Educating consumers is key to ending puppy mill problem

To truly deal a body blow to the puppy mill scourge, we need
consumers to stop buying puppies from dubious sources on the
Internet and from pet stores. Photo by Amie Chou/The HSUS

There are some 10,000 puppy mills active in the United States
– a mammoth number, by any measure. Animals in these enterprises
are condemned to a life of squalor and suffering with no relief in
sight. At a typical puppy mill, dozens or even hundreds of animals
are housed in stacked wire cages or small enclosures they will
never leave. They will never have a toy to play with, usually not
enough food or water, and often scant medical care. It is no way
for a companion animal to live, and that’s why we have made
ending the horror of puppy mills a top priority here at the Humane
Society of the United States.

It’s a daunting problem, but we have made immense strides. We
have created and helped pass important laws to end the sales of
puppy mill dogs in pet stores, in two states and 309 localities.
Our Humane Society Legislative Fund staff has worked with members
of Congress, like Rep. to introduce important legislation, like
Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Charlie Crist, D-Fla., who
introduced the WOOF Act, H.R. 1002, and the Puppy Protection Act,
H.R. 2442, targeted at ending the worst conditions in puppy mills.
We continue to bring to light the plight of dogs in puppy mills,
through our investigations of pet stores and through the hands-on
work we do to rescue animals trapped in these situations.

But to truly deal a body blow to this scourge, we need consumers
to stop buying puppies from dubious sources on the Internet and
from pet stores. That’s why educating the public on how and where
they acquire their pets is an equally, if not more, important piece
of this puzzle.

It may be hard to believe, but some animal lovers still don’t
know what a puppy mill is. Even if they have heard the term before,
they may not realize how widespread the problem is. Our puppy mills
campaign staff works tirelessly to educate Americans about puppy
mills, and the importance of adopting animals from shelters,
rescues and from responsible breeders.

These are just a few of the ways in which we raise
awareness:

  • Humane education kits: Each year, we provide
    hundreds of free educational kits about humane dog care to
    elementary teachers and educators, to teach thousands of children
    about responsible pet acquisition. These kits, called Nose to Tail: Lessons to Inspire Care and
    Compassion for Dogs,
    are geared toward students in grades K
    through 5. By reaching out to youth early about responsible puppy
    care and acquisition, we hope to inspire a new generation of
    compassionate pet stewards.
  • Billboards: The Stop Puppy Mills Campaign
    provides pre-designed billboard art to individuals and groups
    around the country who want to help educate consumers about the
    dangers of buying puppies in pet stores. Such billboards have been
    posted in more than half a dozen states and in major cities such as
    New York City and Chicago. Individuals start by identifying a
    nearby billboard location and finding out the fee to rent the
    space. If the individual wishes to rent the billboard, or can get
    the sign owner to donate the space for free, the HSUS provides the
    artwork at the correct specifications free of charge, and works
    with the company to get it posted. For more info on this program,
    please email stop-puppy-mills@hsus.org.
  • Horrible Hundred reports: Our Horrible Hundred
    reports list examples of problem puppy mills in the United States
    and provide consumers with a valuable tool to fight puppy mills
    when they choose to bring a companion animal home. You can
    read all of our Horrible Hundred reports from past years here

    to see where your state ranks on puppy mills, and which breeders to
    avoid.

Our next Puppy Mill Action Boot Camp in Missouri will feature
three super star dogs, including puppy mill rescue and Instagram
star #EllaBeantheDog and her mom, Hilary Sloan (pictured above),
who will talk about social media advocacy.

For those who are interested in becoming more engaged in
advocacy, we also provide a free Advocates Guide to Stopping Puppy
Mills
with information on everything from how to conduct a
lawful pet store demonstration to how to write a letter to the
editor or reach out to lawmakers. The guide, and other fact sheets
and research on puppy mills, can be downloaded from our website.

We also host Puppy Mill Action Boot Camps, where future animal
advocates can get training from our experts in ending the problem
of puppy mills. Our first boot camp was held in Pennsylvania in
October 2018 and was a roaring success, attended by almost 100
budding advocates.

Next month, we’ll host our
second boot camp in Kansas City, Missouri,
from August 2 to 4
where we will be joined by three super star dogs, including puppy
mill rescue and Instagram star #EllaBeantheDog and
her mom, Hilary Sloan, who will talk about social media advocacy;
Izzie, whose person, Rory Kress, an investigative journalist, was
so curious about where her dog came from that she travelled all the
way to Missouri to find out and ended up writing an expose of the
puppy mill industry, The Doggie in the Window; and Faith the Pug,
who was rescued by the HSUS during a puppy mill raid in Arkansas
several years ago. Faith, who will attend with her person, Rosie
Gordon, lost her eyes due to neglect at the puppy mill, but she now
leads a happy and busy life as a certified therapy dog, visiting
adult day cares and other places where people need a ray of
hope.

Registration for the entire event is only $25, which includes 10
workshops and four meals. There’s still time to sign up for the
boot camp and meet Faith, Izzie and Ella Bean, and all the human
members of our team. Click here to register or read the
complete list of speakers and events.

P.S. With Tropical Storm Barry bearing down upon Louisiana, we
are standing by to help local shelters move animals to safety and
assist in the aftermath of the storm. We will bring you more
details in tomorrow’s blog.

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Educating consumers is key to ending puppy mill problem

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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
Educating consumers is key to ending puppy mill problem