They live their whole lives in disgusting, cramped cages. They have no opportunity to run, play, or interact with humans or their own species. They don’t get to see the sunshine or feel the grass beneath their paws. Much of the time these canines are forced to live in their own urine and excrement. Over the years, as a Planned Pethood foster parent, I have seen my share of puppy mill dogs. The scumbags running these houses of horror do not have any remorse for the torture they are putting the dogs through. They only care about the bottom line, money, money, money. There has to be a special place in hell for these evil people where they live the nightmare existence of these innocent creatures.
My sweet chocolate lab Imelda was a stunningly gorgeous puppy mill dog. She landed in the pound because she either could not or would not breed anymore at age four. She was unceremoniously dumped to this dangerous kill shelter so they could euthanize her. She was of no use to them anymore. Keeping any dog in isolation conditions is cruel but it is especially inhumane for a lab because they so crave and enjoy human contact. This poor girl was so needy that she never, ever left my side. She was the ultimate 24/7 Velcro dog. She sooooo boosted the self esteem of everyone she came in contact with. I wish I had a dime for all the times people said to me, “she really loves me”. I never had the heart to tell them she treated everyone like that. Except puppies, Imelda abhorred them. I am pretty sure that is what landed her in the pound. God only knows how many litters she had, on arrival her tummy was grotesquely stretched out, even at her young age. Mel was stuck like glue to me for the short time she had left in her life. She passed away from lung cancer at only six. But in those months, she made up for all that time in a cage by spreading lab love everywhere she went.
Meldie’s transition was easy compared to Samantha the pug. She was part of a breeding pair who were again thrown into the pound to be euthanized. If you have had any contact with pugs, you know they are happy, funny, affectionate little clowns. Not Samantha, she was terrified of everything, especially human contact. Stairs, the ding of the microwave, and all the normal household sights and sounds frightened her. Thankfully, my nieces Samantha (her namesake) and Morgan, were visiting when little Sammy came to us. Kid energy was the ONLY thing she could relate to at first. I am sure it was the first human contact this poor breeding machine experienced. But she and her partner Charlie were adopted by pug whisperer, Gloria Wu. The last time I saw Sammy was at the high school where Gloria and I worked. She was the belle of the ball, brightening up everybody’s day. It was an unbelievable transformation. Gloria, who was never even permitted to have a dog as a kid, has become Planned Pethood’s “go to” foster when we have pugs enter the program. PPI alumni Samantha, Charlie, and now Nicholas reside in pug heaven on earth with Gloria.
I get to know a lot of people from walking my dogs and fosters in the neighborhood. This includes Rich who lives on our route to the park. He lived happily with a resident English setter named Tucker but got wind of a puppy mill female who was going to be euthanized. You know that drill by now. He had the toughest time socializing Crickett and he was never completely successful. His description of her haunts me. He said this lovely girl acted like she was autistic. He was just not able to break through to her. She had erected a wall that excluded human and even canine companionship. At least she was able to live out the rest of her life in a normal home setting with love and her own bed and yard even if it was not reciprocated.
Hopefully this blog puts a face on actual puppy mill dogs. So, what needs to be done to put an end to this outrage? First and foremost, never, ever patronize the dog warehouses they call pet stores, who buy from puppy mills. If you want a purebred dog, you can get them from rescues. Planned Pethood takes them in on a regular basis. There are also hundreds of breed specific rescues throughout the country. The second part of the solution is tough regulations in each state. Ohio just passed a weak reform law. But the standards need to be much more restrictive and they need to be enforced without exception. For goodness sakes, there are laws about when you must take out the trash or shovel the snow. These are lives we are dealing with. These breeders are doing long term damage to the dogs. Overbreeding and inbreeding are resulting in a myriad of health problems. My poor lab, Rudy, had to be euthanized due to crippling arthritis, an issue many purebred labs have. The time is now. Let’s band together and put these unscrupulous losers out of business for good!
by Judy S.