- Take the pledge
- Puppy mills are bad
- Online puppy sales are bad, too
- Where to get a dog
- Where to shop, and not to shop
ASPCA at Westminster
We told you last week about our plans to have a booth at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year, so we wanted to make sure to let you know how it went. Our booth – which we used to raise awareness about our campaign to fight puppy mills – was a bit of an outlier at the event, as you might expect. But, with just a few exceptions, our booth was generally well received.
We talked to people who came by about the sad realities of puppy mills, where dogs are severely neglected and left suffering for the sake of profit, showing them our written materials and pictures from puppy mill breeders. Some were surprised to learn that many of those breeders are USDA licensed. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that USDA licenses thousands of breeders who keep dogs in tiny, wire-bottomed cages and churn out as many puppies as possible to be sold in pet stores.
Other visitors asked us about a New York Times article that appeared on the front page of the Sunday sports section taking a hard look at the American Kennel Club’s role in the puppy mill industry. In it, the ASPCA revealed that a majority of the puppy mills in raids that we have participated in had ties to the AKC-registered litters. According to the AKC’s own website, “[r]egistry with the AKC indicates that a puppy had two parents of the same breed; it does not indicate that the dog comes from healthy blood lines or guarantee that a puppy will be in good health.” Unfortunately, AKC registration papers often give the public a false sense of reassurance that the puppy did not come from a puppy mill, which is not necessarily the case. AKC registration is in no way a guarantee of humane care for the breeding dogs or their puppies. We would like to thank the over 200 dog show attendees who took our “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge to not buy anything in pet stores or on websites that sell puppies—no pet food, kitty litter or even toys . If you weren’t able to stop by our booth, you can take the pledge at nopetstorepuppies.com/take-the-pledge and spread the word!
Although the dogs exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show were all beautiful, it’s important to keep in mind that approximately 5 to 7 million companion animals end up in shelters every year—and half of those are dogs. If you’re looking to bring a new pet into your home, please make adoption your first option. And remember that mixed breed and older dogs can make just as great companions as purebred puppies, and you get to save a life, too!