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A Kind of Legal Animal Abuse

A Kind of Legal Animal Abuse
  • Sophia Sanchez

Imagine a life confined to a dark, small, and cold cage.  Imagine never having been outside to see the light of day, never having been on a quick walk or enjoyed the overwhelming pleasure of stretching your legs out as far as they’ll reach.  Imagine being riddled with illness due to malnutrition, a life with zero socialization, a life so full of loneliness and neglect you’ve become terrified of everyone around you. Imagine a life who’s entire worth is measured in only one way….  Your ability to reproduce.

This is the life of a typical commercial breeding dog.

Most of you have heard the term puppy mill.  And most of you have probably made the connection at some point that puppy mills are… “bad.”  But do you know why?

Envision a farm full of livestock.  What do their lives look like before being slaughtered to distribute to the food industry?  They are given numbers instead of names, forced to sleep in foul-smelling barns, grazing until someone decides their time has expired.  The health and welfare of these animals takes a backseat to increasing profits. Does this seem too farfetched? Not quite….

A puppy mill is a large-scale, commercial dog-breeding facility that is exactly this.  A business where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Dogs are kept in overcrowded & cramped kennels, left in unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. Puppies, often as young as 8 weeks old, are sold to pet stores, or directly to the public over the internet, through newspaper ads, flea markets, etc.  And when breeding dogs can no longer reproduce, they are often killed; shot in the head, forgotten the moment they’re gone. No guilt, no compassion… Just another day in the life of a commercial breeder.  The few rescued, are haunted with life-long health issues as a result of the deplorable conditions in which they were kept - decaying teeth, swollen paws, ear infections, blindness, and even limb deformities.

The worst kind of animal abuse… and it’s all completely legal.

But how can that be?  Because a commercial breeding farm is governed under the same arm of the law as livestock.  With few and very lenient laws in place to protect these animals, their lives are seen as nothing more than a means to an end.

There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills currently operating across America.  Each year, these breeding facilities pump out over TWO MILLION puppies that are then transported all across the country.  One breeding female can have over 160 puppies in her lifetime.  And yet there are an average of three to four million dogs that enter shelters each year, with a rate of over one million of them being euthanized.

Do you see the connection?  Because the two are very much linked.

The truth is, most people do not do their research when shopping for a dog.  They see a picture of a cute pup and think, "I want one of those," without any thought to whether or not that breed of dog is a right fit for them and their lifestyle.  Now tie in that many of these puppy mill dogs are also predisposed to illnesses because of the conditions within the walls in which they were born.  So many of these same puppies end up in shelters as a result.  It is a perpetual cycle of animal cruelty that we - as humans - keep in business.

The moral of the story is, stop buying your dogs.  There are millions in need of homes.  And the very first step to ending the overpopulation of homeless dogs in this country is to put an end to puppy mills.  When we stop buying our pets, we stop lining the pockets of these animal abusers.