Puppy Mills and Shelter Pets

Shelter Pets by Mia Anelli

Shelter Pets by Mia Anelli

Good morning readers. I woke up to this idea when Michael sent me a link to the story about 7 puppies dying in the cargo area of a plane.

This occurred on August 3, 2010 when the puppies were in the cargo area of a plane headed to Chicago. Fourteen puppies were being shipped, many on connecting flights, when 7 died from heat related causes. They were shipped out of Tulsa, Oklahoma by a commercial breeder.

I'd like to warn everyone I'm in "zombie genius" mode. I'm sure all the women out there know exactly how I feel today. But I feel like writing and you all seem to tolerate me when I ramble so here goes. First I want to talk about puppy mills and then I want to talk about shelter pets.

It just really confuses me when people buy from the "puppy mill" operations. Which can actually happen just as easily with kittens. There is an Animal Welfare Act that has strict regulations for legitimate breeders. This system has one major flaw. It doesn't cover breeders who sell directly to the public.

Readers, you REALLY need to be careful about these internet animal breeders. With today's technology they have beautiful, creative and legitimate looking websites. Their pages are full of beautiful young pets just waiting for a furever home. I'm only going to say this one time. NEVER buy an animal you haven't met. I really hate to call anyone stupid but I can't seem to come up with a better word for it.

That's like buying a car without checking it out first. I'm not saying don't buy from a breeder. Those of you who want a pedigreed animal with all of the documentation must buy from a breeder. Just check out the breeder and the living situations first. You want to visit where your puppy or kitten was born. You want to see the parents and see the condition of the home. ANYONE who tries to convince you this isn't necessary should send an alarm to your brain that you're doing something very wrong. If something doesn't feel right about a pet adoption-RUN!

True breeder's are proud of the lineage and want you to meet the parents. They don't mind a visit to their home to check out their business. And it IS a business. It wouldn't hurt to call the Better Business Bureau or equivalent to see if there are complaints. Get references, including checking with the breeder's vet. Don't get online with your VISA card and order an animal with as little thought as you order a pizza. Use some common sense!

Okay, I'm rambling. So I'm going to get into "part 2." Animal shelters.

There are so many pets being turned into the shelters. Anywhere from 70%-85% are euthanized because there are simply too many animals and too little room or demand for them (or so they say). If you want a pet PLEASE visit your shelter or a rescue group. Animal shelters are my major project. Every day I look at all of the cross-postings and see the beautiful animals labeled "Last day. Euthanize tomorrow." Do any of you realize how difficult it is for me to see these notices and fall in love with their cute little faces and know they'll be dead in a day if someone doesn't come to their rescue?

My biggest projects are to educate people about micro-chipping their pets, having a game plan in place in case the pet is lost, and encourage my readers to adopt from shelters. I don't mention strays or ferals because those should be taken care of by YOU. Take the time to run an ad in the paper or participate in a TNR program. That animal was led to you for a reason. Don't send it to its death in a shelter.

Okay, back on track. Many shelter pets are full blooded. You just won't have the paperwork to prove it. Think, people! You can usually tell an animal is a pedigree. No other cat looks like a Persian or Maine Coon or Siamese. Not having papers isn't going to make your new furfriend any less lovable.

I encourage shelter adoptions and I encourage older pets. I've never adopted a kitten or puppy. Call me picky, but I want to touch and hold and bond with an animal before I decide to invest in a relationship that can easily last 10+ years. Cats can live over 20 years now if properly cared for. Older cats and dogs adopted from shelters have a certain "look" to them once you get them in their forever home. They know you rescued them and they make you feel like the most special person in the world. Because to them, you are.

My best advice is to adopt the animal who falls in love with you. Take home two if you can afford the time and effort involved.

I support the declawing issue for one main reason. It keeps the cats from being returned to the shelters with behavior problems. Michael and Ruth stress the moral issues and pain aspects. I stress the "don't make the animal a reject for something the OWNER did" perspective. If declawing bans are passed it means less mutilated cats being turned into shelters for issues that shouldn't have happened in the first place. This makes the numbers go down in the shelters.

I'm going to ramble a little more while I'm in zombie mode. I've had several requests lately to attack individual shelters for bad conditions. My advice to my readers on that one is to call the local paper and the local news station. I don't attack individual shelters because this is better handled at a local level. The success rate on correcting shelter corruption is best achieved in person. There is simply too much involved legally for me to do it. I don't want to risk a libel lawsuit and for me to track a shelter from first violation to end result would be so time consuming I'd never have a chance to focus on anything else.

I've said my peace for the day. I hope everyone learned a few things today. No homework. I think drilling a little information into your heads was punishment enough from me. Sorry if I sound like my feathers are a little ruffled today.

Remember the phrase "zombie genius." You'd be surprised how many people will know how you feel when you said it.


P.S. I'm using more of Mia Anelli's photos of shelter pets. She has given me permission as pictures-of-cats is a not for profit site. This is the face of the shelter pet. Loving, gentle and wanting a forever home. Nothing else matters. I'm sorry the picture of the little gray kitten is a little fuzzy. Something is telling me to leave her there for everyone to see. Her name is Gertrude. These animals are all at the East Valley Animal Shelter in Los Angeles, California.

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Puppy Mills and Shelter Pets

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Aug 15, 2010
I hate puppy mills
by: Leah

I hate that animals are sometimes a commodity and I hate even more that wherever theres a demand there'll always be supply. For heavens sake use your common sense! Elisa is absolutely right! Don't be a snob, papers don't matter try the shelters first; don't patronise the puppy farms!

Aug 15, 2010
Puppy Mills and Shelter Pets
by: BJ

I enjoy reading all your stories, haven't read a bad one yet.

Our 3 feral cats are doing well, just beginning to let us get near them. They come when we call them for food. One of the kittens will come pretty close now, it won't be long before we may be able to pet them.

People that run abusive puppie mills should be arrested and given the same time as people that abuse children.

Aug 14, 2010
good idea!
by: Dee

Very good article! These stories need to get out to the public at large!

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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