I wanted to thank the animal advocates who protested outside of Pups4Love recently.
They are 100 percent right in saying that puppies that are sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, the notorious breeding facilities that treat dogs horribly.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the dogs who are forced to breed in puppy mills are packed into small, unsanitary wire cages.
They receive no companionship or love. They’re often underfed, and they get little if any basic veterinary care. Many have never laid a paw on the ground.
About eight years ago, I worked for a no-kill animal shelter that routinely brought back dogs and puppies rescued from puppy mills from all around the country, and even from right here on Long Island.
I saw firsthand the heart-breaking condition these dogs were in. They were horribly matted, infested with ticks and fleas and open sores; their paws were often raw and bloodied from standing on wire cages; they were covered in feces and urine, and some had nails so long they were piercing the dogs’ paw pads.
Moreover, they were absolutely petrified. Many cowered and shook when a person leaned toward them to give them affection.
These dogs have had no experience with loving, human touch. For anyone who loves dogs, you know how crucial it is for these precious animals to bond with their humans and with other animals.
I will never forget the sad and frightened looks on the faces of these breeding dogs. I only wish that anyone who heads to a pet store to buy a puppy had to see what I saw.
In addition, because of the conditions, the puppies are born into, many of these pups carry diseases and parasites. They may appear healthy and happy, only to fall ill within days or weeks of being purchased.
At the shelter, we heard story after story of people who had bought puppies who died well before their time, often after their purchasers spent thousands of dollars trying to save them.
For those who are determined to buy a purebred puppy, you must visit the breeder in person. See for yourself that the breeding dogs are healthy and kept in humane, loving homes.
USDA regulations mean nothing, nor does so-called A.K.C. certification. You must see for yourself.
People who care for and love the dogs they breed never sell them to puppy stores. They want to meet the people who are buying their pups because they don’t want them to end up in abusive situations.
They will want to interview you to make sure you will provide these pups with a loving home.
Bottom line: For true animal lovers, the only option is to adopt a puppy or dog from a shelter or rescue group. These dogs will be grateful to you for the rest of their lives, and you will be so thankful that you adopted them. Save lives. Adopt, don’t shop.