At one point or another, we’ve probably all been drawn to that puppy in the window of a pet store, whether by his sheer cuteness or by that sad look in her eyes. Maybe you’ve even taken one home. I did.
However, now that I know more about the connection between pet stores and puppy mills, I will never do so again. Read on to learn more about this connection and what you can do to help. Join us in telling Petland USA to stop selling pets in its stores.
When I was ten years old, I wanted a dog of my own for Christmas. (We had dogs – plenty of them – but this one was to be “mine.” My parents had agreed, and I was in the process of finding the perfect companion.) I had my heart set on a Scottish Terrier. However, while at the mall one day, I saw a Toy Fox Terrier puppy in the window of the pet store and fell in love. I convinced my mom to let me meet her. After some calculated begging and whining, I then convinced her to get this puppy for me. I named her Scotti. She became my best friend.
While I wouldn’t trade my time with Scotti for anything, it saddens me to think that she was part of the pet store/puppy mill system. Scotti was our only pet store dog. Most of our other dogs were rescues,
if in the non-traditional sense of the word. (My dad would bring a dog
home that someone in town no longer wanted, or we’d take the neighbors’
dog in when they moved.)
When I walk by a pet store now, I no longer view it through the eyes of a child. Instead, I feel an overwhelming sadness for the animals inside. That sadness is quickly followed by anger.
It’s that mixture of sadness and anger that fuels today’s post for Blog the Change for Animals. Although there are many pet stores out there, the most well-known is probably Petland. According to the Humane Society of the United States, Petland is the largest retail supporter of puppy mills in the U.S. In 2009, HSUS released more information suggesting that 95 percent of Petland’s stores were buying from puppy mills, either directly or indirectly.
Puppy mills are not idyllic places full of puppies, nor some paradise like that Daisy Hill Puppy Farm in Snoopy’s past. The conditions are truly horrifying.
Puppy mill dogs may suffer a host of health problems. (Scotti did have some minor health issues – due to a leaky tear duct, she
wasn’t fit to be a show dog and had ended up in the pet store instead.
Honestly, we were very lucky that her issues were minimal.) In addition to the impact these terrible physical conditions can have on a dog’s health, a recent study also details the severe psychological harm that being in a puppy mill can inflict.
Petland Canada saw the light and stopped selling pets. (Update 10/16: perhaps in theory, but not always in practice.) When will Petland USA follow? Perhaps we can help spur them to action…
Mary Haight from the Dancing Dog Blog created a petition on Change.org for just that purpose. Today, as part of Blog the Change for Animals, several bloggers (including me) are standing with her and promoting this cause.
Want to know how you can help? Take two minutes to sign and share the petition. Take a few more minutes to write a
short post on your blog or on Facebook. Share this post and the link to the petition on Twitter.
I know it can be hard to resist those furry faces when you walk by a pet store – and, if my own experience is any guide, resisting a child who desperately wants that puppy in the window is no easy task. You may think that by “rescuing” the dog in the pet store, you’re doing a good deed. However, I recommend you check out this excellent piece at Dogster and think long and hard before you unintentionally perpetuate the puppy mill-pet store cycle.
Be strong. Look into rescue, and adopt a dog. Don’t patronize stores that sell pets. It’s not the only business model that works – both PetSmart and Petco encourage adoption. I’d rather support a business like that, wouldn’t you?
Let’s raise awareness of this issue and take a stand against puppy mills!