How much is that doggie?
Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 7:01 pm
By: Bo Bradshaw, Tennessee News Service
Nashville – You can buy just about anything online now, but when that purchase is a brand new puppy, how much do you really know about where or how that puppy came to be?
Thousands of dogs are bred and sold by large-scale commercial breeders of the type often called “puppy mills,” and these dogs can come with diseases which can ring up huge vet bills for the unwitting buyer, says Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign at The Humane Society of the United States.
She says lots of these pups are bred and kept in filthy, cramped cages in settings where humane treatment takes a back seat to profits.
“We see dogs that are just filthy, they have severe illnesses and diseases; oftentimes they’re genetic diseases.
“We’ve seen facilities where the dogs haven’t been fed.”
Kahn says there are no federal regulations covering breeders who sell dogs directly to the public.
Her organization has an online petition gathering signatures to ask the Obama administration to require commercial breeders to be covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act regulations, which would require minimum standards for humane treatment.
She says The Humane Society recommends adopting a dog from a local shelter or a rescue organization first, even if you are looking for a specific breed.
She says about 25 percent of homeless dogs are purebred animals. However, she says, if you do decide to go through a breeder, do a little research first.
“We encourage people to go to a responsible breeder; that’s someone who does not breed their dogs purely for profit, someone who genuinely cares about the welfare of the dog.”
Kahn says a good online resource to find dogs in your area is petfinder.com.
For information about the difference between a responsible breeder and a puppy mill operator, visit humanesociety.org
The online petition is at tinyurl.com/42hl4bc.