Entering a pet store that sells live animals, one can feel joyous at the sight of puppies and kittens galore. The squeaks and purrs of these young mammals are hard to resist. Many breeds are represented and an overwhelming temptation to purchase may find you with pup or kitten in hand. Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold and this is highlighted often in these stores.
Most pet stores are stocked with litters bred in Puppy Mills and Catteries. These operations serve one purpose; to make money through the sale of purebreds. The conditions are deplorable. Virtually every animal lives its life caged in a confined area and is bred each cycle. A parent animal can be unhealthy and of substandard breed specifications and yet deliver litters that are quite breed specific. Within days, however, the offspring generally succumb to a variety of illnesses brought about by the unhealthy conditions. Many die, but some live on.
Cages are not cleaned and these animals live in their waste. They are feed the poorest of diets and receive no routine veterinary care. A blind, lame, thin and frightened animal, for example, can mate and reproduce… again and again. As soon as these juveniles can eat on their own, they are shipped off to all states in hot or frigid vans to be sold by pet stores. The new arrivals that survive, are bathed and kept in a closed area until they appear well. Many have AKC (American Kennel Club) pedigrees as the parents are AKC registered.
“Joe Smith” greets you and does his song and dance to sell these little ones. If questioned as to the heritage, Joe will tell you that they are the offspring of reputable breeders. After all, they have “Papers” and look at how happy and healthy they are. “Puppy mills, catteries? Not at this facility!” you are reassured.
A pure bred in these shops can cost upwards of seven hundred dollars. You leave with the puppy or kitten and bags of supplies needed to care from them. On impulse, you may have easily spent a thousand dollars and are leaving with an ill animal that you may not be financially or emotionally equipped to care for. You may not know the characteristics of a given breed and after a trip to the veterinarian for “congestion,” you are now the proud animal of an unhealthy mammal that will grow to be an unsuitable pet.
Buying such a wee one as a mission to rescue only keeps these mills in operation. Do not buy anything from a store that sells live animals and research these mills. There are many fine breeders and there are breed specific rescue groups. Shelters and pounds cannot find homes for the millions of unwanted pets. Visit your local shelter and be a hero by rescuing an animal in need.
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi