Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Puppy Mill Mothers Not Forgotten in Michigan

"Flint and Detroit area dog advocates share a moment of silence at local puppy pet stores"

On the eve of Mother’s Day local dog advocates came together in a moment of silence for the 130,000+ breeding mothers caged in Midwest puppy-factories. Vigils hosted by Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan were held at The Family Puppy pet store in Flint and Paws-N-Claws pet store in Eastpointe.

“It was a time of reflection and about our devotion to man’s best friend” said Julieann Lotridge of Lapeer.

Among the participants were former breeding mothers. Freeda, a tiny Chihuahua, was bred for years in a plywood box with minimal human contact. “I wanted everyone to meet my survivor and see the scars from her multiple c-sections. That is all they needed her for – her babies. She had the scare tissue and old staples in her belly when she was rescued and spayed. You can even see that she lost her spirit” said Cathy Tingley of Rochester.

Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities that raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions. They operate with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare. Breeding mothers are often destroyed or discarded after their fertility wanes. Why is this legal? There is minimal supervision of puppy mills by the United States Department of Agriculture, whose investigators look for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Commercial breeders are supposed to be licensed and meet minimal standards of care. However, if a breeder operates without a license or fails to meet minimum standards, it is often not until he is reported that he gets inspected or cited. Penalties are substantially less than what would be required to encourage improvements.

“The best way to stop puppy mills is to refuse to buy from them and their distributors – the pet stores. If we take away their profits, they have no reason to continue.” said Pam Sordyl, the group’s founder.

“We are encouraging The Family Puppy and Paws-n-Claws pet stores to stop supporting the cruel puppy mill industry through puppy sales, and instead create an adoption program similar to other large pet supply retailers like PETCO and PetSmart” said Sordyl

Last fall Puppy Mill Awareness revealed the results of a five-month investigation of The Family Puppy chain store. The investigation revealed that The Family Puppy is Michigan’s retailer purchasing dogs from puppy mills. This spring, a boycott including weekly rallies and a petition were launched keeping the spotlight on the highest volume retailer.

Paws-n-Claws started stocking more than supplies in 2008 drawing concerns from dog advocates. Inspection reports show most of the out-of-state breeders that supply Paws-N-Claws have citations ranging from sanitation problems to inadequate veterinary care. In addition, the USDA inventory reports show that they are large commercial operations with hundreds of dogs.

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