Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Call me a cheerleader for the underdog and you probably wouldn't be far off.  Or Mama Hen.  I have been called that one many times before.  Hurting, wounded, or those in pain break my heart.  Like, make me want to vomit and cry simultaneously break my heart.  Like, turning my head to graphic violence and it staying with me night after night sort of heartbreak.  So when I saw this, I can't even begin to tell you how sick it made me:

Sure We're Cute, but have you Seen our Parents?

I am ashamed.  Ashamed that this happened in my home state.  I am ashamed that someone, a man of God of all people, would find this to be okay.  Ashamed that people are so self-absorbed that they support such practices without ever asking questions.

I have heard all the reasons against adopting from the local animal shelters:  they shelters are dirty, the dogs are untrained, the animals are mutts, they are not always healthy, they aren't papered, the animals are fixed, they cost too much. 

I think we should have an enlightenment talk.  That purebred you dropped at least a couple hundred on?  Tell me about the shelter it came from?  How clean is that shelter?  How trained are those dogs?  How healthy are these animals?

Would you board your precious Fido in a shelter that looked like this?  Brought him to a veterinarian that treated him this way?  Would YOU be okay allowing Fido to live like this?  Because when you don't pick your breeder carefully, THIS is what you are paying to happen.

I'm not against animal breeding.  I know a few reputable, dignified, and kind breeders.  Their breeding pairs are treated like pets, not property.  They assure that the health of the animals they are breeding is priority and they place great import on assuring that the pets they are breeding do not propagate further genetic problems.  I am not against all breeders, let me make that clear.

Puppy Mill dog who lives in perpetual darkness

But I do take high offense to those who care more about breed than about care.  Those flea market/backyard breeders will breed and re-breed as often as they can.  They will often own several pairs of pets/breeding parents to continue the output.  The over-bred parents often breed several unhealthy pups/pets; those pets when unfixed and sold, go on to propagate unhealthy breed lines, resulting in significant deficiencies in life quality for these animals.  Many end up in humane shelters anyway because their buyers were anticipating a pretty face and a brag-worthy breed title, not a life-time commitment to a dog with heart problems,cancers, hip problems, liver problems, etc.  What of the unsold puppies, healthy or not, the overstock and manufacturer's defects?  Well, they go to shelters, too.  They over crowd shelters and increase the chances of getting euthanized or causing other animals to be euthanized by taking up that space.  And if there is no room in shelters, they either lament and die in enclosures or they end up in a sack in the river. 

        "Puppies produced in this situation have the wrong start in life. Experiences in the early weeks are critical to a dog's development. Commercially bred puppies miss vital experiences they need during this time, and they are exposed to experiences that harm their emotional stability for later. One experience many of them have is to leave the mother and littermates far too early in order to be in the pet shop on display for sale at the 'cutest' time.

           Behavior problems you may experience with a puppy from this source include house-training issues because the puppy has been confined too close to feces and urine. This causes damage to the pup's natural instincts to keep the den area clean. These pups have also typically missed important conditioning to appropriate surfaces for defecation and urination. They may never have even been on grass.

      A frightened mother dog can transmit her fears to her pups. Leaving the mother and litter-mates too early can result later in biting problems, since the pup has missed early bite inhibition that needs to happen in the litter.

        Breeding dogs who have lived normal lives will have been observed around children, men, other dogs, cats, strangers, unexpected situations and other things that some dogs cannot handle. If the temperament of either parent isn't safe around humans, a responsible breeder will not use that dog for breeding. Dogs in a commercial breeding operation do not live normal lives, so the breeders do not know whether the dogs they use for breeding have reliable temperaments for family life. Decisions about which male to use with which female are based on profitability (how many puppies they can get in how short a time), leaving genetic issues for the unsuspecting puppy buyers to worry about later.

          The physical problems that result from a poor start in life as well as poor genetic selection of the parent dogs can also profoundly affect the behavior of a puppy bred by a commercial breeder. Pain and fear cause dogs to react defensively. Dogs don't show their pain in the same ways that people do, and often a change in behavior is the first sign-sometimes the only sign-that the dog is ill or has a genetically based health issue."

Is that what kind of pet you want?  Is that the price you are willing to pay? 

Before you buy, do your research.  You wouldn't wish to buy high quality meat from a dirty store would you?  Ask to visit the breeder's work area.  Visit the pet parents.  Make regular visits to the puppy/pet you are sponsoring.   And please remember, animals should never be given to children as gifts.  Rabbits, chickens, puppies, and kittens are lifetime commitments on which adults decide. 

A recent raid in Kiln, Mississippi resulted in several unwanted dyed chickens being taken into custody and rabbits that had to be cut from their cages.  I don't imagine their Easter was jolly.
"Leftover" dyed Easter chicks.

Check out this wonderful article from www.PAWS.org:

Buyer Beware: The Problem with Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders

Choosing to bring a pet into your life can be a tough decision, especially when deciding where to get one. You might also have concerns about "puppy mills" or "backyard breeders," and want to know how to steer clear of them. Perhaps you don't even know what these are and need more information. As you begin your pet research, here are some things to consider.

Puppy mills

Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce dogs (and cats in cat mills) for sale through pet stores, or directly to consumers through classified ads or the Internet. Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. Many retailers who buy animals from such facilities take the wholesaler's word that the animals are happy and healthy without seeing for themselves.
In most states, these commercial breeding kennels can legally keep hundreds of dogs in cages their entire lives, for the sole purpose of continuously churning out puppies. The animals produced range from purebreds to any number of the latest "designer" mixed breeds. Cat breeding occurs under similar conditions to supply pet stores with kittens.

Animals in puppy mills are treated like cash crops

  • They are confined to squalid, overcrowded cages with minimal shelter from extreme weather and no choice but to sit and sleep in their own excrement.
  • Animals suffer from malnutrition or starvation due to inadequate or unsanitary food and water.
  • Sick or dying animals receive little or no veterinary care.
  • Adult animals are continuously bred until they can no longer produce, then destroyed or discarded.
  • Kittens and puppies are taken from their mothers at such an early age; many suffer from serious behavior problems.

Backyard breeders

Backyard breeders are also motivated by profit. Ads from these unscrupulous breeders fill the classifieds. Backyard breeders may appear to be the nice neighbor next door-in fact, even seemingly good-intentioned breeders may treat their breeding pairs as family pets. However, continuously breeding animals for years to produce litters for a profit still jeopardizes the animals' welfare.
Some backyard breeders may only breed their family dog once in awhile, but they often are not knowledgeable on how to breed responsibly, such as screening for genetic defects. Responsible, proper breeding entails much more than simply putting two dogs together.

Look for these red flags:

  • The seller has many types of purebreds or "designer" hybrid breeds being sold at less than six weeks old.
  • Breeders who are reluctant to show potential customers the entire premises on which animals are being bred and kept.
  • Breeders who don't ask a lot of questions of potential buyers.
  • No guarantees-responsible breeders make a commitment to take back the pet at anytime during the animal's life, no matter the reason.
Because puppy mills and backyard breeders choose profit over animal welfare, their animals typically do not receive proper veterinary care. Animals may seem healthy at first but later show issues like congenital eye and hip defects, parasites or even the deadly Parvovirus.

Taking homes away

When puppy mills and backyard breeders flood the market with animals, they reduce homes available for animals from reputable establishments, shelters and rescue groups. Every year, more than 150,000 cats and dogs enter shelters in Washington State-6 to 8 million animals enter shelters nationwide. Sadly, only about 15 percent of people with pets in the U.S. adopted them from a shelter or rescue group, leaving so many deserving pets left behind.

Help stop the suffering by taking these steps:

  1. Be a responsible, informed consumer-if you do buy from a breeder, go to a reputable one who:
    • Will show you where the dogs spend their time and introduces you to the puppy's parents.
    • Explains the puppy's medical history, including vaccines, and gives you their veterinarian's contact info.
    • Doesn't have puppies available year-round, yet may keep a waiting list for interested people.
    • Asks about your family's lifestyle, why you want a dog, and your care and training plans for the puppy.
    • Doesn't use pressure sales tactics.
  2. Adopt from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group near you-typically 25% of the animals in shelters are purebred.
  3. Support laws that protect animals from puppy mill cruelty-tell your elected officials you support laws which cap the number of animals a person can own and breed, and establish care standards for exercise, housing, access to food and water and regular veterinary care.
  4. Urge your local pet store to support shelters-animals are often used to draw consumers into stores. Encourage pet stores to promote shelter animals for adoption instead of replenishing their supply through questionable sources.
  5. Donate pet supplies to local shelters to help those rescued from the puppy mills and many other homeless animals in need.
  6. Learn more at:

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