We received several emails over the past few weeks regarding the puppies for sale in such stores as True Breeders (Ridgefield, CT) and Puppies of Westport (Westport, CT):
"Out of curiosity, how do they know they're coming from Puppy Mills? It doesn't say in here, and I would think that is an important piece of information. How can a consumer tell the difference?"
From our website: ABOUT PET STORES
Pet store owners, managers and salespersons are interested in your MONEY not your dog. They are businessmen/businesswomen and are often VERY SAVVY salespeople! They want you to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a puppy, and they will say ANYTHING to make it happen!
Have you ever been to a car dealership and felt pressured by the salesperson to buy a car you're not sure you want? Has a salesperson in the mall ever try to convince you into a sale with promises of discounts or warrenties? THESE PEOPLE MAKE MONEY BY CONVINCING YOU TO BUY SOMETHING WITHOUT ALL OF THE FACTS! They bank on the fact that you (and your family) will fall in love with a cute puppy and will use your emotions to suck you into a sale.
GET THE FACTS FIRST!
If you visit a pet store, you may hear the following myths from store owners and salespersons:
PET STORE MYTH #1:
"But that puppy is so cute! Shouldn't I save him/her from the store and give him/her a good home?"
It is a very sad fact that you are not saving a puppy by purchasing one from a pet store. Instead, you putting money into the pockets of puppy mill breeders and encouraging the practice of commercial dog breeding. Supply and demand fuel the puppy mill industry. By giving them your business and money, you are only perpetuating the cruel and inhumane puppy mill business.
PET STORE MYTH #2
"Our puppies come from breeders, not puppy mills."
The word "breeder" is not an exclusive term. Anyone who puts two dogs together and produces puppies is (technically) a breeder. Don't assume that a puppy from a "breeder" did not come from a puppy mill. A responsible breeder would not sell her puppies to a pet store; she would want to meet you in person.
PET STORE MYTH #3
"All our puppies come from USDA-inspected facilities, so we know they are not from puppy mills."
Being USDA-inspected does not mean that the business is not a puppy mill, any more than having a driver's license guarantees that the holder is a good driver. It is extremely rare for the USDA to revoke a commercial breeder's license or even fine a puppy mill that has repeated violations. There are hundreds of USDA-licensed puppy mills in operation that have long lists of violations and problems associated with them.
PET STORE MYTH #4
"We know our breeders are not puppy mills because we only deal with breeders we know."
If a pet store owner or manager tells you this, ask them for documentation that shows exactly where their breeders are located. In most cases, you will find out that the "known breeders" are in distant states. Their definition of "knowing" a breeder often just means that they have been receiving shipments of puppies from the same place repeatedly. The store owner or manager has never visited the breeder's facility or inspected their records.
PET STORE MYTH #5
"We don't sell puppies from local breeders because our state is not regulated, but (the state the puppies come from) is."
Commercial breeders in ALL states who sell wholesale to pet stores are required to be regulated by the USDA. Some states (such as Missouri and Pennsylvania) also require a state kennel license and state inspections. But this does not mean that puppies from these states are healthier. In fact, Missouri and Pennsylvania have two of the worst concentrations of puppy mills in the United States. This is due in part to the small number of qualified inspectors, infrequent inspections, and the fact that even facilities that are found to be substandard during the inspections process are rarely penalized.
PET STORE MYTH #6
"Our store's puppies are healthy—they come with a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian."
A health certificate only means that the puppy has had a very brief "wellness" examination by a veterinarian. This exam may not include testing for genetic disorders or diseases such as Giardia and Brucellosis, both of which are contagious to humans and frequently seen in puppy mill puppies.
PET STORE MYTH #7
"Our puppies come with a health guarantee."
Read "health guarantees" very carefully!! They are often designed to protect the store's interests and not your's. They can be full of exclusions and loopholes, and often require you to return a sick puppy to the store in order to get a refund. Furthermore, the store may use a "health certificate" as "proof" that the puppy was healthy when he or she left the store, leaving the buyer helpless if the puppy becomes sick just a few days after purchase.
PET STORE MYTH #8
"Consumers know our puppies are from good breeders because they are registered and come with papers."
"Purebred" registration papers (from one of many "kennel clubs" or other dog registries) are only a record of a puppy's parents and/or earlier generations. Commercial breeders regularly sell puppies with papers from prestigious sounding "kennel clubs." These papers do NOT ensure an individual puppy (or parent) is healthy, free of genetic defects, or raised in a humane and sanitary environment.
PET STORE MYTH #9
"We know this is a good breeder. We've never had a problem with any of their puppies."
Even facilities with mostly healthy puppies and clean inspection reports are keeping dozens or even hundreds of breeding dogs in cages for their entire lives. These breeding dogs live behind bars from birth until death. They never feel grass under their feet, enjoy a treat or toy, have loving human contact or receive proper veterinary care. They are bred repeatedly until they can no longer reproduce, and then they are discarded.
The real tragedy of puppy mills is that keeping dogs in such a way IS legal and such grievances often slip through the cracks of decent inspections and state/federal regulations. It is ONLY when a significant number of complaints have been received that the authorities are alerted and able to take legal action. Only YOU can stop the cruel cycle of puppy mills, by refusing to buy animals from stores that keep these kinds of breeders in business. You must also make local and national action groups aware that puppy mills are NOT acceptable, and support their efforts to prosecute commercial breeders.
For more information on how YOU can help, support local and national organizations fighting the commercial breeding industry. For a detailed list, click here.
If you have not visited our website, please do so! You can find all of this information and more at http://www.againstpuppymills.org