CERTAINLY NOT ‘A DOG’S LIFE’
Puppy mills are high-volume, substandard dog-breeding facilities that put profits before animal health and welfare. Dogs are force-bred continuously, litter after litter. Mothers, fathers and puppies are denied proper veterinary care. They are not bathed or groomed causing inflammation, urine scald and infections. Their cages are without adequate ventilation, and this coupled with urine and feces build-up, causes high ammonia concentrations that irritate eyes, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Dogs cannot express normal behaviours, and, instead, develop coping behaviours such as circling constantly, licking paws excessively, self-mutilation, and howling. These dogs are malnourished due to insufficient quantity and quality of food, as well as minimal clean water availability.
Most are imprisoned with several other dogs in cramped and stacked kennels, so they suffer deformities and painful ulcers from standing on wire cage bottoms. Feces and urine fall through the wire and onto the dogs below causing them to remain filthy, matted, and coated in excrement. Kennels are cleaned with power washers while dogs remain in their cages, some losing eyes in the process. Too many dogs are also physically brutalized by their captors.
Take a moment to imagine living like this with nowhere to escape.
Now envision all of this happening to a dog that weighs about five kilos or less. The majority of puppy mill dogs are vulnerable toy and small breeds as they are less expensive to feed and control, and because it’s possible to keep them in large numbers.
Most mill dogs are inadequately protected from extreme weather conditions. Many of them suffer unimaginable pain before perishing in the summer heat or frigid winter temperatures. The puppies who are lucky enough to survive are stolen from their mothers much too young and are subjected to the harsh conditions of transportation from mills to pet stores and markets.
The puppies delivered to pet stores and flea markets and purchased via online sources are born into these disgusting, unhealthy and overcrowded conditions. They are prone to hip dysplasia, bladder and bowel disorders, dislocated and deformed limbs, blindness, eye and ear infections, parvovirus, distemper, ulcers and parasites, as well as psychological problems such as aggression, anxiety and fear. Many ailments are not immediately apparent, or disclosed, when the puppy is sold. Thousands of new pet owners pay dearly for their purchase – financially for large vet bills – and emotionally when their puppy is sick and dies within months.
An estimated 95% of puppies sold in pet stores or online come from these disgusting places. For every puppy purchased, the parent dogs are left to suffer this horrible fate.
Knowing all of this, isn’t it astounding that puppy mills are NOT illegal in Canada? Our Federal animal cruelty law is wholly inadequate for preventing and shutting down these mills. The current section of the Canadian Criminal Code is written in such a way that it is nearly impossible to hold a puppy miller criminally responsible for animal cruelty. If a puppy miller happens to be convicted, the law offers little punishment for this crime, and most simply pay their fine and return to the business of torturing dogs for profit.
If you have been privileged to be loved by a dog, you already understand that they are extraordinary sentient beings. There has been a paradigm shift in thinking where the majority of Canadians are vehemently against any form of animal cruelty and more and more citizens are of the opinion that their dogs are part of their family unit and not merely a piece of their property.
If a dog has not touched you personally, you no doubt still have some understanding that these animals are our companions, with the combination of sophisticated intelligence, sensitivity, instinct, and compassion to aid humankind in most, if not all, areas of life. The list of jobs that dogs are capable of doing, with and without formal training, is truly awe-inspiring, and their willingness to risk their own safety for ours is immeasurable.
Here’s a brief list of what we train ‘man’s best friend’ to do for us:
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- Hearing Ear Dogs
- Therapy Dogs (Their sole purpose is to make people feel better.)
- Seizure Detection Dogs
- Search and Rescue Dogs
- Guard/Watch Dogs
- Water Rescue Dogs
- Police Dogs
- Detection Dogs – from bombs to drugs
- Cadaver Detection Dogs
- Herding Dogs
- Courtroom Dogs
There are also endless stories of how family dogs, with no specific training, have saved lives or assisted humans without hesitation.
No one knows for certain how many puppy mills there are in this country because breeders are not obligated by law to register. However, we do know that hundreds of thousands of dogs suffer each year from the horrific conditions of mills. We sincerely hope you join our effort to end this unnecessary and completely preventable suffering.
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