’Tis the season for lotsa, lotsa shopping. And while many people give and receive pets this time of year, a pet is def something you want to adopt, not buy.
Adopting saves shelter animals, and it’s also a good way to take a stand against puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States recently made a star out of Ricky Bobby, a paralyzed dachshund who was abused at a puppy mill and who’s been given a pair of wheels and another chance on life. Try to watch this vid without, you know, crying:
+ Watch The Ricky Bobby Story.
To talk about how to help dogs like Ricky Bobby, I spoke to Melanie Kahn, senior campaign director for The Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
+ Make Sure Those Stores are Puppy Friendly
“The Puppy Friendly Pet Stores Initiative is one of the many ways we strive to end the sale of puppies in pet stores,” Melanie said. “Instead of selling puppies, the puppy friendly pet stores adopt out local dogs from shelters and rescues that need forever homes. Often times, these stores also see an increase in business, since many dog lovers prefer to buy from puppy friendly pet stores.” Maybe it’s time to either support your local pet store (if they’ve gone puppy friendly) or ask them to switch over (if they haven’t).
+ Contact Yo Legislators
“Please help by taking action against an amendment to the Farm Bill that would strip away protection for dogs at puppy mills and other animals,” Melanie said, referring to the King Amendment, which would “repeal dozens of state laws relating to animal welfare — like farm animal confinement, horse slaughter, puppy mills, and shark finning — and a wide range of other concerns including food safety, child labor, and the environment.” You can contact your reps, and HSUS suggests you say something like, “I am concerned about preventing cruelty to animals; please help to remove the King Amendment from the final Farm Bill and oppose this attack on states’ rights.”
+ Spot & Report Puppy Mills
“If a breeder does not let you physically see where your potential pet was born and raised, then you should definitely raise an eyebrow,” Melanie explained. “If a dog seems really sick or malnourished, and the breeder does not have any record of the animal being taken to the vet to get the necessary medical care, you should see that as a warning sign of a possible puppy mill. If you want to report a suspected or known puppy mill, we have several links on our website where you can do so, including a puppy mill complaint form. You can also call our puppy mill tipline at 1-877-MILL-TIP.”
+ Spread the Word
Melanie explained that a lot of people just aren’t aware of puppy mills and what they do. “Once they know, they want to take a stance against them,” she said. “Writing to your local paper, or even writing and calling your legislator and letting them know that puppy mills is an issue you care about helps to spread the word and put an end to puppy mills. Spreading the word is something that everyone can do and one of the pillars in addressing all animal issues.” You might also be able to spread the word at your school or local library (talk to your librarian or teacher first).
+ Help the Humane Society of the United States
You can also get involved with the Humane Society of the United States by volunteering or donating. “We’ve worked with the Obama administration to implement new regulations to close a loophole that let puppy mill operators sell dogs to consumers without adhering to the minimal care standards that applied to other breeders,” Melanie said. “This year we’ve conducted several significant undercover investigations that received widespread media attention including our Texas investigation of pet stores and flea markets and also our Maryland investigation that led to the seizure of a sick Rottie puppy. We have also done numerous rescues and introduced legislation that will make positive changes.” Now that’s enough to get tails wagging!
Learn more about puppy mills, how to report them, and how to stop them.
Support The Humane Society
Learn more about animal protection through the Humane Society of the US.