The fall out over the puppy mill bust in Quebec, Canada has led to a ton of hand wringing and hyperbole in media circles. CBC reports that Quebec is ‘the puppy mill capital of North America’, a fact that would come as welcome news to Pennsylvania and Kansas, two states that have been tied neck and neck for that title for the past decade.
In the middle of the article comes a quote from the executive director of ANIMA-Québec, the government-funded group responsible for enforcing animal-rights laws, saying that the best way to avoid buying a puppy mill puppy is to “ask the owner of the pet shop where he is … [getting] his animals [from]”.
That sound? That’s my head hitting my freakin’ desk.
Where’s the insightful advice about how to choose an ethical breeder? Where’s the oft repeated, always on the mark advice about never buying a puppy from a pet store? Where’s the check list of things for the public to look for when purchasing a puppy from any source? Who pays your salary, ANIMA-QUEBEC?
The best way to avoid buying a puppy mill bred puppy is to NOT BUY A PUPPY FROM A PET STORE. Any pet store.
Yes – Even the pretty ones and the clean ones and the ones with cute names.
Yes – Even the pricey ones in Manhattan or Beverly Hills.
Yes – Even the ones who claim that they buy their puppies from ‘caring breeders’.
Yes – Even the ones who say all their puppies are ‘registered’.
Every pet store, everyplace, that sells live puppies gets their puppies from puppy mills.
Every. Single. One.
And pet stores? They lie. They’ll be HAPPY to tell you all about the caring, loving, clean breeders who they buy their puppies from. They’re lying. They’re liars. They LIE. Pound that fact into your heads. If you buy a puppy anyway, because you ‘really believe them’, then you’re either a sucker or a heartless jerk who really doesn’t care what happens to your puppy’s relatives.
And no, I won’t sugar coat that for you so you can feel better about your over priced impulse buy. I won’t tell you that you’re still a good person who just didn’t know any better, because unless you live under a rock? No excuse. No excuse for saying “but I didn’t know”. Yeah, you did. You knew, but you wanted that puppy, right now, with no waiting, and billed to your credit card, and because of that, your puppy’s mommy just pumped out one more litter onto cold chicken wire with no vet care, substandard food, and a good chance that she’ll die during labour.
Congratulations, your karma just tanked.
Some people, of course, just refuse to accept that a clean, well lit pet store could possibly lie – after all, look how expensive their puppies are, and doesn’t expensive equal better?
For ‘fun’, I just called Canada’s version of Petland, PJ’s Pets. Specifically, I called their most ‘upscale’ location, in Yorkdale Mall, and asked if they had French Bulldogs for sale.
The conversation went like this:
PJ’s “Puppy Sale” Department Rep: “We have three available right now – 3 black ones. They’re really adorable”.
Me, ignoring fact that Frenchies don’t come in black: “Can you tell me how much?”
PJ’s: “They’re on sale right now – regular $3899, on sale for $3499”.
Me: “Are they Canadian bred?”
PJ’s: “Umm, no. No, these ones aren’t. They’re not from Quebec, definitely” (nervous sounding giggle)
Me: “OK, can you tell me where they’re from them? Are they registered? Do they have ‘papers’?”
PJ’s: “Oh, yeah, yes. They have papers for sure”.
Me: “But can you tell me where they were bred?”
PJ’s: “Let me check. OK, these ones are from the US. They have US papers. Continental Kennel Association (sic). That means they can be registered here”. (I assume she meant Continental Kennel Club, and she’s completely wrong – American bred dogs can only be registered in Canada if they have AKC issued registration papers).
Obviously, this is a quality, reliable source of information about French Bulldogs. How could you not trust them with a $3500 purchase?
But, just in case there is still anyone left who claims “But the pet store my puppy came from is different“, here’s the video story from the HSUS on their year long investigation into the link between Petland and Puppy Mills. Make sure to pay special attention to the parts where Petland employees claim that all their puppies come from great breeders.