If you see cute puppies in a pet store, there is a possibility they came from a puppy mill. So they may not be healthy - and you could get sick if they carry one of the viruses common in puppy mill animals, a virus identified by the CDC as resistant to antibiotics. So don't shop - adopt!
The term “puppy mill” was coined over fifty years ago to describe a commercial dog-breeding operation that puts a high priority on profits and provides substandard care for the animals. It has long been believed that many (some would say “most”) puppies and kittens sold in retail pet stores are supplied by animal mills.
You might see a puppy in a pet shop and think of it as a happy, friendly, sociable animal. You may not know that its mother has spent her life in a cramped cage, in squalid conditions, with no veterinary care, no affection and no hope. She is sickly and dirty, with matted hair. She is tired - worn out - and pregnant again. She does not run and play and she is no one’s companion – ever.
And the pet store that bought her puppy, with its pedigree, will soon discover that it too is not healthy. How could it be when it is the product of an unhealthy mother existing in such dire conditions?
There have been efforts to combat the terrible abuse of animals for the purpose of producing countless litters of puppies and kittens for sale. Some states have passed laws to regulate the acquisition of puppies and kittens from animal mills, and some communities have done the same – at least two cities here in Alabama have ordinances to ban the sale of commercially bred pets in retail pet stores.
But some national pet store chains object to those restrictions and have worked to support laws that allow them to acquire pets from any source, including animal mills. In the past couple of years lawmakers in at least six states have rejected legislation that would remove local restrictions on pet stores. Now there is a bill making its way through the Alabama Senate, SB 183, which would nullify efforts in communities like yours to protect its residents from unknowingly buying an animal that is the product of an abusive commercial environment.
This is a time when you can speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, by letting your legislator know how much you care about protecting animals, especially those in your own back yard, when you’re speaking of pets.