There has been a positive trend taking place among pet stores to no longer sell live animals in their stores. Instead, the stores offer their retail space to showcase local shelter and rescue group animals for adoption. This is largely due to the fact that pets that arrive in stores to be sold are likely sourced from puppy mills and consumers are aware of it. With the information that is collected via the Humane Society, the ASPCA and other rescue organizations, it has become widely known that puppy mill dogs live horrible lives and their offspring are often incredibly sick. To learn more about puppy mills, visit the Humane Society’s puppy mill page www.stoppuppymills.com.
Because of informed consumers, cities and counties have been encouraged to ban the sale of commercially raised dogs in pet stores. Scores of counties around the country are continuing to ban the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores, including Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Chicago; El Paso, Texas; San Diego; Los Angeles; and the state of Florida. In New Jersey, Brick, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach, and North Brunswick. Ohio’s Toledo and Grove City have also adopted this ban as well.
Unfortunately, no city in the northeast Ohio area has taken that stance but they may soon not be able to do that anyway. There is a bill in the Ohio Senate and House that will take Ohio’s cities right away to implement the ban and will also overturn the Toledo and Grove City bans.
So how do we fight the puppy mills?
Ohioan’s need to let their votes dictate how Senate and House Representatives vote. Find your Representatives contact information found at the right. In a two-minute email, you can simply state that you oppose senate bill 331/house bill 573 and that you’d like your Ohio Representative to reflect the opinions of their voting constituents. The ASPCA makes it even easier by writing the email for you found at the right.
Last week I attended an ASPCA meeting at the Independence library about this bill (senate bill 331/house bill 573). Vicki Deisner, State Legislative Director of the Midwest Region of the ASPCA led the meeting and did an informed and passionate presentation on the legislative ins and outs on why fighting puppy mills is such an arduous and tedious task. Obviously, it would be easier to ban puppy mills completely vs. just making it difficult for stores to obtain dogs from puppy mills, right?
Wrong. There is a long list of reasons why banning puppy mills altogether is nearly impossible. To start, the USDA monitors the mills and frankly has incredibly low standards. In addition farming unions keep pressure on the USDA to keep the standards low to keep their costs low. The fear is that if puppy mill breeders have to clean up their act then there will be a slippery slope into making farmers do the same. This is probably true but also not a debate we’ll be going into today.
Another reason this issue is hard for politicians to champion is that the Amish community is home to many puppy mills and, in my opinion, not a community any politician wants to appear to be ‘picking on.’
Add to that, that the biggest seller of puppy mill dogs is Petland, headquartered in Chillicothe, Ohio. I can’t imagine any politician finds it easy to oppose the livelihood of any business headquartered in their state so Petland’s Ohio roots aren’t helping the situation.
Adopt, don’t shop!
Longer term, we simply need to not financially perpetuate this problem. Don’t shop at the stores that sell animals and definitely, don’t purchase an animal from them. There is an abundance of shelters, rescue groups, and even breed-specific rescue groups that have wonderful animals that make great pets. With so many unwanted pets being killed every day because there aren’t enough homes for them, there is simply no reason for puppy mills to exist.