allisonBy Allison Arthur, GPG Blogger/Volunteer

As you may know, September was Puppy Mill Awareness month. While Gateway Pet Guardians focuses on educating the public about inhumane treatment of animals full-time, we spent the last month emphasizing the horrors of puppy mills and how you can help improve the lives of thousands of animals trapped in them. In case you missed our discussions on the topic or want to know more about how puppy mills operate, check out the facts below.

Puppy Mill Facts:

  1. Dogs are housed in small, wire cages. They live their lives in this cramped environment, often in unsanitary conditions due to a lack of cleaning of the cages. Most are not given the opportunity to exercise outside of these cages, which leads to muscle and bone deterioration.
  2. The dogs at puppy mills are rarely given human interaction, let along companionship.  They are taught to fear people and  develop emotional problems as a result.
  3. The dogs are forced to breed at an alarming and incredibly unsafe rate, and they are given inadequate health care to help them recuperate between litters.
  4. Once dogs cannot breed any longer, they are often abandoned or killed so that the puppy mill does not have to care for a “useless” dog.
  5. Puppies born in these conditions often have physical and emotional problems due to early life care. Often, the average lifetime cost of a puppy from a puppy mill is significantly higher than a rescued dog from a shelter due to puppy mill-related health costs.

How You Can Help:

  1. Don’t purchase your dogs at pet stores that support puppy mills. Check out this interactive map the ASPCA posted in September. Pass it on to your friends. If enough people refuse to purchase animals from these businesses, they will be forced to stop working with puppy mills, which in turn can cause the puppy mill business to fold.
  2. Take one step further and sign the pledge to not purchase anything – animals or products – from stores that support puppy mills.
  3. Don’t ever purchase a dog online without meeting with the breeder and visiting the breeding grounds to see for yourself that their dogs are being treated fairly.
  4. Help raise awareness about puppy mills and the inhumane treatment inflicted on the animals trapped within them. There are many organizations dedicated to this. You can contact Gateway Pet Guardians or your local Humane Society to learn more.
  5. Contact your local congressman and ask them to do more to protect the animals in your state. Unfortunately, Missouri is known for its high number of puppy mills, and not enough is being done by local lawmakers to protect these defenseless animals. Contact your local representative today, and ask them to fight harder against puppy mills.

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month, so check out our wonderful rescued dogs available for adoption at our emergency shelter or in the care of our foster program. Help us spread the word by telling those interested in adopting a dog  about Gateway Pet Guardians and our dedication to rescuing homeless animals and providing them with loving forever homes.

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