When you walk by a pet store window and peek at all the cute puppies in square glass boxes, do you wonder where they come from? Do you wonder about their parents? If you never have, we would like you to.
This week we launched a Christmas campaign to increase awareness regarding the animal welfare issues associated with the retail sale of animals. Whether it be a pet store, online or through a disreputable breeder, many people look to purchase an animal for someone they love as a gift. The goal of our campaign is to stop that. Much of our campaign focuses on warning consumers that because of poor breeding practices, their new pet will very likely have health and/or behaviour issues. We also point out that many pets that are purchased as gifts at Christmas time are soon abandoned and surrendered, creating more strain on an already burdened animal welfare and rescue system.
Today, when we ask you to take the pledge not to purchase a pet from a pet store, online or from a disreputable breeder we are asking you to think of the parents, and what their lives are like. The retail sales of animals breeds misery, and the mills that produce these animals have one goal and that is to make money. What happens to an animal once it is no longer able to produce? Many are killed, some our abandoned and even fewer are given a second chance and surrendered to a rescue.
We are quick to point to the US when talking about puppy mills,and while we generally agree that Quebec is the puppy mill capital of Canada, there is little recognition that mills exist right here, in British Columbia.
Merlin is the dad to the cute puppy in the window. Merlin is the dad to the cute puppy whose photo you just saw on Kijiji. This is what Merlin looked like when he was handed over to Cariboo Companion Animal Rescue and Rehab Society (CCARRS) by a puppy mill operator. Since 2011, CCARRS has taken in approximately 60 rejected mill dogs from puppy mills in the Thompson River Valley area and Alberta. For these dogs, CCARRS is their only chance. They are no longer of value to the mill operators and will be killed if a rescue does not take them. Through an intermediary, the exchange is arranged. Jan, at CCARRS will receive a phone call to see if she can take in any number of dogs. If Jan says yes, these dogs are given a second chance at life. And Jan says yes, because she knows if she says no, the dogs will be killed.
Spending a lifetime in a crate, with almost no human contact, no socialization and no medical care has a devastating effect on these dogs. When they come into care, none of them are house trained, most are terrified and have no idea how to respond to human contact and many have developed obsessive compulsive behaviours, such as spinning in circles. The rescue and rehabilitation of a puppy mill survivor is very expensive. In addition to the time and resources it takes to rehabilitate these dogs, they also often have extensive medical needs, particularly for their teeth and gums.
Recently they took in 12 puppy mill dogs, including a pregnant female. Her pups are lucky, they will not be sold online or put into a glass box in a store.
They will be transferred to the Lower Mainland into the care Cross our Paws Rescue, where their new families will need more than a credit card before they can take them home.
Puppies are not the only animals that are bred in mills. In fact, any companion animal that is being sold in a pet store or online is very likely from a mill or back yard breeding situation, which is often no more humane, just a much smaller operation. Cats, rabbits, hamster, mice, and other small animals are bred in equally inhumane conditions.
With no regulations to monitor the breeding industry and inadequate laws to protect animals bred and sold for profit, it is up to the consumer to end this inhumane business practice. Our goal with this important campaign and pledge is to increase people’s awareness and let them know they do have options and can be a part of the solution, not the problem.
BC Mill Survivors
You can make a difference. In addition to making a commitment not to purchase a pet from a pet store, online or through a disreputable breeder, you can share this post and ask your friends and family to take the pledge.
You can donate to CCARS and help them with their mounting veterinary care costs and/or you can donate towards our campaign and help us continue to and spread the very important message that Pets Are Not Products and to motivate people to Adopt Don’t Shop. To find out more about our campaign, alternatives, and ways you can help, visit www.petsarenotproducts.com.