Oprah Winfrey is going to be tackling puppy mills on her show today, so be sure to check it out (or Tivo it) if you get a chance. Puppy mills, which keep large quantities of purebred dogs in overcrowded, often shockingly inhumane conditions, are a well-kept secret of the pet-trade industry, and the animal protection community is extremely grateful to Oprah for exposing this major cause of pet overpopulation to a wide audience.
It’s standard practice for puppy mills—which supply animals to pet stores and purebred enthusiasts, without any concern for the millions who will die in shelters as a result—to keep animals in constant confinement, without proper veterinary care or socialization. It’s common to hear stories of puppy mills that are shut down on cruelty to animals charges (I posted about one a couple of weeks ago), but it’s nowhere near common enough—and these sordid operations will continue to thrive for as long as people support them by purchasing animals from pet stores or seeking out purebred animals from breeders.
You can find out what time the show will be airing where you live on Oprah’s site, and there’s more information about puppy mills, and you can learn more about PETA’s campaign to help companion animals here.
Charlize Theron on Puppy Mills for PETA