Archive for Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Letter to the editor: puppy mills

October 22, 2003

Puppy mills

To the editor:

Today, something new at the Kansas City Star was brought to my attention. It was Right Price auctions. I checked out the Website. There were probably about 30 "gift certificates" to Petland. Most were for purchases on live animals ... mostly puppies. There are several reasons this is wrong.

Most puppies that are supplied to pet shops come from puppy mills. For those not familiar with puppy mill puppies, they are usually unhealthy, under-nourished and sometimes inbred. Dogs live in extremely cramped, unclean quarters, with multiple dogs to a cage. They have to live through harsh winters and hot summers. Some starve to death. Some are de-barked, if you will, by having metal rods shoved down their throats to rupture their vocal cords. The breeding stock dogs are forced to mate and have litter after litter after litter. When they no longer produce decent offspring, generally they are killed.

As long as pet shops continue to sell dogs, and as long as consumers continue to purchase pets at these shops, the misery of puppy mills will continue.

Thousands of unwanted, homeless pets die every day in shelters and humane societies. Approximately one in seven dogs put to death in shelters is a pure breed. They are healthy, most are housebroken, most are temperament tested, and have received veterinary care. Why anyone would spend $500 to $1,500 on an unhealthy, un-socialized puppy from a pet shop simply because they are cute and fluffy and have "papers" is beyond my understanding.

Giving pets as gifts is wrong in its own right. The choice to become a responsible pet owner should not be done on impulse. A lot of thought should be put into it, because the animal is going to be your responsibility for the rest of its life. Of course, this is usually not the case. So think about this when you are putting your bid into the Right Price auction. Many animals purchased from pet shops end up at an animal shelter -- once the buyer figures out what it takes to be a responsible pet owner.

Kris Taylor,

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