[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he puppy mill industry is predicated on treating puppies like commodities, instead of living beings who deserve respect. With the high demand for certain breeds, dogs are treated with much more concern about profit than their well-being.
As a result, terrible living conditions and health problems arise. Since puppy mills are focused entirely on quantity over quality, they have little concern for the health of the breed, or the breed’s genetics. Consequently we are left with abused, sick dogs prone to several health conditions — from heart disease and parasites to lung problems.
In addition to physical health problems, the emotional trauma these dogs face is just as problematic. Separated from their mothers and siblings at a young age, dogs can become anxiety-ridden and scarred. All of this puts the idea of a cute puppy waiting for a proper home into question. What puppy mills deliver are frightened, stressed, disease-plagued dogs desperate for a way out.
Thankfully, the BC SPCA is stepping in with a proactive idea for a regulatory legislation of this industry. This will require breeders to follow exact standards for their treatment and living conditions of the dogs in their care. However, reputable breeders are not the problem. Under-the-radar puppy mills are the problem.
Currently, BC SPCA is only permitted by law to step in when there has been an outside complaint about unethical breeding on a specific puppy mill site. Then, and only then, are they able to obtain a warrant. Although this process has its merits, it does nothing to protect the majority of dogs being bred in puppy mills, and fails to set up a safe living situation for these animals.
If the BC SPCA’s new legislation passes, the organization will have the right to step in before the abuse begins, and require the breeders to adhere to stricter ethical standards. It will also allow for the SPCA to recommend criminal charges against abusive breeders, which seems more than fitting seeing as their actions clearly fit the bill.
According to the ASPCA, “responsible breeders would never sell a puppy through a pet store,” because responsible breeders screen potential buyers, and can’t ensure that the puppies go to good homes.
There is a chance that if you are purchasing from a pet store, you are buying a puppy originally from a puppy mill, and are directly supporting cruelty and suffering. On top of that, the cruelty is entirely unnecessary when there are beautiful dogs at shelters all over the province just waiting to be loved. Many pet store chains have become more aware of the issues with puppy mills, and have taken to sponsoring dogs and cats from local shelters. This, too, is a huge step forward.
Adopting is not only the more ethical alternative to pet stores and breeders, it’s also more affordable and just as rewarding. The fact of the matter is, if you are looking to come home with a new four-legged best friend, don’t buy — adopt!