1. It’s all about supply and demand. If you do not buy your puppy from an Internet seller or from a pet shop (where puppy-mill puppies are sold), puppy mills will go out of business.
2. Look into shelter adoption first.
3. Don’t be an impulse buyer. A puppy might look cute in the window, but once you take him home you could end up with a lot more than you bargained for. With a reputable breeder, you might have to wait for a puppy to be born or to grow old enough to take home, but he health guarantees are worth it.
4. If you make the decision to go with a purebred, try to stay local. Make sure to check the background and get references for the breeder, and visit the home where the mother dog and her puppies live so you can be sure it is an ethical breeder.
5. Speak out! Tell you friends, family and social networks about the dangers of puppy mills. Education is the best solution for most any wrong.
6. Know your state’s dog breeding and selling laws. If you have a puppy from a puppy mill, know how to protect yourself and enforce the laws that are already on the books. Start here: www.animallaw.com
7. Support and recommend legislation that regulates the breeding and selling of animals.
8. Support organizations that act as watchdogs over breeders. This can either be with your money, time (volunteering for shelters and rescue groups) or talents (writing letters, organizing events, vaccination programs):
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) - http://www.aspca.org/
Animal Welfare Institute - http://www.awionline.org/
Animal Defense Fund – http://www.aldf.org/
9. Write to your state and federal legislators. Tell them you are disturbed by the unethical breeding practices and inhumane treatment of dogs kept in puppy mills. Use your position as a voter to insist on legislation that ensures that dogs – and all animals – be born and raised in healthy environments.
10. Report incidences. If you know of an unethical or abusive breeder or puppy mill operator in your area, tell your local animal law enforcement agency. Follow up if necessary.
Frontpage image: P1100885 / via Flickr