Our class, R431 PR for Nonprofits, has been working with the Humane Society of the United States to help raise awareness about puppy mills in Indiana. We conducted a survey that asked respondents about their personal history with dogs and their current knowledge about puppy mills. We received more than 400 responses. This research showed us that while 53 percent of people with dogs did get them from a shelter or as a rescue, those remaining either got their family pet at a pet store or unsure about where they got their dog from.
For those of you not sure what a puppy mill is, it’s a large commercial breeding facility that often sells its dogs to pet stores or online to interested buyers, and aren’t concerned with maintaining a healthy living situation for the dogs involved.
We know that students often go to pet stores to purchase a new pet, but we strongly encourage visiting animal shelters and adopting dogs rather than paying large sums of money for them. People often believe that dogs in shelters have problems and will be a danger in their home, but this is a stigma that needs to be broken.
Many dogs in shelters just need a new family to love them and didn’t end up there because they were dangerous. Sometimes dogs end up there after the person adopting them realized they didn’t have the means to have a dog, a new apartment complex doesn’t allow pets, or so many other situations like these. Adopting a dog from here could give a dog a second chance at a happy life, and often at a very small cost to you.
We know that many people look for a specific type of dog and that pet stores or finding a breeder online are two common ways to do that. It’s important to know that all dogs in shelters aren’t mutts! Purebreds end up in shelters, too.
The most important thing you can do before you purchase a dog from a pet store or a breeder is ask to see the facilities where the dog was born. This information can help you understand health conditions the dog may have, or other related issues. If the breeder is secretive about this information or the pet store won’t help you find this out, that is most likely a sign that the dog came from a puppy mill and you should invest your time and money in a different place, one that will be open about this information.
Remember to always check out the location before you get the dog, or better yet, check your local animal shelter! There are purebred dogs in shelters, small and large dogs, young puppies and older dogs too. Find the perfect fit for you.
Adopt, don’t shop!
Class of 2017