New ASPCA Campaign Targets Puppy Mills
(Photo courtesy of ASPCA)
'No Pet Store Puppies' initiative aims to educate consumers.
Binah, the Chihuahua, escaped the puppy mill alive, but abuse left her crippled at just 4 ½ years old.
"She was a breeding dog," according to Rebecca McNeill, ASPCA spokeswoman, "forced to spend her entire life bearing litter after litter without rest or even the most basic medical care."
Yet most of the people who went to a pet store and bought Binah's puppies never guessed their money helped a puppy mill profit, according to McNeill and Laurie Gindin Beacham, senior director of ASPCA Strategy & Campaigns.
"Sadly, last year consumers pumped millions of dollars into the puppy mill industry," McNeill said, even though a new study shows 80 percent of adults would not buy puppies from pet stores, if they knew where the puppies came from.
But most people don't know the facts, McNeill said.
"More than three-fourths (78 percent) of all adults nationwide," McNeill said, quoting the new study, "are unaware that most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills." Binah might have become a puppy mill statistic, but the ASPCA stepped in and saved her.
On Feb. 5, 2010, at the request of the local county prosecutor, the field investigations and rescue team raided the Holly Springs, Mississippi kennel where they found Binah, 95 other dogs, and one cat alive.
An ASPCA video of the raid, which may upset some viewers, shows Binah, her big eyes filled with fright, as she tries to follow her rescuers but stumbles.
"She was dirty, skinny and unable to walk due to a congenital defect," McNeill said, but years of containment in a "tiny, overcrowded cage" worsened her condition.
Other little dogs leapt to safety, as the rescue team, dressed in orange hoodies, opened their crates and grabbed them. One little white dog appeared with a bloody ear from an infection that ate the skin on the back of its head and neck.
"No dog should be treated like that," Beacham said.
Now the ASPCA is asking everyone to help save all the other dogs trapped in puppy mills, McNeill said, by going to the No Pet Store Puppies campaign website, taking the pledge and using consumer clout to bring down the exploitative puppy mill industry.
"The campaign is about letting everyone know those adorable little puppies in the window almost always come from puppy mills," Beacham said. "It's something the ASPCA has been studying for a long time," she added, and "we're ready to bring down that terrible industry."
The No Pet Store Puppies campaign officially started July 21, and so far the response has been terrific, Beacham said; in less than two weeks, 13,000 people pledged not to buy anything at pet stores that sell puppies. And 1,000 people signed up as Facebook fans.
The ASPCA plans to use social media, including Twitter, to spread the word about the campaign. "We started with our own members at the ASPCA web site," McNeill said.
The campaign is not the only action against puppy mills that the ASPCA supports, Beacham said. Some states such as Pennsylvania and Texas, have enacted laws to stop inhumane dog breeders. Ohio and some other states have pending legislation, but Beacham feels that ending consumer demand for pet store puppies will be the fastest way to shut down the puppy mills.
"You reduce demand," she said, "inevitably, these things will go away."
As for Binah, she's a new dog now that she's in a permanent home.
After surgery at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City, McNeil said, "where she received the medical care she urgently needed," Binah is happy, healthy and enjoying the love she deserves. Her recovery took months, McNeil said, but Binah made it.
"Binah made a full recovery," McNeil said, "and is now a happy, healthy dog with a permanent home. She has a warm bed and a house full of squeaky toys to call her own."
Pictured: Binah, a Chihuahua rescued by the ASPCA from a puppy mill in February 2010, now lives in a forever home, having made a full recovery. (Photo courtesy of ASPCA)
What do you think of the "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign? Share your thoughts below!
2 years ago
I don't like puppy mills at all but Skitters came from what we thought was just a dog breeder until my mom got there and saw the place, She still brought a puppy home and about a week later when we took her in to be spayed and get some shots we found out from the vet that she had a collapsing treikia but I had already fallen in love with her we didn't take her back we kept her we have had her ever since then. Skitters is my best friend and I would never take her back for another puppy with out a collapsing treikia or take her back for the world. Skitters and I were best friends from the start and I was 10 when we got her and now I am 23 and Skitters just turned 12.
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