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Puppy Mills: Taking Action

Not long ago, we mentioned the prevalence of puppy mills in America and the continuous abuse levied out by these institutions. The mills aim to breed dogs in large quantities with the aim of earning a large profit at the expense of the safety and well being of an increasingly large number of neglected dogs. However this problem extends far beyond the scope of any particular instance of abuse- as the industry of producing puppies causes a constant overpopulation problem that displaces millions of potential pets each year.

Although this problem has been around for some time, it was only as recently as 2009 that the public became aware of the legal loophole that allowed this egregious injustice to take place. Since then, there has been an outpour of support for the strengthening of legislation that protects pets by regulating commercial pet breeders. Though this movement has made substantial progress, effectively closing the aforementioned loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, many puppy mills remain open and there is considerable work to be done to close them.

To further help this cause and reduce instances of animal abuse, The Humane Society has declared this week (May 6-12) to be Puppy Mill Action Week. The event, which coincides with American Humane Association’s Be Kind to Animals Week, is aimed at spreading awareness of the problem and taking definitive action to put a permanent end to puppy mills.

What Can I Do?

There are many simple tasks that can be done to combat puppy mills- from reporting a breeder that is known to be abusive. However, there are also many actions which any individual can take that require only a bit of effort to have a lasting impact. These ideas largely come back to being an active advocate for an end to practices that indirectly keep puppy mills in business.

Puppy mills exist because the demand for dogs makes them a profitable enterprise. If we remove this demand by encouraging adoptions and discouraging puppy sales then neglectful profit-driven breeders will pursue their money elsewhere. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, the first of which involves working with pet stores.

Pet stores that sell pets encourage the purchase of puppies and can act as proxies for illegitimate breeders. Ask your local pet store to join the fight by ceasing the sale of puppies and advocating both pet adoptions and an end to puppy mills. If your store doesn't comply- boycotting the store and encouraging others to do the same can help shape that store's policies. The latter can be done while simultaneously spreading awareness of puppy mills and the problems they cause throughout your community.

This collective purchasing power also has an analogous presence in the political realm. To further commit yourself to the cause- sign the HSUS pledge to combat puppy mills. Like a petition, this serves to show community support for legislation that further restricts puppy mills. Legislation can also be lobbied for directly via a letter to your local representative. This can be done at the local, state, and national levels to encourage reforms that save dogs everywhere.

Additional Resources

If you’re hoping to promote the cause and spread awareness of puppy mills then there’s a variety of resources at your disposal. Spreading awareness and writing politicians can be taxing and expensive. To relieve this burden, the Humane Society has assembled a dog saver’s kit. This kit contains printed materials that help spread awareness, letter templates that facilitate pleas to politicians, and helpful guides that work to facilitate discussion and provide ideas to direct your efforts.

For more information about what puppy mills are and the history of the legal battle to close them- check out our original article about puppy mills here. Did you adopt your dogs? If not, did you know for certain that your dog wasn't from a puppy mill? Let us know what you think about the problem and what should be done to solve it in the comments section.

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