According to the Montreal SPCA Emergency shelter, a puppy mill is defined as: a dog breeding facility that is solely motivated by profit and does not care about the resulting substandard conditions in which the dogs are forced to live. Mill owners do not clean their dogs or their cages, and (the dogs) never see a veterinarian or receive proper food. In fact, most dogs used as puppy mill breeding stock spend their entire lives in small cramped cages and are only ever removed to mate.
An unsuspecting buyer of a puppy mill dog will often find themselves with the nasty surprise of significant vet bills down the line….why?
Since there is no consideration given to temperament, disease or any sort of genetic history of the parent dogs, puppies can be born with any number of issues. Inadequate living conditions foster countless diseases and hereditary conditions. Some of these include: eye problems, musculoskeletal disorders (luxating patella, hip displaysia), respiratory issues, fractures, flesh wounds – not to mention things like fleas, ticks, mange, heartworm, parvovirus, kennel cough – the list goes on. And that doesn’t even begin to include the emotional trauma.
The purpose? Profit, plain and simple. Dogs are bred to produce puppies which are in turn sold to pet stores, online or wherever an uneducated buyer may be found. Puppy mill operators gladly line their pockets thanks to the misinformed public.
Raids in Quebec
Because of the covert nature of such operations, exact numbers are difficult to obtain, but it is estimated that there are anywhere from 1200 – 2000 puppy mills in this province alone.
Within the past 12 months, there have been 7 puppy mill rescue operations in Quebec, with hundreds of woefully neglected dogs being brought to the SPCA Emergency Shelter to receive proper care, rehabilitation and rehoming. Click here to see the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) video of a Quebec raid. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. For the cycle of abuse to stop, laws must be changed.
In September 2009, a report was tabled by the Task Force on Companion Animal Welfare. In October, based on this report, the provincial government announced new measures for animal protection. Among the highlights:
- Hiring 15 new animal inspectors for the province (when there were previously 5. Comparatively, there are 200 in Ontario alone).
- Investing $1 million to improve facilities such as the SPCA.
- Increasing fines for animal abuse
How you can help fight puppy mills
- Voice your concern about Quebec’s animal cruelty laws by clicking here and sending a form letter to your local representative.
- Make adoption your first option. Shelter dogs are not ‘damaged goods’. Often times they are a result of divorce, a new baby, a poor breed choice on the part of the owner (i.e. high energy), a residential move to a place that won’t allow pets…the list goes on! When you adopt, you save a life and you ensure that your money won’t go to puppy mills. Please see the Montreal Pet Adoption links to the right of this article.
- If you want to buy from a breeder, print off this checklist for how to find a reputable one.
- Remember this good rule of thumb: if you can’t see the facility where the animal came from with your own eyes (pet store, online) – don’t buy from there.
- Spread the word! Share this information with whoever you can. You just might stop someone from making an uninformed decision.