Many North Dakotans are unaware that puppy mills are being run right here in our home state. Multiple situations spanning the entire state have recently come to light and make it all too clear that they do exist close to home - and how utterly cruel and abhorrent they are.
Puppy mills are mass breeding establishments that often produce dogs in conditions of filth, lack of shelter, overcrowding, and insufficient food, water and veterinary care. If you buy a puppy mill puppy, you contribute directly to the misery of the adult dogs who spend their entire lives as nothing more than puppy-producing machines. If you're thinking about buying a puppy, consider these facts:
• The stress and trauma of being shipped long distances at young ages to pet shops, coupled with poor sanitation and lack of veterinary care at these mills, make puppy mill puppies more susceptible than most to a variety of diseases.
• The AKC (American Kennel Club) papers that come with your puppy, according to the AKC itself, "in no way indicate the quality or state of health of the dog."
• Although not all dogs in pet shops are from puppy mills, most dogs bred at puppy mills DO end up in pet shops. Puppy mills continue to exist because people buy dogs from pet stores that sell puppies bred at these cruel establishments. If you decide to purchase a pet from a pet store, ask to see the paperwork that lists the breeder's information.
Raker, pictured above, along with his brothers, Tervy and Angelo, came to us from a breeder in the eastern part of the state. They arrived nearly paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. While it is not believed that they were physically abused, we do feel it is still a form of abuse not to properly socialize puppies in your care. They need to safely be exposed to many different people, places and situations in order to gain confidence and become outgoing companions who integrate comfortably into our world. We are now trying to turn back the clock and gently persuade Raker and his siblings that people and new situations can be an exciting adventure, not something to be feared. It is especially frustrating to know that puppies are naturally curious and trusting, and if properly socialized, can quickly learn to handle most situations with ease. But because Raker's world was so isolated, he now spends much time in fear, worry and mistrust instead of play and typical boundless puppy enthusiasm. Love and patience can and has turned many of these unsocialized animals into much-loved family members. However, it is a sad and unnecessary shame that we now must attempt to undo what others so carelessly neglected in his puppyhood.
Tips On What to Look for In a Breeder
You can get a great pet and a great deal by working with a shelter or rescue group, but if you simply must have a purebred puppy, please go to these links and find out what you should know about your breeder before you make a purchase.
•How to Find a Good Dog Breeder (HSUS)
•Responsible Breeder Positioning Statement (ASPCA)
Information Source: Humane Society of the United States