Over 2 million puppy mill puppies are sold through pet stores and online in the US annually, in a country where 3 million unwanted companion animals are killed in shelters every year.
What can you do to help end puppy mill suffering and overpopulation?
Adopt, don’t shop. If you have your heart set on a specific breed or puppy, purchasing one from a pet store or online, there is a better-than-good chance you are supporting the cruel puppy mill industry. There are breed rescue groups across the nation that may just have the new pet you are looking for. Do a Google search.
If breed isn’t important and you are just wishing to complete your family with the addition of a new pet, there are thousands of shelters and rescues across the county with many homeless animals just waiting for you to find them. Visit a shelter or rescue, or you can go to petfinder.com. Save-A-Pet has many pets for adoption in our shelter just waiting for their forever homes.
Know the laws. Many states, counties and cities have laws that regulate breeders and/or retail pet sellers.
Report bad puppy stores. If you or someone you know has purchased a sick puppy from a pet store, please contact the local police, the Department of Commerce and the State Attorney General and file reports.
Take action. If there are pet stores selling puppies supplied by puppy mills, be the voice for change. You can start by contacting the pet stores and requesting that they consider switching to a more humane business model, that works with rescues and shelters and promotes adopting instead of selling puppies obtained from breeding operations. If the store chooses not to change, you can hold peaceful demonstrations to educate the public and advocate for change.
Speak out in your community. Write letters to the editors of local newspapers about puppy mills and breeders who keep their animals in unhealthy, cruel conditions. Point out the number of ads for puppies, kittens and other animals advertised for sale in the paper’s classified section, while shelters are full of unwanted pets.
Push for stricter laws on pet stores and dog breeders. Write or call your city, county, state and federal officials and ask them to implement stricter legislation that prohibits the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores and also regulates breeders. Remember you want them to take action, so keep your email, letter or call respectful.
Don’t give up. Things won’t change overnight, but progress is being made in a fight that has been going on for decades. The state of California was the first to ban the sale of pets in pet stores, followed by Maryland. There are cities across the nation that have enacted bans on pet store sales as well. If you educate just one person about the horrors of puppy mills or convince one person to adopt as opposed to buying a pet, you will helping to make a difference.