MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did You Know That Our Demand for Dogs Drives Puppy Mill Supply?

Most of us know that our relationships with our dogs begin the day we bring them home, whether from a responsible breeder, a shelter, or a breed rescue group. I suggest we expand the context of our relationship to "Dog" to the larger sense, and consider the beginnings of so many dogs before we ever lay our eyes on them. And the plight of so many dogs who never feel their feet on the ground or fresh air on their faces -- the ones who live their entire lives in puppy mills.

According to Jon Rutter of the Lancaster Sunday News, people are in a hurry to get a pet and few question where their pups come from. Demand for dogs is high, and families usually want a dog immediately, which helps perpetuate the market for mass dog breeding (I am referring to puppy mills, not responsible dog breeders who promote the best in a breed). He relates the story of a woman who spontaneously purchased a dog last summer through a newspaper ad. Sadly, their boxer grew deathly ill within days, and the family faced thousands of dollars in veterinary bills. Unable to afford the vet bills,they gave the dog up. The dog was traced to a kennel called CC Pets.

A judge ruled that the owners of the kennel,
CC Pets, formerly called Puppy Love Kennels, failed to state its name in newspaper ads as the court had directed four years earlier. The kennel was ordered to close for six months. Calls to CC Pets were not returned. Fortunately, the puppy mill boxer survived and has a good new home.

Although I understand that Lancaster County, PA has a higher concentration of puppy mills than most states, the problem is nationwide. Luckily, consumers are becoming more aware about the dog/puppy mill industry. But some folks still simply don't connect that cuddley pup in a pet store with the deplorable conditions in puppy mills. These people aren't consciously supporting puppy mills; they just don't understand the connection. Consumers should know that dogs bred under factory conditions live only five or six years before being destroyed, according to animal-welfare advocates.

What can dog "shoppers" be aware of? According to Jenny Stephens, of North Penn Puppy Mill Watch, kennels should be clean, and the population of dogs low enough that the staff can spend time socializing the dogs. She urges you to check state kennel inspection reports online (search Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement), and know that a "warning" means that a kennel has already broken the law.

Remember that millions of unwanted dogs in this country are euthanized every year according to Jenny Stephens (NPPMW). Please consider the millions of dogs in shelters when you plan to get a family dog. And remember, you can get most of the purebred dogs you want from a breed rescue group.

For more help and information about puppy mills, log on to the North Penn Puppy Mill Watch Web site,, or contact United Against Puppy Mills,, or call 1-866-975-3647.

Let's honor the "spirit of dog," all dogs, and make sure we do our part to see that all dogs are treated as the beautiful, loving beings that they are.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns,
Author of
MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life


retriever farm said...

Very sad story! People want evetything right now. I waited over 7 months for my last puppy to be bred born and raised by our loving breeder. My puppies are handled daily from the day they are born and stared on specific handlingexercises at 3 days old to stimulate their brains. As they age my kids run them all over the yrd and play dress up with them. How sad to spen yourlife in a cage. Let's all keep rying to get the word out to stop these horrible puppy mill, and educate the public.

Dawn Kairns said...

Thanks for your sharing how pups can be socialized and cared for in the best way by good breeders. What lucky puppies you raise!