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Pet Adoption – The Pros and Cons of Adopting a Dog From a Puppy Mill
We’ve all seen horror stories about how cruel animals can be and treated. We vow that we will never resort to such forms of cruelty as a form of punishment nor subject our pets to these terrible living conditions. On a larger scale, puppy mills are notorious for animal abuse. Animal groups are fighting against puppy mills and warning people not to continue funding the industry. But since there is no blame on the animals, is it ever okay to adopt from a mill?
Recently, a large puppy mill in Tennessee was raided. Nearly 700 puppies were rescued by the Humane Society and the healthy ones were sent to animal shelters for adoption. People lined up outside shelters to give the puppies loving homes. This bust was the largest ever made in Tennessee and has enlightened many people to the true conditions of a puppy mill.
So what is the difference between a breeder and a mill? In general, breeders are proud of their animals. They raise the animals with their health and temperament in mind and do not wean them from their mother too early. They allow female dogs enough time between breeding. The dogs are purebred and live in favorable conditions. If you have ever tried to buy a dog directly from a breeder then you know how difficult it can be. Often, a breeder does not give an animal to anyone he wants. A miller, on the other hand, breeds dogs for money. The living conditions are so poor (many animals confined to a small area, little or no grooming and little food) that the animals often develop health problems early on. Female dogs are often forced to breed in every heat cycle, affecting the health of the mother and the litter. Young puppies are winged very early. While the dogs may appear purebred, the documents are often fake.
When an animal organization stresses the importance of not funding the industry, then you might wonder who exactly is doing all the funding. If you’ve ever bought a puppy from a pet store or backyard breeder, then you may have contributed. In the past, pet dealers were known to buy their puppies from mills. Puppies are cheaper and the mill claims pedigree. Now, fewer stores buy from mills, but sometimes the mill puppies get away. Often, mill personnel masquerade as reputable breeders, offering purebred puppies with pedigree information. The shops then buy the puppies (contributing money to the puppy mill) and you, in turn, buy the puppy from the shop. Due to sales, the store continues to buy from the “breeder”.
Many go straight to the store when they want a purebred puppy, believing that the store can prove the pedigree. In fact, mills often falsify the information. If you are looking for a purebred puppy then head straight to a breeder. Pay attention to the conditions in the breeder’s premises. There is a huge difference between a reputable breeder and a backyard breeder. Backyard farmers have poor living conditions. they look a lot like small scale mills. A true breeder will show love and care for animals. They may watch how you interact with the puppy and ask you lots of questions about the puppy’s possible living conditions. If the breeder feels you weren’t a good fit and you walk away without a puppy, don’t feel bad. Perhaps a different breed of dog would suit your lifestyle better.
If you’re not looking for a purebred, then check your local animal shelters. There, you may find dogs rescued from mills or similar living conditions. You can also find breed specific shelters that offer purebred puppies. Adopting from an animal shelter means one less dog will be euthanized.
So, is it ever okay to get a puppy from a mill? The answer is no, unless the mill dog ends up in a shelter. Adopting a rescued dog is very different from buying the dog (directly or indirectly) from a mill. No, it’s not the dog’s fault, but your money will ensure that the mill continues to abuse. Search for breeders in your area and schedule visits. You can also check your local animal shelter to find a dog that is right for you.
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