January 15th is the day slated for the annual Farmerstown, Ohio dog auctions. It doesn’t have a more romantic name because, well, it’s not intimate. It’s heartless. Unkind. The sort of event that makes this dog
trainer lover hurl.
They do just that: they auction off dogs to be bred to make more puppies to make more money by being sold to the public or auctioned off again. The cycle just won’t quit.
Dogs aren’t companions in this game. They aren’t cute, fuzzy, hilarious critters that make your heart melt. In this world, they come with price tags, barcodes and numbers instead of names.
I’m not telling this story because I am high-and-mighty and want others to feel ashamed for not knowing the dark world of puppy mills. I support the anti-puppy mill movements because it hits me on a personal level.
I didn’t know what puppy mills are.
I adopted a puppy mill dog:
Let me be more specific: I didn’t think that happened in my town. I thought that happened somewhere else, in someone else’s city.
I rant this rant not because I’m blaming people who own puppy mill pups; I’m not chastizing anyone for buying a dog from the Internet, a shady breeder, or a pet store. I’m angry at the law makers that don’t stop this madness. I’m pissed that no one from the industry will educate consumers about what goes on behind the scenes. No one told me what to look for when buying a dog until I started asking “why is my new puppy so high-strung and anxious all the time?” “Why does she have so many issues!?” It wasn’t until the store was under scrutiny that I realized, “holy crap. What have I done?”
I’m not blaming the pet owner here. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Education is key.
If you absolutely want to buy from a breeder
Pssst: no reputable breeder would sell to a pet store. They take too much pride in their dogs to just pass them off for some quick bucks. They don’t want some Joe-Schmoe from off the streets adopting their dogs. They want their dogs going to the best homes possible. Speaking for Spot has an excellent article in their blog describing what to look for in a good breeder.
Adopt from a shelter
Look, I know some people will disagree. Hell, I might even purchase from a breeder in the future (after a lot of research!!!) I’m torn – I say breeder but my heart says shelter. Shelter dogs need a home, that’s all there is to it. And shelters are full of dogs that were given up for behavior problems that can be easily solved with a good trainer such as jumping, house-training, etc.
Just don’t get your dog from a puppy mill
They are everywhere. Yourtown, USA is not exempt. Don’t think “oh, this pet store is really clean. It doesn’t look like a place that would take part in something shady.” That’s part of the gig. A pig with lipstick on. Satan in a Sunday hat.
Animals are suffering and people who take part in stupid things like Dog Auctions are just helping the hurt.
Be the Change, Blog the Change. Spread the word about puppy mills and dog auctions.