Monday, November 1, 2010

Missouri Puppy Mills Exposed

Since my post about Missouri puppy mills last week, the human society posted this article about the Prop 8 efforts going on in MO. The Protection of Dogs/YES! on prop 8 committee asked the state to investigate the illegal dumping of dead dogs by commercial breeders. The findings will help spur the public to focus on the issues before they vote.

The dogs that you see in the pet shop or the breeder website, may in fact come from one of these irresponsible puppy mills that is dumping their dead dogs. The graphic images that are part of the report show dogs' dead bodies on trash heaps and mass graves. One commercial breeder (Hunte- the largest puppy broker in the US) was found to be dumping 220 pounds of dead puppies a month! Hunte claims that every puppy in their care finds a home.

The Hunte Corp. website slogan is "where puppies come first!" Hunte claims that they adhere to the strictest puppy care standards, where each puppy gets pampered and is given constant attention by veterinarians and human socialization. They say that they transport the animals "in specially built vehicles, designed to support animal health an welfare." However, the basic windowless trucks that deliver the puppies have caught fire multiple times in the past- one time killing all 60 puppies inside of suffocation. For some reason Hunte focused on legitimizing its' business in its' statement rather than explaining its' truck safety record, saying "The puppies were all beautiful, healthy purebreds that were on their way to quality retailers in the northeast and eventually to loving New England families."

Sadly, even if we believe the lies on Hunte Corp's website, they make no promises about the dogs that are bred; promises are only made about the health and welfare of the product. At commercial breeders like Hunte, female dogs are bred constantly, and often killed off when their reproductive rate declines. No one who sees that cute puppy in the window thinks about her poor mother languishing her life away in a tiny dirty cage; forced to share the cage with a male whenever she is in heat. Not to mention that these "pure-bred dogs" like the ones coming from Hunte, have a 25% chance of having some genetic disorder such as blindness, his displaysa, or neurological problems. Since dogs in puppy mills get almost no veterinary care, they will often arrive to you with injuries, fleas, rotting teeth, mange, and often times kennel cough or parvo virus.

The little Wheaton terrier we bought from a pet store (click for the link-- please avoid stores like this) when I was 12 named Noah came to us with parvo virus and died at the animal hospital less than two days after we bought him; they felt bad and simply gave us another dog. (Max, a chocolate lab we later had to put to sleep because he was overly aggressive.) No doubt Noah's brothers and sisters would have been thrown into a dumpster if they had met the same fate.

About 1,000,000 (ONE MILLION) puppies are produced each year by U.S. puppy mills. Many of these are pit bulls, remember that 100,000 pits are put to sleep each year. Pits are adorable when they are little but their rambunctious nature and their breed perception make them difficult for some to keep. Many inner-city males find pit bulls to be "the only acceptable breed of dog to own." This all encourages a cycle of over-breeding and euthanasia, a cycle that brings the dogs into this world for our brief enjoyment and out of it time after time.

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