Elisabeth Torres, Global Animal
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is leading a “No Pet Store Puppies Campaign.” The goal is to raise awareness about puppy mill cruelty and the link between puppy mills and pet stores. Most stores that sell puppies won’t say they are buying their dogs from a puppy mill. If asked, they’ll tell you they get their puppies from licensed USDA breeders. But what does that mean? Turns out, close to nothing.
The standards of care required by the USDA are completely inadequate and leave room for dogs to be grossly mistreated. Even if the USDA did require humane treatment from the breeders, it wouldn’t matter as the rules are barely enforced. Interestingly enough, the only reason you have to be a certified USDA breeder is if you want to sell your puppies to pet stores or brokers — a middle man who sells the puppies to pet stores for you. Small local breeders who sell to clients directly don’t need the certification.
Studies conducted by the ASPCA show that nowadays, just as many people are buying their pets online as in person. And as you may have suspected, this is even worse than buying a dog from a pet shop. Aside from the fact that the majority of online pet stores also get their dogs from puppy mills, there is a good chance they won’t even give you the dog you ordered. Many sites use stock photos of the same adorable dogs to rope people in. When your pet finally arrives and looks different from the one you ordered, they bank of the fact you will have already bonded with your new puppy and won’t have the heart to return it. Some online pet stores will even set up their site to appear as a “rescue group” or “animal sanctuary” for abandoned dogs of a certain breed and charge unsuspecting animal lovers thousands of dollars for their puppy mill bred dog. Another common scam run by people who buy from puppy mills is telling you the dog is AKC registered. It very well may be, but seeing as how the American Kennel Club has no restrictions banning puppy mills from breeding their dogs, it does not mean your dog is from a reputable breeder. Many puppy mill dogs are AKC registered.
There are many things you can do to put a stop to this horrible process. For starters, take the ASPCA pledge not to buy ANYTHING from pet stores that sell puppies. If you want a dog, adopt from a local shelter or learn how to adopt a dog from a responsible breeder. Most importantly, share this information with your friends. An estimated 78 percent of consumers are not aware that most puppies sold at pet stores come from puppy mills, yet 80 percent of consumers say they would not purchase a puppy if they knew it came from a puppy mill. So click the badge below to take the pledge and share it with your friends!
Want to share your reason for pledging? In 200 words or less, write in to [email protected] sharing your story for a chance to win an ASPCA gift pack!