Do: Rescue, Don’t: Breed

Alyssa Stevens, Special to The Big Red

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The real crime in the puppy world is not the dogs being put down in overflowing shelters, rather it is that dogs endure forced reproduction and terrible conditions for cheap marketing. Nearly 200,000 dogs are kept in tiny, dirty cages for breeding alone, let alone the puppies they produce.

These dogs suffer immensely for the puppy mill owners to profit as much as they can. Those 200,000 dogs kept for breeding get the worst of the situation, but the 2 million puppies that are bred certainly suffer later in life. The conditions in these puppy mills are horrendous. There are hundreds of dogs kept in tiny cages, often stacked on top of each other.

These dogs are not paid much attention to or taken care of other than to force them to breed and ensure they deliver the puppies.

For breeding dogs, they must do everything in the tiny 4 foot by 4-foot cage. Only 6 inches of extra room is given to dogs. In this tiny space, they eat, sleep, pee, poop, and give birth. On top of this, the cages have sharp edges everywhere. Edges where newborn puppies know no better but to walk into, get cut, not understand, do it all over again. It is unsanitary and cruel as they never see the light of day, they are never loved.

These dogs experience a multitude of abuses due to how unsanitary and dangerous it is. Among the conditions are the many diseases these dogs face and the little treatment they get for them. One such medical issue is the dogs’ nails growing out.

In a normal adoption shelter, the dogs are really well taken care of in all aspects, including the regular trimming of nails. Meanwhile, in puppy mills they pay no attention to the health of the animals. Due to this, many of the dogs will have nails so long that they begin to curl. This causes their nails to get stuck on the wires of the cages, trapping the dog.

For the puppies born in mills, they suffer for life too.

Being raised in puppy mills can cause fatal medical problems and lifelong behavioral issues. Due to the absolute lack of care, the puppies often get very sick from all the feces they live in and that gets in their food. Many puppies go to their forever homes already deadly sick and soon to die.

These diseases are absolutely preventable. If only the breeders would take a second look at what they’ve done to these animals, millions of families would not have to lose their new member only weeks or days after meeting them.

Puppies are pulled away from their mothers before they’re even 8 weeks old. This causes major behavioral issues later in their lives. The first 8-12 weeks of a puppy’s life are the most important, as they develop all of their behaviors in the first few months of their lives. When pulling a puppy away from its mother too early, it can disrupt their growing process.

Being stuck in a dark, unhealthy cage is bad enough for these newborns, but then pulling them away from their one comfort, before they’re ready, to stick them in a cage at a pet store causes tons of issues. These behavioral issues are the biggest reason that a family will bring their dog to a shelter, they just can’t handle it.

The only way we can try to stop puppy mills is to not support them. Don’t give those breeders the money they destroy these dogs for. Instead, the best thing for us to do when in search of a dog is to go to a shelter. Preferably a no-kill shelter as we don’t want to support kill shelters either, but any shelter works.