Many dogs sold in pet shops come from puppy mills and breeding kennels found mostly in the Midwest. In puppy mills, female dogs are kept in crude, outdoor cages without protection from rain, sweltering heat, bitter cold, and biting wind. Denied companionship and comfort, they are treated like breeding machines. Their puppies are taken from them at an early age, packed into crates, and shipped hundreds of miles to dealers, often without adequate food, water, or ventilation. Poor breeding practices lead to numerous health problems, including distemper, parvovirus, respiratory conditions, physical deformities, deafness, eye diseases, and a host of other ailments.
Once the puppies get to the pet store, life in cramped cages adds more strain to their already stressed lives, increasing their susceptibility to disease. No law regulates how pet shops dispose of their animals, and some stores have been caught killing unsold dogs on the premises and throwing them into trash Dumpsters. Breeders churn out countless numbers of puppies each year, while millions of dogs are killed for want of a good home. Dogs are dumped at local pounds or abandoned in the woods and on city streets. Animal shelters can place only a fraction of the animals they receive, and the rest must be put to death. Because of this overpopulation crisis, no breeding can be considered “responsible.”
If you have the time, energy, space, and money to care for a dog (or two), please visit your local animal shelter and adopt.