A couple weeks ago, 225 dogs were rescued from a breeding operation called Poodle Palace in Sparta, Tennessee. The dogs were mostly toy poodles and other “designer” dogs. According to reports, when authorities arrived on the scene, the stench from the facility was so bad that officers were unable to enter the 1,200 square foot home. The conditions were abysmal. The dogs were overcrowded, ill, malnourished, matted, and covered in feces and urine. Ultimately, the dogs were rescued by the Humane Society’s Puppy Mill Task Force and were distributed to rescues in Nashville, Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Chicago.
The Big Picture
According to the Humane Society, they’ve rescued more dogs in Tennessee than any other state; however, the reality is that puppy mills are a national problem. Despite the estimated 11,000 animals euthanized in American shelters every day, the number of puppy mill dogs has not declined. Why?
Think back to high school economics. Remember the supply and demand curve? The simple concept is that, as long as there’s a demand for a product, the supply will be created to meet that demand. So as long as there’s a demand for designer dogs, these puppy mills will continue to churn out puppies.
Some Facts about Puppy Mills
While the federal Animal Welfare Act should regulate puppy mills, the law is rarely enforced. The majority of U.S. puppy mills are found in seven states: Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. In Missouri alone, the puppy mill industry is valued at roughly $40 million. Nationwide, approximately 500,000 puppy mill dogs are sold in 3,500 pet stores annually. Puppy mills are big business.
How Can You Help?
- Eliminate the demand for puppy mill dogs by adopting your next pet from a shelter or rescue.
- Spay or neuter your pet to prevent accidental litters.
- Consider signing a pledge like the Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills Pledge.
- Write letters to your local and state representatives encouraging them to enact or enforce humane legislation.
- Does your town have pet shops that sell puppies? Stage protests and encourage friends and family to adopt from your local shelter.
What do you think? Any other ideas or suggestions on how to combat puppy mills?