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Pennsylvania needs to ban puppy mills

Published December 28. 2016 02:46PM

Everyone has been there. Looking at all the cute fluffy puppies behind the window that are ready and eager to learn life. But what people do not know is where these puppies are actually from: puppy mills. Puppy mills are a perfect example of how money and greed is running our world today.

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that undermine the well-being of dogs to produce as many puppies as possible for commerce.

It is estimated that 2.11 million puppies are sold from mills while 3 million are killed in shelters that just have too many dogs and deal with overcrowding.

You may see these bundles of fluff in pet shops or buy them online and have them shipped to your house but, where they are coming from is a place of horror. Puppy mill dogs are kept in cages and they are only let out for breeding purposes.

These cages are small and made of wire to eliminate the cleanup up of feces and urine. The dogs are matted and have overgrown nails that make them not able to walk. They obviously do not get regular vet care visits.

The breeders also usually do not apply proper husbandry skills, which in the long run produces puppies with disorders and diseases. If an animal is no longer useful to breed, they are dropped off at a high-kill shelter to be euthanized or are killed by the owner in other inhumane ways such as drowning.

The way America regulates puppy mills is through the Unites States Department of Agriculture. However, this is not a good way to regulate the mills because, unfortunately, they have a lack of funding so many puppy mills fly under the radar. Many mills do not register and obtain a license from the USDA and privately sell to pet stores just so they do not get checked up.

Puppy mills create a norm for society to abuse animals. If our own government does not make it illegal to have puppy mills, it sets the standard that it is acceptable to treat dogs badly.

If we push the government to shut down puppy mills, we will also have tougher punishments for animal abuse. People who abuse animals usually just get a slap on the wrist with no jail time and measly fines, but that does not stop them from ever owning another dog.

The reason why puppy mills still exist today is because we let it happen. We are the consumers who buy puppy mill puppies. We demand more of the supplies, keeping the puppy mills in business.

Also, billion-dollar businesses like AKC and Monsanto want puppy mills to stay open because they benefit from it. If it were not for puppy mills supplying purebred dog breeds, people would not get their dogs AKC registered and pay all of the fees that come with it, thus AKC losing a big business.

Gandhi once said "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Assuming his quote is true, our country is not in good shape.

We can stop this business once and for all only if we are knowledgeable about the subject.

We need to inform others what is happening and make sure not to buy from online breeders or pet stores and instead adopt and rescue from your local shelter. Local shelters also have dogs that are purebred. We also should be getting involved with our government to force them to recognize this as a big issue.

We should also report any suspicion of any animal neglect.

Another way to stop puppy mills is to make it so that pet shops have to sell dogs that are in the shelters. Doing this will eliminate the need for puppy mills, causing them to shut down.

We would be saving the lives of millions of dogs and cutting the overpopulation.

Lauren Edsall is a sophomore at Kutztown University and grew up in the Beltzville area.

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.

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