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January 21, 2009
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February 17, 2009
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Puppies From Hell

If you are expecting an article on bad puppy behavior, you’re on the wrong page. You’ve probably all heard of puppy mills. If you haven’t, the life you’re living is way to sheltered and you need to get out more, watch the news more or get on the computer more often. Puppy mills are disgusting, appalling, inhumane death traps for dogs and puppies that must be stopped! The investigation by the Humane Society of the United States into the Petland pet store chain is the most current puppy mill investigation that I know of as I write this.

It’s not just the puppies that suffer, in fact the puppies themselves have a chance to get out when they are sold and transported to pet stores and given a chance at a new life. But that doesn’t make it right. They are only lucky IF the person who purchases them are actually animal lovers who will provide properly and lovingly for their needs and not some sick individual who will treat them with cruelty and neglect.

Puppy mill puppies are never socialized which means they have no contact with humans. Can you imagine their fear as they are passed from hand to hand not knowing what is going to happen to them or to know that at least some humans are good and kind and are only there to help them? Puppies and dogs are like babies, they need people to properly care for them or they die, most often a long painful death.

Puppy mill puppies are born in filthy conditions, their Moms have probably never been out of their cage and probably never will be.

Imagine yourself being confined to a very small closet with a wire bottom where you pooh and pee on the dogs below you because your cage is stacked on top of one or more cages below you. Imagine being poohed and peed on by the dogs above you and not having a shower available to clean yourself up.

Imagine not having enough food or water, or if you do have these luxuries, chances are it’s not enough, it’s poor quality or it’s disgustingly filthy and maybe rotting. Imagine a pond with algae growing in it. Not much different than the bowl of water or food made available to these animals IF water is even provided.

Imagine yourself or your child being forced to breed. This is not really any different than rape if you think about it. Not all dogs want to or are ready to breed when the puppy mill’s human owners say “it’s time.” These pups are forced to breed as soon as the females go into their first heat. That is at the “ripe old age” of only about six months old! They may have the proper plumbing, but that doesn’t make it right or safe for their physical or mental well-being. Any woman who’s had even one child knows how mentally demanding and physically exhausting having a child is. Now imagine having several at one time and being forced to repeat the process every six months like a machine! Imagine having no place to “shoo them out to play” because the cage is to small. Imagine not being able to get out of your home to give yourself some breathing room. Would you not quickly go insane? I know I would! Speaking of breathing room, there isn’t enough air freshener in the world to mask the odor of the filth you’re living in. Would you want your child to breathe air like what the dogs and pups in a puppy mill breathe? Ever been in a barn? Now multiply this odor by hundreds or thousands.

Imagine having no toys, no one to cuddle with, no interaction with loving humans. Being confined with no way to really live the way dogs are supposed to live can literally drive a dog to insanity. Dogs are social creatures. They need to experience regular interaction with people and life just like you or I do. Denied the basic needs of life, they become lonely, fearful and potentially aggressive. Ever gone all winter without playing your favorite game of golf? Ever gone months on end without any human interaction whatsoever? Ever lived alone with no family or friends to talk to or hug? Ever not had a single sole to share your thoughts with? These human needs are no different than what a dog needs.

Aside from the health problems that puppy mill dogs are likely going to have (which can be numerous and very devastating), dogs that aren’t socialized most often wind up with behavioral problems, they don’t know how they are supposed to act in the outside world because no one ever showed them. If you are an unsuspecting purchaser and particularly if you are not the most dog savvy person around, you won’t have a clue what to look for or how to correct any behavior problems that arise.

Want to hear just one of the by-products a puppy mill pup and family may live with? This is a true story and is a chapter in of our lives.

Many years ago we were lucky enough to adopt a Yorkshire Terrier pup that was a product of a puppy mill. After a long fight, our Sheriff’s Department and Humane Society were able to shut down a local puppy mill. When this happened, the actress and animal lover, Doris Day, donated a large sum of money to help with the rescue of these dogs. There were 120 dogs confined in stacked cages where there was only room enough for 20 dogs. Our precious Damien lived his entire life with epilepsy which the vet determined could have very well come from his early living conditions. Have you ever seen an epileptic seizure? It’s not pretty and it’s darn scary! He paid the price for the puppy mill owners greed. We gave him a great life, but he had to be on daily doses of awful tasting medication to help control the seizures. We paid the price in the additional vet bills, medications and the heartbreak of helplessly watching him seize whenever an attack occurred. As he got older the number of seizures increased. I can tell you from personal experience that watching something like this is one of the saddest experiences of my life. Although he lived to the age of 16 and has been gone for a few years now, the feeling of helplessness in only being able to move furniture and other objects out of his way while he seized is something I’ll never forget. If we crated him when we had to leave the house we risked the chance of a seizure injury should he get his paw caught in the crate wires, if we didn’t crate him he could have a seizure and hurt himself on something in the environment, fall down the stairs or any number of other horrible things could have happened to him.

What happens then? There’s a good chance you won’t be able to handle the dog as it gets older and you may turn to surrendering the dog to an animal shelter or euthanization.

I clicked over to YouTube tonight to review videos on puppy mills to put on this site. I’m not a total stranger to what goes on in puppy mills, I’ve done some reading, seen some programs on television and so what I found was no surprise really. I fully expected to see what I saw and to feel the sadness and helplessness in the videos and I fully expected to have my heart broken by each and every video I viewed and I had no doubt I was going to break down in tears which is exactly what happened.

We all lead busy lives, it’s very easy for us to ignore things that aren’t put directly in front of us. If no one puts it in front of us, we have the option of putting it smack dab in front of our own faces. We don’t have to practice the art of ignoring. As intelligent caring humans, we can make our own choices. Pups and dogs living in puppy mills do not. They’re at the mercy of the despicable people that call themselves members of the human race that run these inhumane organizations and those that use them to make money.

I recently had a friend pass on some information to me and a request that I add it to the site. I was more than happy to fill her request. She wanted me to encourage people to write their State Senator and State Representative about the need for legislation, similar to Pennsylvania’s, to regulate dog breeding in Wisconsin. Since Pennsylvania passed their legislation, some of the Amish have moved to Wisconsin to legally breed many dog breeds in puppy mill conditions which also includes the cruel breeding of dogs where the temperatures, humidity, exercise and light in the barns is not up to standards. You may as well put these poor things in microwaves because this is what living in a puppy mill is like in many cases.

Every state needs to pass laws governing dog breeders. There are thousands of people willing to jump in and help remove puppy mill dogs from a life of hell, but without laws in place, their hands are tied.

She also gave me a link to an article called “Puppy Hell” that you may be interested in reading. It was written by Mary Van de Kamp Nohl for the Milwaukee Magazine.

Did you know that in some European countries, people from the United States have a very bad reputation for pet ownership? In order to own a pet in some areas, you must first prove you are a responsible pet owner before they’ll allow you to own one? How’s that for a reputation for our Country?

Please, won’t you take a few minutes to contact your state and federal lawmakers and request they pass laws which will allow the compassionate people willing to help to stamp puppy mills off the face of the Earth? The cost is the price of a stamp and only takes a few minutes out of your busy day. If you don’t want to fork out the cost of a stamp or if you’re an e-mailer by heart, you can always visit your state’s web site or the Federal Government’s website and obtain the email address for the appropriate offices. In Wisconsin, we have legislation in the works and it’s called the Wisconsin Dog Purchaser Protection Act. I think it’s “Lemon Law” clause could use a little work, but hey, this bill is by far better than nothing! Hint hint! There is contact information on the page the link will direct you to! There ya go! You don’t even have to find it yourself.

Perhaps some of you pet-loving teachers out there might consider a class project where your students would write to your government officials? I would agree that puppy mills is not a pleasant topic for children, but it is a part of life that they do need to know about. Children are most often some of our biggest pet-lovers and can be very persuasive when it comes to talking to adults! Sometimes they can get through to adults (like congress people and senators!) where adult reasoning can’t! If we allow them to and give them a chance to learn about things that are unpleasant, they are likely to want to do something constructive about unpleasant facts of life when they grow up. I urge you to not hide things like this from them. Give them a chance to join in this fight while they are young and they might just take it with them as adults becoming advocates for crushing animal cruelty!

We’ve known for a very long time to never purchase a puppy (cat or other animal for that matter) from a pet store. We hope that if you’re looking to add a pet to your family, please first consider adopting from an animal rescue or shelter. There is such an over abundance of wonderful critters out there who need good, safe, loving homes and not nearly enough homes for them. If you simply must have a puppy from a breeder, please please – do your homework, investigate and purchase only from a reputable breeder. But before you visit a breeder – please for a few moments, think hard … what is so darn important about getting a puppy from a breeder vs. adopting? I can assure you that it’s a total and absolute myth that adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue will bring you nothing but problems. It’s also total garbage that if you’re going to get a dog, you must start with a puppy so it can grow up with your family. Some of the best pets in the world were adopted from some kind of pet shelter or rescue and they weren’t all puppies or youngsters.

Pet stores are like any other retail establishment, they don’t care who they sell to or what they sell. It’s all about profit – theirs not yours and it’s certainly not for the benefit of the pup you’re buying. If the pet stores that sell puppy mill pups are not seeing a profit from the sale of their puppies, they will have no other recourse but to stop selling them.

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