‘Tis the season for holiday madness. We all know that some people jump at the idea of getting a puppy to put under the tree as an impulse purchase. Being a responsible pet owner and caring for a pet for their entire life is critical when deciding on getting a puppy. Did you know that many puppies you see in a pet store are from a dirty secret called a puppy mill? Did you also know the Midwest is a hotbed for puppy mills or what I like to call them puppy factories! I spoke with David Morgan of Michiana Pet Shop Puppies who has a team committed to educating the public on these issues especially since the group based out of South Bend, Indiana is near an epicenter of puppy mills with a majority of the puppies going to stores in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and throughout the Midwest.
According to David, the winter holidays are the busiest puppy-buying season of the year. Michiana Pet Shop Puppies where he volunteers his time, encourages the public to NOT purchase any puppies from local pet stores—they are coming from local puppy mills. Instead, they are inviting the public to consider pet adoption.
David, who also adopted a puppy mill survivor gives these questions to ask in order to sniff out a puppy mill or bad breeder.
Can we see the parents of the puppy?
If you can’t – then walk away.—If you can’t see the parents, this is a huge red flag!
Can we visit your kennel?
If you can’t-then walk away. Some puppy mills will say you can’t for “health reasons”-don’t believe this. Walk away from the deal.
Can we see the Registration Papers for all of your dogs?
If they have 100 dogs, this will be difficult. You don’t want to buy here.
Can we see the Pedigree papers of the parents?
This is a document that shows the last three or four generations of the puppies lineage. A serious breeder of quality puppies will have the Pedigree for both of the parents of the puppy.
What kind of health problems does this breed have?
Do your research ahead of time, and know the answer before asking the question. If the breeder doesn’t know-then walk away.
How many litters have each of these parents had?
This is another question aimed at determining how much the dogs are a part of the lives of the owners versus the owners simply considering them “puppy factories.” Dams can have two litters per year. Many good breeders only allow their females to have one liter per year.
There are many more questions that you can ask to determine the reputation of the breeder and the quality of their puppies. Do your research-this is not an impulse purchase!
But most importantly, never buy from a Pet Shop.
According to David, if you buy a puppy from a Pet Store, you don’t get to see the parents, you learn nothing about the conditions of the kennels, and you don’t get to question the breeders. In short, you are supporting the Puppy Mill industry.
David points out that Reputable Breeders NEVER sell to a Pet Store. They want to meet you, and know you will take care of this precious animal. You should do the same. There are many reputable breeders in our region, they will be happy to work with you in finding just the right dog for your family.
To learn more or help the cause, find this group on Facebook at Michiana Pet Shop Puppies.
Stephanie Krol can be best described as a mixed breed of a newshound and publicist in the pet industry. She has the ability to sniff out the latest lifestyle trends when it comes to pets. As a proud “pet parent” of three rescues Nigel (cat), Simon (dog) and recent addition of Nola (cat). Stephanie spreads the word of animal welfare every chance she gets. She is the board president of the Humane Society of Elkhart County and serves as a spokeswoman for the animal shelter along with volunteers for a variety of animal welfare initiatives. For more information, visit Steph Tails All on Facebook.