It was reported that Britney Spears purchased a Yorkshire Terrier puppy for $3,000 from a pet store in Bel Air, Calif. after spending less than 30 minutes in the shop. The Humane Society of the United States is extremely concerned not only that the pop star purchased a dog from a pet store, but also that she apparently took very little time to make such a major decision.
According to Stephanie Shain, The HSUS director of outreach for companion animals, “Ms. Spears is setting a damaging example to the public. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills -- factory-like facilities, churning out purebred and “designer” puppies in large numbers. Puppy mills look only to make a profit; commonly disregard the dog’s physical and emotional health; and do not adhere to sound breeding practices. The result is often sick or dying puppies who suffer from genetic, mental and physical problems that are not immediately apparent. The consequence is always breeding dogs left for years suffering in cages. Every time someone purchases a dog from a pet store, they risk perpetuating the horrendous business of puppy mills.”
In addition, The HSUS is concerned that Ms. Spears took little time to choose the right dog. Shain explains, “Choosing a dog is a major lifestyle decision that should not be taken lightly. We suggest that people take time to choose a member of their family, and to be sure they are working with a reputable breeder.”
Most pet stores are adamant that they do not support puppy mills and that the dogs they sell are strictly from “reputable breeders.” However, many people who purchase their puppy from a pet store end up with a very ill animal.
The HSUS is sure Ms. Spears doesn’t want her money supporting animal cruelty by buying a puppy mill puppy. Shain would like her to know, “If you send us a copy of your dog’s papers, we’d be happy to look into the situation for you.”
- Approximately one-third of the nation's 11,000 pet stores sell puppies.
- The HSUS estimates 2 to 4 million puppy mill dogs are sold each year in the U.S.
- Puppy mill puppies are more likely to have severe health problems, genetic defects and behavioral issues.
- Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages, and lack of socialization.
- Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years, being bred as often as possible, and are killed, sold through auctions like a used car, or abandoned when they are no longer useful to the mill operator.
- The Internet has become another tool for puppy mills. Pet stores and some breeders use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe the public into thinking that they are dealing with a reputable breeder.
- Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
- Puppy mills drastically contribute to the millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.
- Never buy a dog from a pet store. Visit a shelter where one of four dogs is a purebred, or find a breed rescue group.
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