The Hawkins Family

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Puppy Mills

On Oprah on Friday, she did a one hour show on puppy mills with Lisa Ling, a day in the life of a city animal control shelter, and what the humane society and Main Line Animal Rescue are trying to do to help.

I will start by saying that all three of our dogs are rescued animals and I prefer to rescue an animal from the clutches of euthanasia. I had no idea what puppy mills were like. The largest puppy mill county is Lancaster County, PA. Lisa Ling did an undercover story with hidden cameras and I was appalled. Dogs are kept in cages (most the size of rabbit cages), stacked on top of each other, and most of these dogs have never felt dirt or grass on their feet. I was more upset that even with the poor level of living conditions of these animals, there was nothing illegal about what was happening. Dogs are considered a cash crop just like cows, chickens, goats, or anything else, and therefore can be treated as such! Puppy mills are where 99% of all animal stores get there puppies from. (Something to think about when purchasing a new dog!)

I was doing OK until they got to the segment about the day in the life of the Fort Worth, TX animal shelter. At the end of each day, the head guy has to go cage by cage and decides who will get another day and who will be put down. They have to keep track of the reason (i.e. disease- untreatable, disease- treatable but not soon enough, unadoptable- dog fighting, bad home, or no space). These dogs are then put into a special section of cages the following morning and they have one last chance to be adopted by 4 pm that day. Then one by one, they weigh the dog, make the solution, and stay with the animal until they pass on (which can take 3-5 minutes). First, I can't imagine having to make that decision, but then having to also be the one that carries the decision out. (I am tearing up just thinking about it.)

I write about this to say...If you are wanting an animal, check your local shelter. You would be amazed at what pure breads are actually available. If you are looking for a specific dog/cat type, Google it. There are specialty shelters that are dedicated to the rescue of one specific breed, to then be adopted back out. If you already have a dog, please control the population by having your dog spay or neutered. You think it doesn't does!

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