- Alyce Miller
- Bloomington, IN, United States
- Writer: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Attorney: part-time pro-bono lawyer for animal rights law and family law. Professor: literature, creative writing, special topics course (assumed identities, critical race studies, animals and ethics, etc.) at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Ask where the animals they sell come from!
Now repeat after me: petstorespuppymills, petstorespuppymills, petstorespuppymills.
It's all one word.
10 Reasons Not to Buy Puppies (Or Kitties or any animal) at ANY pet store:
1. Oh, but the puppy's so CUTE. (Uh-oh, impulse buy--animal companions are a long-term commitment--you wouldn't adopt a human baby without some forethought, though again you could conceive one with a little foreplay. Puppies grow up. They can be annoying, distracting, costly, disruptive, destructive, and inconvenient.)
2. I'm rescuing the animal. (Uh, no, you're not, you're contributing to a multi-million dollar business in the trafficking of suffering animals kept in unspeakable conditions. Puppymillers don't care WHY you buy the dog, they just want you to buy it. The history behind that "puppy in the window" is filled with pain and tragedy, female dogs force-bred again and again, and their litters caged in filth, usually "out back" in a barn, shed, or a garage--animals who may have to compete for food and the weaker ones die, etc. Don't even ask about vet care. If it even exists, which likely it doesn't, it would be minimal at best, and sometimes the vet is a close relative, if you catch my drift).
3. This pet store looks really nice. (It's a pet store. Run, don't walk, away from there and get thee to the local shelter and adopt an animal there.)
4. The pet store owner showed me papers and said they don't buy from puppymills. (Yup, and I have some ocean-front property in Nevada for sale.)
5. The puppy needs me. (?)
6. I have already bonded with the puppy. (The puppy ran to greet me. He is desperate. He's standing on a wire floor and his paws hurt. He is cold and sad. He is sick of being stared at. He's tired of having people tap on the cage to make him do things. He might have worms, diarrhea, or a cold. He's wondering where his mother is, because he's barely 7 weeks old. He's wondering why someone dumped him in the back of a truck in a cage with other puppies and dragged him 500 miles to this pet store. He would do anything to get out of here.)
7. Okay, but shouldn't I help this puppy? If I walk away, isn't that cruel? (If you buy this puppy, you're contributing to even more suffering. It's a vicious circle. See #2. Some pet stores prey on your sympathy and good nature. Instead, write your legislators, educate friends, work on campaigns to eliminate the sale of animals at pet stores--the only exception is the partnership between some of the chain stores and local shelters where shelter animals are "displayed" in stores, but shelter adoption polices still apply.)
8. The pet store owner says s/he's just doing a friend a favor and putting some "accidental" puppies up for sale. (Oh, really? What's an accidental puppy? And next week it's another friend, and the next month it's . . . what?)
9. But the pet store swears the puppies don't come from puppy mills. (Okay, okay, you're wearing me out. If you didn't understand this the first time around, hear it again. While one can argue whether breeding of animals is by definition a problem, there are those who probably fit the criteria for "legitimate" or "reputable" breeder. One sign of a "reputable breeder" is that the animals live in the house, we're talking a very small number of animals (and you're not being offered a choice of a dozen different breeds), you're invited to visit their kennel or cattery, you're asked to you to fill out an application with lots of information, animals aren't always available and ready to go (specially around Christmas time), if something is wrong with the animal or you don't want to keep it, the "reputable" breeder will always take it back, and a "reputable" breeder will never, ever sell to pet stores!!!!!) But why not just go to the shelter and get a great animal companion there?
10. If you really want to help, start a local campaign to discourage people from buying from pet stores. Educate people. Inform them. Work with your local shelter. Get online and read about puppy mills. Don't offend people. Don't blame them. Don't guilt-trip them. Be positive and kind. Tell them about alternatives, like breed rescues, Petfinder, shelters, etc. But be firm. And set a good example. Adopt your companion animals from a shelter. Spread the word.