Pet Stores and Puppy Mills
When I was too young to know where pet store pets came from, I convinced my Mom to buy me a cute little orange kitten at the local pet store.
After getting it home, I quickly realized that there was something wrong with it. It didn’t just have the normal levels of kitten energy, it was acting insane.
It hated being touched, climbed up the chimney, ran laps through the house, and destroyed everything it could get its claws on. I named her Minga after Gumby’s bratty sister.
Minga escaped into the yard soon after, never to be seen again. After owning Minga, I would periodically read articles and see investigative reports about the horrors of puppy and kitten mills that would explain her behavior.
There are over 10,000 puppy mills in the US selling approximately 2 million puppies annually.
Although these facilities are called “puppy” mills, many of them breed cats as well.
These mills are horrific breeding facilities that exist throughout the country; breeding animals at an alarming rate.
Concerned only with profits, these businesses have no concern for animal welfare. Puppy mills share a striking resemblance to fur farms.
They consist of barren wire cages, stacked on top of each other in rows, in very poor conditions. The food is usually spoiled or rotten. The water is dirty or frozen, and most animals are forced to live in their own waste; greatly increasing the spread of disease.
The animals are forced to live in these cages their entire reproductive lives, some never seeing the outdoors, their paws never touching grass.
They receive very limited human interaction, and limited veterinary care.
The cats and dogs are bred continually every cycle, despite health problems, and are killed or discarded when they are no longer able to reproduce.
The puppies and kittens are taken from their mothers before they are weaned; much early than recommended.
The tiny animals are packed into crates and shipped around the US, many of them dieing during the journey or contracting transmittable diseases.
The breeder animals in puppy mills are not screened for disorders, defects, or health issues that may be passed down to their offspring.
A study in 2011 from Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that in more than 1,100 dogs rescued from puppy mills that had been in their new homes an average of 2 years, ALL of the dogs were found to have significantly elevated levels of fears and phobias, compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and heightened sensitivity to being touched.
A similar study in 2013 found that dogs purchased from pet stores had a significantly higher likelihood of aggressive behavior.
The HSUS compiled a buyer complaint study from puppy mills from 2007-2011, which found that 40% of the puppies suffered from illness, 34% had a congenital defect, and 15% of the puppies had prematurely died.
These filed complaints came from only a small percentage of puppy mill pet owners.
There is story after heartbreaking story of people who bring home a new pet from a pet store, only to discover that the animal has serious and expensive health issue that will affect them for their entire lives.
Never, ever, buy an animal from a pet store.
Even if the pet store assures you that their animals are not from puppy mills, it is almost certain that they acquired them through a broker or dealer who sourced them from a puppy mill.
Annually there are an estimated 6-8 million dogs and cats cared for by shelters in the US.
Every pet bought from a pet store or breeder is one less chance at a home for a shelter animal.
What are the advantages of adopting a shelter animal?
Most shelter animals are already house-trained and well-behaved.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of shelter animals were not placed in shelters because of their age, health, or behavioral problems.
Animals are abandoned to shelters for a number of reasons: death, divorce, a new baby, moving, financial reasons, allergies, or the owner simply did not have the time to train or take care of them.
Adopting an animal from a shelter also costs much less than buying from a pet store or breeder.
Your adoption fee will also help save the lives of other animals.