March 03, 2010

Puppy Mills: Our Country's Dirty Little Secret

From the ASPCA:
"The states which have the most puppy mills include Missouri, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas.The typical puppy mill will house hundreds of dogs used solely for breeding purposes. Females in these facilities are forced to begin breeding at their first heat cycle, which can begin as early as eight to nine months of age. After this point, they are then bred heat cycle after heat cycle with little to no recovery time between litters. This can lead to reproductive disease and illness. Females are typically killed when their reproduction rate declines—usually after five to eight years. As you see, the puppies in pet stores are the lucky ones. The parents of the puppy in the pet store window will most likely never make it out of the mill alive.

Many puppy mills are set up just like factory farms that raise hens for egg production. In a similar setup to the battery hen system, multiple dogs are crammed into tiny cages stacked row after row in dark barns or sheds. The cages in a puppy mill are stacked to maximize the number of dogs who can be housed in one building. Under USDA regulations, the cage must only be six inches taller and approximately six inches longer than the dog. As a point of reference, a dog about the size of a beagle can be housed in a cage the size of a dishwasher for her entire life!

Like battery cages, the dog cages usually have wire flooring, allowing for feces and urine to fall though to the cages below, ultimately forming heaps of waste. Even though federal law and some state laws require a partition between rows, the partitions frequently overflow, causing waste to fall onto the dogs in the bottom rows. The atmosphere is usually poisoned with unhealthy levels of ammonia, which causes burned eyes and chronic respiratory disease in many of the dogs."

We know this video isn't easy to watch and it's also difficult to read how our companion animals are treated. But if we don't know how bad it is, how can we possibly help to stop it??? Please educate everyone you know AND join the fight to stop puppy mill sales in San Diego. It is a beginning!
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