Solution Proposal Kramer

More Laws and Regulations to Prevent Puppy Mills

The legal term puppy mill, or commercial breeding facility, is defined as "a dog breeding operation in which the health of dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits," states C.D. Watson, a freelance writer and an active volunteer for the Humane Society and a no-kill animal shelter. In her article, Watson talks about the puppy mill statistics from 2012 and all the health problems and dreadful conditions these dogs face, in order for the owners to make a profit. The puppy mills are a problem because of the conditions these animals face and health and behavioral problems they may get, causing the new dog owners to have more veterinary visits and higher veterinary bills. The difference between puppy mills and breeders is based on how they care for the animals. According to the website titled, Breeders vs. Puppy Mills, a good breeder will often have a puppy waiting list and always questions potential buyers about their ability to care for the dog. Good breeders will ask questions like, "Why do you want a dog?" "Who will be responsible for the dog's care and exercise?" or "Do you have a fenced in yard?" to determine whether or not the person who wants to buy will be a good owner ("Breeders vs. Puppy Mills").

What people might not know about puppy mills is that often times the water and food that they are given can be contaminated with bugs and the puppies can become malnurished because of this ("11 Facts About Puppy Mills"). Puppy mill puppies are taken away from their mothers too early and are not able to socialized with neither dogs nor humans ("Breeders vs. Puppy Mills"). Since the dogs are in wire cages all the time, they are often found with bleeding and swollen paws. In some cases, the dogs have terrible tooth decay, ear infections, eye lesions, and dehydration ("11 Facts About Puppy Mills"). Most puppy mills have no veterinary care, the animals aren't protected from the weather, or there might not be any climate control ("11 Facts About Puppy Mills"). These are the reasons I think puppy mills need to be shut down and prevented from starting. These dogs and puppies, even other types of animals, deserve the best care and the puppy mill owners, along with their helpers, are not giving them the life they deserve. "Most often they are in small cages that may not allow them to turn around, or they are in a pen with many other dogs," Lacoste states. Kristine Lacoste is a huge animal lover, who volunteers for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit organization that helps military members and their pets and she is also the host of a weekly pet news segment on the "National K-9 Academy Radio Show." In her article, Lacoste talks about the common health and behavior problems with dogs from puppy mills. Lacoste lists the after effects of puppy mills such as trembling, aggression, anxiety, epilepsy, matting, respiratory disorders and much more. Unfortunately, some animals have never walked on solid ground, let alone with a leash, nor have they ever been housetrained, and they've never interacted with people or other dogs normally ("Breeders vs. Puppy Mills"). Lacoste tells us, in her article, a story about one family, in the United Kingdom, that found a puppy on the internet and met with the breeder. After only a few days, the puppy seemed to be sick and in severe pain. They took it to their veterinarian and was diagnosed with the parvovirus and had to be euthanized. (Lacoste, Kristine) So what seemed to be a healthy puppy, turned out to be the opposite. Some might say that they just fell in love with the puppy they found at the pet store and say it doesn't matter where it came from. Even if they have a seemingly happy and healthy, new pet, they would still be supporting puppy mills and those puppy mills will continue to breed dogs into harmful environments. Puppy mills will continue to sell sick pets until they are shut down.

According to Watson, in the United States, there are an estimated 4,000 puppy mills that are licensed to operate out of all dog breeders. Some do not realize that about 95 percent of animals in pet stores come from these puppy mills ("Breeders vs. Puppy Mills"). "Retail pet stores sell over 500,000 animals a year, that they got from these commercial breeding facilities," Watson tells us. Earning the title "Puppy Mill Capital of the East," Lancaster, Pennsylvania has the most commercial dog breeding facilities. (Watson, C.D.) Another problem is that consumers might get incorrect lineage about their dogs health, breeder, and breed because pet stores don't want to be known for supporting a puppy mill ("11 Facts About Puppy Mills"). Pet owners may be unaware that the pet store that sold them their companion was supporting a puppy mill, or a violator of the Animal Welfare act. New pet owners might think that they can ask the pet store employee to show them the paperwork identifying the puppy's breeder and origins and that they would get the correct and honest information, but as stated above, they might not give you the real information ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions").

Some people say that if they knew that the dog or puppy they picked up came from such bad conditions that they wouldn't have purchased from a place that supported a puppy mill. In reality, people buy their pet because they fall in love with it. I believe the bigger, underlying cause of this issue is the fact that there aren't enough uniform laws and regulations in effect. There is the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 passed by Congress, but there are loopholes and inefficiencies in the system, as stated on the website titled "Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions". According to the same website, inspection records that the Human Society of the United States have obtained, show several USDA-licensed breeders get away with so many violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Violators of the Animal Welfare act are rarely fined and their licenses are rarely suspended and these violators believe they have nothing to loose and a lot of profit to gain ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions"). The Animal Welfare Act is enforced by the United States Department of Agriculture and under that act, certain large-scale commercial breeders are required to be licensed and regularly inspected by the USDA ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions").

The Humane Society of the United States is continuing to push for new laws to limit the number of dogs that can be kept in puppy mills to outlaw the cruel confinement practices in puppy mills, they want to require inspection and licensing of "direct seller" puppy mills which are exempt from federal regulations, and protect puppy mill dogs from neglect and exploitation ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions"). Some might ask "What about the anti-cruelty laws? Don't they effect puppy mills?" All 50 states have anti-cruelty laws, which are intended to prevent mistreatment and neglect of dogs ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions"). The problem is that anti-cruelty laws are seldomly applied to puppy mills as long as they have food, water and a basic shelter ("Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions"). Basically, the website, "Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions" states that simply passing a law to ban puppy mills is impractical and that even bills that are passed do not always have all of the protections we would like. Made effective in April of 2011, federal lawdoesn't require any breeder that sells directly to the public, over the Internet or the like, to be inspected to make sure that the breeder dogs are cared for humanely ("Breeders vs. Puppy Mills"). Although, we can make regular inspections and veterinary visits mandatory, which can help us prevent and/or shut down violators. We can also create more consequences for the violators because if puppy mill owners believe they have more to loose they wouldn't want to start a puppy mill in the first place. I believe that if we make these changes, we will have healthier dogs, puppies, or other animals. Which also means, lower veterinary bills for the new owners, because the animals will be better taken care of and veterinarians will go into each breeding facility to make sure the dogs are healthy. The inspections will tell the breeders if they have the dogs in the right conditions. Dogs and puppies will have room to play around and be given food that hasn't been contaminated. They will overall, have a happier life, rather than in cages most of their lives.

In my research, I have found a couple successful cases of, not necessarily puppy mills, but other animal facilities that got shut down because they weren't following the Animal Welfare Act. Hanna Chu, a reporter for the Los Angeles newspaper group, wrote an article about an animal shelter abuse case. In her article, Chu talks about two women who were convicted of three felony charges. Long Beach Animal Control seized 299 cats and dogs from their so-called shelter. Both women were found guilty for cruelty to the dogs and cats, specifically to a cocker spaniel, and a pitbull terrier-type dog (Chu, Hanna). The prosecutor requested that the defendants be held without bail, which was approved by the judge, and they were immediately handcuffed and sent to prison, both of the defendants facing a maximum of four years in prison (Chu, Hanna). Another example of a successful shut down was an article written by Jonathan Mummolo, a reporter for the Washington Post. His article talks about two women who were running a puppy mill that aimed to make profit, rather than care for the animals. A woman named Sandra Cortes was found guilty for 27 counts of animal cruelty, while a woman named Brenda Dodson pleaded guilty for 27 counts of animal cruelty (Mummolo, Jonathan). The dogs they had were eating dirt because it contained the remains of dead dogs, Jonathan stated in the article. Cortes' Lawyer said that she was trying to rescue the animals and that the animals had been in poor condition when they got them (Mummolo, Jonathan). When they found the animals they were undernourished and were roaming around in their own waste(Mummolo, Jonathan). Mummolo wrote in his article about 54 dogs and 12 cats had been adopted into safe homes, while the about 40 had to be euthanized because of their aggressive temperaments or illnesses. His article describes part of the court hearing where a veterinarian who inspected the animals told Cortes, as she wept, the animals conditions and why they were euthanized. These examples show that puppy mills can be stopped, even if they are shut down one at a time. By making regular veterinary visits and inspections, and more consequences, we would have healthier dogs being bred in better conditions, by breeders who care deeply about each dog they are selling, not just about how much they are making.

There needs to be more consequences and strict laws pertaining to running puppy mills. There may already be some laws talking about health regulations for animal breeders, but there are still some violators that only care about profits. "Puppy mill dogs are often treated as agricultureal "crops" and not as pets," as quoted from the website "Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions." This quote is showing us how the puppy mill owners view their dog breeding facility, and they shouldn't treat these dogs like they're a corn or a wheat crop, dogs are known as man's best friend. Without the inspections by the USDA and regular veterinary check ups for the dogs, they will continue to sell unhealthy dogs to innocent pet owners and they will continue to mistreat them. Puppy mills need to be shut down and prevented from happening in the future so honest breeders will be selling happy, healthy, and well behaved dogs. I believe that this can happen if we make the veterinary visits and inspections mandatory for all animal breeders.

Works Cited

  • "Breeders vs. Puppy Mills." Your Dogs Friend. 23 Jan. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.
  • Chu, Hanna. "2 Convicted, Jailed in Long Beach Animal Shelter Abuse Case." Press-Telegram (2007): N/A. ProQuest Newsstand. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
  • Lacoste, Kristine. "Common Health Problems in Puppy Mill Dogs - Pets Adviser." Pets Adviser. 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  • Mummolo, Jonathan. "Case Details Abuse at Va. Animal Shelter." The Washington Post (2008): C.1. The Washington Post. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.
  • "Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions : The Humane Society of the United States." RSS. The Humane Society of the United States, 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  • Watson, C.D. "Puppy Mill Statistics in 2012." Pets Adviser. 7 July 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2015.
  • "11 Facts About Puppy Mills." 11 Facts About Puppy Mills. Web. 19 Mar. 2015.
  • "15 Things You Can Do to Help Stop Puppy Mills." 15 Things You Can Do to Help Stop Puppy Mills. Best Friends Animal Society. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

Solution Proposal Peer Review-Kramer

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