What are puppy mills?
Puppy mills are large scale dog breeding operations that prioritize profits over the well being of the dogs. This means that the dogs are treated as inventory rather than actual living organisms. All of the dogs are crammed into small cages, they hardly get any food or clean water, and they get no exercise. The mothers are used solely to produce litters upon litters of puppies, and the operators of the mill have no regard for the toll that this takes on the her body. Once the mother can't produce puppies anymore, she is disregarded. She can be set free into the woods, she can be drowned, or she can be shot. A gruesome and sad truth of one certain puppy mill in Canada was uncovered. A mill was found scattered with multiple piles of dead, partially eaten dogs in the corners of the facility and behind it. The starving adult dogs had reverted to eating the newborn puppies in attempt to stay alive. This is no way for an animal to live.
Why does this matter to me?
Most people love dogs. Even if you aren't one of those people, you still may care about the ethical treatment of living organisms. Puppy mills are extremely inhumane places, along with the pet stores that they sell their "products" to. When people support pet stores, whether they know it or not, they also support the inhumane treatment of dogs. When you buy from a pet store, you are providing the need for the pet store to fill an empty space on its shelves. To fill this space, they will buy another dog from a puppy mill. When they buy from puppy mills, it gives puppy mill owners reason to keep producing dogs to sell. However, if we stop buying dogs from pet stores, they will have no need to fill a space and buy more dogs from puppy mills, which in turn gives the puppy mill operators no reason to keep the shop up and running. Even if you go to the pet store just to look at the cute puppies and know that you aren't going to buy one, it still gives the pet store the publicity it needs to stay open. Pet stores and puppy mills are unethical and we must stop supporting them with our business.
What's in it for me?
If you are looking to welcome a new dog into your home, you can benefit by not buying from a pet store.
Lets talk money. The average cost of a pet store dog is about $900, while the average cost of an animal shelter dog is only around $100. You can save big bucks initially by adopting rather than purchasing from a pet store. The lower cost of animal shelters also includes all veterinary care necessary to ensure that your new dog will be happy and healthy at home, while the cost of the pet store dog includes little to no vet care. This means that within a few days after purchase from a pet store, you will need to take your pet to the vet to make sure no ailments have gone untreated, as well as getting routine vaccines. Dogs from puppy mills often have a multitude of genetic issues due to inbreeding. This will lead to hefty hospital bills from issues that will often affect the rest of its life.
Shelters often become overcrowded and run out of room to accept new dogs. When this happens, they must euthanize dogs so they can take in new ones. This is a very unfortunate necessity, but we can help put an end to it. When you adopt from a shelter rather than buying from a pet store, you are making room for another dog to enter the shelter. This prevents the need to make room by means of euthanasia. By adopting, you are saving the life of the dog you adopted and saving the life of a stray by providing room for it in the shelter.