When my husband and I got our first dog, we were naïve. We answered an ad in the newspaper, traveled to a farm in Nebraska, and found our first, Banjo, whom we loved for 15 years. Looking back, I realize now that we adopted our special first dog from a puppy mill. Back then we didn’t know what they were….no one had coined the phrase, “puppy mill.” But Banjo was in a tier of wire cages….his feces and those of all the puppies there filtered to the cages below. He had no food and water.
But he was sooo cute! He was the lucky one (although, we believe we were, too). If he hadn’t been adopted by us, who knows what would have happened to him? And where were his parents? I am certain now, having researched the sad state of puppy mills in recent years, that they were sequestered in another building on the property….kept there to breed and breed and breed…..no attention, no playing, none of the “good life.”
Sadly, this is common across the United States. Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa are the three states harboring the most puppy mills……virtual “puppy factories,” where breeding females are used ONLY for breeding, having litter after litter. There are some upsetting videos/photos out there showing the atrocious conditions under which these animals live. They do not receive proper medical care, and they live in terrible circumstances.
Iowa Voters for Companion Animals
Check in your state to find organizations which will alert you to these prisons. In Iowa, we have Iowa Voters for Companion Animals. This organization has worked tirelessly to advocate for thorough and regular inspections of breeding facilities. As a result, some have been closed down. Charges have been filed. When you buy from pet stores, you may be adopting a pet who came from facilities like this. Do your background work before you buy or adopt.
Better yet, adopt from a shelter…..a rescue…..mixed-breed dogs are far less likely to exhibit abnormal tendencies. And most shelters receive many wonderful purebred dogs.
Jane Kauzlarich is a retired Iowa educator with 36 years of service. She volunteered with the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho for ten summers and currently devotes her time at a no-kill animal shelter and a wildlife rehabilitation facility at the Iowa Great Lakes. She is a published writer of poetry, essays, and children’s books.