You’ve probably heard the phrase “Adopt, Don’t Shop” hundreds of times. If so, you may be wondering what it exactly means. This is a campaign slogan to promote the adoption of pets from shelters, rather than buying them from somewhere else. But, what is exactly behind this movement? Why is it so important? How can you get involved? Let’s dive in and find the answers to all your questions. (1)
What’s A Puppy Mill?
Puppy mills are large-scale operations owned by breeders. Their goal is to make as much profit as possible. Eventually, those little furbabies find their loving family, but they start to live their lives among filthy conditions without proper vet care, exercise, and socialization. Also, many little pups get sick very quickly. Usually, female dogs are bred at every opportunity without enough recovery time between litters. With these less than ideal conditions, puppy mills frequently produce litters with serious health problems.
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For the pet parents taking home a puppy from a puppy mill, they may find themselves saddled with large vet bills and an unhealthy puppy. Unfortunately, you can find puppy mills in pet stores as well, not only in Internet advertisements. A lot of pet stores don’t socialize the animals they have. This can cause potential problems from behavior to health issues.
Puppy mills in the USA are still legal, and a vast majority of them aren’t controlled. However, finally, several states are making moves to ban the sale of pets in stores. (2, 3)
What’s The “Adopt Don’t Shop” Campaign?
This is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of adopting pets instead of buying them from puppy mills. Since 1984, a Los Angeles based nonprofit animal advocacy organization, called Last Chance for Animals (LCA), started to focus on puppy mills. LCA started the “Adopt Don’t Shop” campaign, and it grew to be an international movement.
You Can Help Raise Awareness About The “Adopt Don’t Shop” Campaign
- You can start a group to raise awareness in your local community.
- Tell those pet parents who are considering buying a puppy from a mill where those puppies come from and what kinds of inhumane conditions puppy mills are known for.
- When pet stores stop selling pets from puppy mills, support them.
- Help your friends adopt pets from shelters.
These steps might seem small, but eventually, more people will recognize what you are doing, and they will start to raise awareness together with you. (4)
Puppy Mills And The Law
This might surprise you, but puppy mills are still legal. According to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the standards governing the care of dogs in commercial breeding facilities are stated precisely. Any breeder, who would like to sell to pet stores or on the Internet, with five or more breeding females must be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
There are two reasons why the AWA and the USDA are unable to protect the furbabies in commercial breeding facilities.
- The AWA standards are too limited to assure about the right treatments and appropriate humane care.
- The USDA does not effectively enforce the AWA.
Finally, many cities started to pass their own laws to stop puppy mills. At the local level, these laws take on the idea of pets as retail. Those cities law only allows pet stores to sell pets from rescues or shelters. (5, 6, 7)
Learn More About Adopting A Pet
If you are considering adopting a pet and not buying one from a puppy mill, there are a few things you need to know. Only adopt your new four-legged furry friend from a rescue shelter. Never get your pup from a questionable place. Don’t adopt a new dog on an impulse or whim – it’s a massive responsibility for their entire life. The most important thing is to remember, don’t adopt a pet if you can’t afford the time, vet bills, food, and other care items for him. Make sure that you can give lots of love, extra attention, and extra treats to your four-legged friend.