogs are bred and kept under inhuman circumstances. The more you talk about the issue, the greater the awareness about it would spread. This will encourage people to adopt dogs instead of shopping for them. Overtime, this will reduce puppy mills and indiscriminate dog breeding.
6. Know your state laws
If you get a puppy from a mill, you could be protected by the dog protection laws of early 1990s. These laws came up mainly due to the puppy mill abuses. Many mills are regulated under AWA or the Animal Welfare Association and are classified as retail pet stores. Since these stores still do not concern themselves much with the welfare of the animals; many states in USA have started banning puppy mills. As of 2009, Virginia has the most progressive laws about puppy mills. Two most important elements of the laws are:
- Limit the number of breeding of dogs over the age of 1 year to 50
- Female dogs be allowed to breed only between ages of 1 year to 8 years and they should be certified annually by a registered veterinarian.
7. Join animal welfare organizations
There are many organizations against puppy mills. You could sign up to local Humane Society organizations or the Animal Welfare organizations and keep yourself up to date with animal welfare at a state level. You can also volunteer to raise awareness, create fundraisers and utilize other methods to improve lives of animals.
8. Report advertisements from puppy mills
Flag down ads by questionable breeders who post ads for puppies in magazines and newspapers. If possible, get the newspapers to stop running such ads. In case that isn’t possible, you can get the newspapers to at least run meaningful ads which can help people understand about ethical breeding. Samples of such ads include:
- Never buy a puppy without seeing the place s/he was born in.
- Don’t be fooled by a bad breeder. Look for ethical breeders. Find out how to seek reputed breeders by visiting www.humanesociety.org/puppy.
- Bad breeders could mean sick puppies.
9. Get yourself heard by local politicians
Find out your local political representative. You could try getting an appointment with a lawmaker who can represent you about the issue of puppy mills ban. Many lawmakers have a presence on social media where you can contact them. Some states have political action committees for animal welfare. You can network with such committees and the voters about this issue. You can also call/email your state legislative and meet them when they are in town. Attend their town meetings and let them know that you want an animal welfare legislation supported.
10. Fundraisers and petitions
Many sites allow you to start fundraisers and collect money for supporting local puppy mills. You can also organize runs or walks in your community and try to collect donations or create a team of people to increase the impact. If possible, you can start petitions and get people to sign them. You can gather thousands of signatures and request an audit of the State’s Animal Welfare inspection programs to get attention of the right people.
There are many things one can do to stop puppy mills. Please visit the Advocate’s Guide to stopping puppy mills to learn more.