The Sad Reality of Puppy Mills

Puppy mill spokesdog, ZoieBy Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell |

Imagine dogs kept in barns, stacked in cages barely large enough for them to stand up in, much less turn around. These dogs never see humans unless it's feeding time or when one of them brings a power washer to clean out their cage. They don't know the feeling of grass on their feet, sunshine on their face or the joy of having a chew stick or toy.

They don't get regular veterinarian care and their breath stinks from rotting teeth. The stench of the barn is so overwhelming that any normal person wouldn't want to be there.
Their only purpose in life is to produce puppies.

Would you knowingly purchase a dog from a puppy mill?

Not many people would, but that's exactly what the majority of people are doing when they purchase a dog from a pet store, online or newspaper ad.

Even if you're purchasing a dog from a swanky store that looks upscale in New York City or Los Angeles, your dog most likely came from a puppy mill.

In a study conducted by the ASPCA, it found that 78 percent of all puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.

Of course, the pups are cleaned up and you might never know they come from such conditions. You may never realize they also most likely had to endure harsh conditions in the back of vans or even livestock trailers without heat or air.

For years, I've talked to some friends of ours about purchasing puppies in pet stores. The last time they did it, they told me they were actually "rescuing" the puppy. "What happens to the ones that aren't sold?"

Stores that don't sell their puppies will do what any other retailer does with unsold "inventory," they put them on sale. If they still don't sell, they will take the loss and give them to employees, friends or actual rescue groups who will find the puppies good homes, according to Best Friends Animal Society.

One thing is for sure, by purchasing a puppy in a store (and it is never a "rescue") you are perpetuating the problem. The more they sell, the more they order and the suffering in the mills continues.

However, if there is not a market, these mills will go out of business.

What happens to those dogs? Rescues such as National Mill Dog Rescue will likely step in and help these animals. Some, like Harley and his daughter, Zoie, will become spokedogs against puppy mill cruelty.

If you're still not convinced of the cruelty and suffering puppy mills perpetuate, check out Harley's biography on his Facebook page. He actually lost an eye when a power washer aimed for his cage caught him in the face and now he lives with a myriad of other health issues due to his confinement in a cage.

I still think he's a pretty handsome guy, though, and he's cute and funny and I love reading about his adventures with his family. He is definitely helping to bring awareness to the issue of puppy mills.
At the same time, I'm so glad he had the chance at a normal doggy life.

Please adopt, don't shop.

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