We all love our furry little friends. They get so excited when we come home to them. Wagging tails and wet kisses are the best, aren't they?
What most people don't know is where that cute puppy in the window you purchased from a pet store comes from. Over 99% of them come from mass producing mills. Puppy mills are factories. These facilities are packed with wired bottom crates. These crates are filled with breeding dogs. The breeding dogs live a life of agony and hell. They are fed just enough to be kept alive. They receive minimal to no vet care. They sustain wounds from trying to break free and fighting that are not tended to. They get zero exercise or free time to roam. They become aggressive from being stuffed into crates with multiple other dogs and kill each other at an alarming rate.
When the female is in heat (EVERY HEAT), which is approximately every 6 months, she is taken from her crate and tied to a "rape stand." A male of the same breed is pulled from his crate and held behind her until the deed is done. This takes place over their entire lives. When one of the mating dogs is no longer able to reproduce, very few of the mills will surrender these dogs to rescues. Instead they are killed one of two ways. They are either shot in the head or their head is bashed in with a rock. They are then thrown in a steel drum and set on fire. This is not a life for any living creature let alone man's best friend.
Now onto the puppies that are the product of these mills. The puppies are taken away from the mom at birth. They don't get the nutrients they need from the mother's milk to thrive. They are transported to the stores with multiple other dogs from other litters. They are not vaccinated and carry a multitude of diseases, most of which are contagious to the other puppies.
There is one virus that is deadly that is also contagious to humans known as campylobacter. Hundreds of puppies have died from this virus over the past year. There are 20 known cases of human hospitalization from this virus, mostly children. The dogs are transported in the backs of trucks with no heat or air conditioning. They are supposed to be quarantined from the public and the other puppies for two weeks when they arrive at the store but this very rarely happens. Truckloads of puppy deliveries have been stopped recently by the SPCA on Long Island because the puppies were noticeably sick when they arrived at the store. When the puppies are sent back to the mills ‒ even they have just a slight deformation ‒ they are killed because there is no longer a use for them.
Recently my rescue was informed that a woman purchased a puppy at Worldwide Puppies and Kittens and it died two days later. One of my colleagues and I went into the store on New Year's Day pretending we were in the market to purchase a dog. I came across a 3 month old Basset Hound puppy that was emaciated and had labored breathing. We asked one of the employees what was wrong with her. Her response was she was having trouble breathing because she had just been vaccinated and she didn't know why she was emaciated since she ate so much. The store tried to get me to leave a deposit not once but twice on this sick puppy. My colleague and I called the SPCA when we were told she wouldn't be vetted until the following day. There was no way she would have made it through the night. When the Detective showed up he threatened to confiscate the puppy. The owner of the store agreed to get her immediate vet care if he could keep her. He did. The puppy was in the hospital for 14 days. As if this wasn't bad enough, most illnesses take about two weeks to present. The stores put the puppies up for sale to the unknowing public sooner than they should. You are given a two week lemon law warranty on your new puppy. More often than not its expired by the time the illness presents leaving the purchaser with thousands of dollars in vet bills.
There are currently over 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States. Puppy Mills are USDA certified. So when the store tells the consumer this they think it's coming from a good place. There are approximately 100 employees to check on these mills. It has become so overwhelming they are now allowing these mill operators to do "self-inspections."
There is currently a bill in the Senate and Assembly that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in NYS that come from these breeding facilities. We are not trying to put these stores out of business. We are trying to shut the mills down. Other states and cities have passed similar laws and the stores work with local rescues, shelters and reputable breeders to adopt out puppies. It can be done. The bill has already passed in the Domestic Animal Welfare Committee in the Senate and is now sitting in the Assembly's Agricultural Committee awaiting a vote. We don't have nearly enough support in the Assembly at this time to make this bill into a reality. We need help putting pressure on some of the Assembly members to help push this bill out of committee. If you can spare five minutes please email the Assembly members listed below and urge them to support this bill. Our companions can't speak for themselves. We need to be their voice.
The Assembly bill is A6298A.
(Chair of the Agricultural committee)