A person passes by a cage or window, spotting a young dog on the other side. The thought of giving it a home will often coming to mind; it's almost too difficult to pass up. Of course, the thought process for a potential new owner with their eyes on the puppy should always be about where the pet is going. But what people are blind to is where the puppy has been, and what the purchase of that puppy supports.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on Wednesday launched a new phase of their "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign, designed to raise consumer awareness of the atrocities occurring in puppy mills across the nation.
ASPCA volunteers in Columbus, Ohio came forward and began identifying over 50 pet stores across the state selling puppies -- six in Columbus.
"Columbus is an important target region for the campaign because of the numerous pet stores that sell puppies in the area," said Jodi Lytle Buckman, Senior Director for Community Initiatives for the ASPCA, and who also works with the local Ohio animal welfare community on their behalf.
"Our goal is to raise awareness among Columbus consumers, most of whom know that puppy mills are bad, but don't realize that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Consumers can help end puppy mills and the inhumane treatment of dogs by not buying anything in pet stores or on Web sites that sell puppies. This campaign sends a clear message that consumers do not support the inhumane treatment of dogs."
The ASPCA’s message is clear: If you see pet store puppies, do not support the business. While it may seem ethical to give that dog in the store window a home, the purchase of a puppy mill-raised pet will not only clear space in a wire-cage for more "products" from a puppy mill, but will also deny a home for a shelter dog in desperate need of a home. The ASPCA and other organizations have taken their fight against puppy mills to the consumer.
"Those adorable puppies in the pet store window are hard to resist, but, unfortunately, shopping at pet stores that sell puppies only serves to support the puppy mill industry," said Laurie Beacham, Senior Director, ASPCA Strategy & Campaigns.
"Our campaign will educate consumers and inspire them to take action to be part of the solution and reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies. We continue to urge those who are looking for a new companion to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter, or seek a responsible breeder so that the puppy mill industry becomes unsustainable."
The results of an ASPCA-commissioned poll revealed that while 86 percent of Columbus residents would not purchase a puppy knowing it came from a mill, 74 percent of the people had no idea that most pet store puppies came from mills. Across the cities, using billboards and social media, the ASPCA is taking action to educate people on the connections between the mills and stores.
Supporters are encouraged to take an online pledge to not buy anything -- toys, food, accessories -- from pet stores that support puppy mills. Unlike puppy mills, responsible breeders feed, exercise, nurture and allow for social interaction with their dogs, and prefer to screen potential owners to make sure the puppies are going to good homes. They shun the idea of sending their litters to pet stores.
You can read more about puppy mills and take part in the campaign at the ASPCA's official website: www.nopetstorepuppies.com.
Image: nWevurski / via Flickr