It’s no secret that puppy mills are evil places. Before being shipped to commercial pet stores, the conditions in which animals are forced to live are often dangerous, nightmarish and foul.
Tragically, only about half of the puppies born into puppy mills survive, and many others suffer from a host of serious illnesses as a result, including respiratory infections, parasites and contagious viruses — not to mention the toll it takes on their emotional and mental health.
Take these staggering statistics from the ASPCA:
– There are about 10,000 puppy mills in the country. Of those, 20-30 percent are U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed breeders licensed to sell to stores.
– Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized: 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats.
– It is impossible to determine how many stray dogs and cats live in the United States; estimates for cats alone range up to 70 million.
– More than two million dogs from puppy mills are sold each year.
More recently, there’s been a growing trend among animal lovers who are choosing to adopt animals, rather than looking to breeders and pet stores. Not only are consumers catching on to the anti-puppy mill movement, but with all the sick puppy mill dogs, it’s simply a horrible “business” model. So now, in a landmark move, commercial pet stores in the Philadelphia area have begun moving in the same direction, forgoing their traditional sales of brokered animals in favor of working with animal rescue organizations! It’s wonderful!
Philadelphia pet-shop owner Michael Gill was nursing his new English bulldog mix puppy that was suffering from parvo, a lethal canine virus contracted from a Missouri dog distributor. One after the other, puppies were coming into Michael’s store with terrible illnesses, and many even died. “It was the single worst experience I’ve had with animals in 20 years,” said Michael, owner of We Love Pets in Media.
According to Philly.com, “Gill decided to stop buying dogs from commercial breeders and opted for rescue dogs from shelters, a trend the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said was catching on. ‘It’s been a bumpy ride,’ said Gill of the change in his business model, which also has required renovations at his Media and Springfield stores to accommodate the more mature and larger rescue dogs. ‘It’s much more rewarding. We don’t feel comfortable selling [brokered] puppies.'” And, get this: Gill now works with one of the activists who picketed his store almost every weekend for years! Patricia Biswanger, board president of the Chester County SPCA, said she didn’t hesitate when Gill offered the SPCA space for shelter dogs and other animals.
Gill’s two locations aren’t the only pet stores in the Philly area to convert. PetsPlus stores, which has 10 locations(!), are also beginning to take in rescue dogs!
Scores of counties around the country are continuing to ban the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores, including Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Chicago; El Paso, Texas; Toledo, Ohio; San Diego; Los Angeles; and the state of Florida. In New Jersey, Brick, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Point Pleasant Beach, and North Brunswick.
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