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Puppy Mills: How to Beat Them

You've heard about the horrors of puppy mills before, no clean food or water, feces everywhere, no vet check-ups, disease and sickness, cramp cages, animals suffer for profit etc. But, what can we do at this end of that problem? The ASPCA has given us some pointers in that direction:

1) First of all, do not buy dogs from pet stores. " That puppy who charmed you through the pet shop window has most likely come from a large-scale, substandard commercial breeding facility, commonly known as a puppy mill. "

2) Your first option is to Adopt. " Not only will you be saving a life, but you will ensure that your money is not going to support a puppy mill. There are many dogs waiting for homes in shelters all across the country―and an estimated one in four is a purebred! Your second option is breed rescue. If your heart is set on a specific breed you haven’t been able to find in a shelter, you can do an Internet search for a breed-specific rescue organization. "

3) Only deal with Responsible Breeders. "...remember that responsible breeders have their dogs’ interests in mind. They are not simply interested in making a sale, but in placing their pups in good homes. A responsible breeder should screen you as thoroughly as you screen them! "

4) Ask to see where the dog was born and bred. " One sign that you are speaking to an unscrupulous breeder is that they will not let you see the facility in which your puppy was born. Always ask to see the breeding premises and to meet both parents (or at least the mother) of the puppy you want to take home."

5) Don't buy through the Internet. " If you buy a puppy based on a picture and a phone call, you have no way of seeing the puppy’s breeding premises or meeting his parents. And those who sell animals on the Internet are not held to the Animal Welfare Act regulations―and so are not inspected by the USDA. "

6) Tell the ASPCA about your puppy mill story. " If you have—or think you have—purchased a puppy-mill puppy, please tell them your story. Every bit of evidence gives us more power to get legislation passed that will ban puppy mills. "

7) Say Something! " Inform your state and federal legislators that you are disturbed by the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and would like to see legislation passed that ensures that all animals bred to be pets are raised in healthy conditions."

8) Inform your Friends and Other People. " If someone you know is planning on buying a puppy, please direct them to ASPCA.org where they can find puppy mill information. Let them know that there are perfectly healthy dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted. "

9) Spread the News Globally. " Have a webpage, a MySpace page or a blog? Use these powerful tools to inform people about puppy mill cruelty by adding a link to... ASPCA.org. "

10) Take Action Locally. " When people are looking to buy or adopt a pet, they will often ask the advice of their veterinarian, groomer or pet supply store. Download and print flyers from ASPCA.org and ask to leave them in the offices of your local practitioners. "

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