Filed under Opinion

Adopt your pets!

Adopt your pets!

Everyone loves looking at the cute little puppies in the pet store window — their little puff-ball bodies are bouncing around just to get a chance to lick your face.

It’s so tempting to buy the little guys and take them home, but I’m telling you to resist the compulsion to do so.

A few years ago, I was watching “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and journalist Lisa Ling conducted a documentary in which she exposed the ugly truth about how most people buy their pets —through pet stores that get their animals from puppy and kitty mills. As a dog and cat lover, this really hit home to me.

An animal advocacy organization called Friends of Animals’ website defines puppy mills as “crude, outdoor breeding farms that mass-produce puppies
for sale.”

These dogs live in cramped, dirty, wire kennels, with little to no exercise or human interaction. They stand where they poop. Actually, some don’t even have room to stand.

These animals are neglected and if the workers at puppy mills do pay attention to them, they are abusing them. The terrible conditions may even lead to future health and behavioral issues.

According to the website of an organization called ARF, which stands for Adopt, Rescue and Foster, there are an estimated 4,000 puppy mills in the United States.

All of those breeding farms produce about a half a million dogs a year.

Because of the mass-production of animals in puppy and kitty mills, shelters everywhere are holding more pets than they can handle. Because of that, shelters are forced to euthanize many cats and dogs.

A lot of people are not aware that most pet stores heavily rely on puppy mills for their revenue.

I didn’t know until recently, and it drives me crazy how much pet stores keep it a secret or how often the employees don’t even know their animals come from puppy mills.

The puppy mill owners call themselves “breeders,” which sounds fine enough to buyers.

But pet stores and other buyers often don’t know how many animals they breed and the conditions in which the animals are kept, because the breeders either lie or don’t bother to tell them.

Though we may want to buy puppies to save them from the terrible conditions of puppy mills, it’s important to remember that doing so will only support those terrible breeding farms.

So here’s what you can do: Resist buying your pets at pet stores and instead, adopt your pets from shelters.

It’s a lot cheaper than pet stores, and from my experience, Humane Society employees are super nice and helpful. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing that you gave a deserving animal a home.

Even if you’re not planning to have a pet anytime soon, you can still help prevent the support of puppy mills by telling other pet owners about it.

If more people knew about the terrible conditions these animals are placed in, we could all really make a difference.

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