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Stop the “ill” in Puppy Mill (Fall 2009 Article)

Just a few weeks ago, a tragic event occurred in my friend’s
life. Her family toy Maltese, merely four years old, passed
away of liver trouble. She had been sick for some time now,
and underwent a series of complicated medical procedures,
but it was unforeseeable that it would get so bad, so fast.
This is not a common illness for dogs of this age, but it was
not a surprise that something was bound to happen to her.
This poor dog was raised in a puppy mill, otherwise known
as a puppy farm, and disguised as purebred and privately
sold. As soon as she jumped into her new family’s arms,
the connection was unbreakable; even though the truth was
soon revealed that she was not conceived
in a good place.
A puppy mill is simply a commercial
dog breeding facility. Here, profit
takes precedence over animal wellbeing
and genetic quality is completely
overlooked. As opposed
to dogs that come from a breeder,
these dogs are the products of
poor health conditions, unchecked
hereditary defects and parents
who are overworked until
they are physically
depleted
from reproduction,
having not
had any time for recovery
between pregnancies, and
eventually killed. The mills
are extremely crowded,
have little food and water and never offer dogs any exercise,
treats or grooming. These dogs are then marketed at
eight to ten weeks and sold to pet stores, through a broker,
who are typically unaware of their breeding conditions (but
who is under no liability to be aware). As a result, puppies
can reach the stores, and eventually their new homes, with
an array of health problems and predispositions.
Examples:
• Epilepsy
• Heart & Kidney Disease
• Blood Disorders
• Upper Respiratory Infections
• Kennel Cough & Pneumonia
• Fleas, Ticks, Heartworm, & Intestinal Parasites
How did these evil practices begin? In the final years of
World War II, puppy mills emerged in response to crop failures
in the Midwest as cash crops. Farmers understood that
this process required very little manual labor and much less
time than waiting for crops to grow and eventually pet stores
were flooded with puppies. In May 2008, MSNBC investigated
the puppy mill industry and found gruesome sights of
puppies stacked to the ceilings of small chicken-wire cages.
They knew that something had to be done to bring this nightmare
to a halt.
Yes it may be out-of-reach for a college
student to singlehandedly make
amendments to the U.S. Animal Welfare
Act of 1966, the ONLY Federal law
that regulates the treatment of animals,
which was last revised in 2007. But,
there are many other ways you can
rescue these helpless animals and ensure
their transition into a happy and
healthy environment, which is hopefully
a family. The Humane Society
is always looking for volunteers at its
numerous shelters to actually work
with the dogs (walking, feeding,
caring) or helping spread
the message of animal protection
through fundraising
and educational mailing. Another
organization, PAWS Atlanta,
provides housing, food,
medical care and basic training
for orphaned dogs and
needs volunteers to help socialize the dogs so they can be
adopted into a good home.
YOU can do something big, for something small.
-Lana Greenbaum

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