By Kathy Mordini
One thing you can do to really help dogs in shelters is to step up and join the fight against puppy mills. Here are seven ways you can help:
1. Don’t purchase pets at pet stores or online. One way to cut back on the need for puppy mill puppies is to diminish the demand for them. Because an estimated 99 percent of pet store pets and pets sold online come from puppy mills, not purchasing pets from those locations will cut back on the need for puppy mill puppies.
2. Adopt a dog. When the time comes to add a new dog to the family, check out your local shelters and rescues. Looking for a specific breed of dog? Along with a variety of mixed breeds, there are many pure breeds looking for homes too—in fact, an estimated 25 percent of dogs in shelters are pure breeds. There are also breed specific rescues that focus on a particular breed of dog.
3. Don’t shop at stores that sell puppies. If you purchase anything at stores that sell puppies and kittens, you are supporting puppy mills. Look for pet stores that are operating with a humane model that either adopt out pets or work with local shelters and rescues to host adoption events.
4. Be their voice. Connect with local, state, and federal officials and encourage them to sponsor and support new laws that more tightly regulate puppy mills. Also call and write letters supporting laws that prohibit the sale of pets from commercial mass breeding operations and that provide more consumer protections.
5. Host educational activities. Invite organizations that educate about puppy mills to speak at local schools and other events or set up educational booths. The Puppy Mill Project has a variety of age-specific presentations for schools, shelters, and other organizations.
6. Speak out. Find out when local animal advocacy organizations will be marching or protesting at local pet stores and join them. If no protests are planned in your area, learn about local laws for staging peaceful protests and organize in your area.
7. Support local efforts to educate about puppy mills. Participate in fundraising for local groups that educate about puppy mills, such as the Second Annual Miles for the Mothers in the Mills on Sunday, October 20. is a fun family- and dog-friendly afternoon that includes a leisurely walk around the park, pet training demonstrations, pet trick and costume contests and so much more. The event will be at Larry Fink Memorial Park in Highland Park, with registration starting at 10:00am and the walk at 11:00am. Advance tickets are $30 per adult (including two dogs) and children under 12 are free. Funds raised from this event will help support the work of The Puppy Mill Project and their programs that help educate about puppy mills and their connection to pet stores. Register online.
For more information on puppy mills, visit ThePuppyMillProject.org.