I talk to a lot of people about dogs, because, well — because I am a crazy dog obsessed nut job, and as such tend to attract the kinds of people who want to talk about dogs. Currently, I’m in mid discussion with someone who is looking for a new family dog, and I’ve been a little bit surprised to learn that they believe, firmly, that there are no puppy mills in Canada.
“That’s an American thing, right? Like in the mid west? But we don’t have those here.”
They then proceeded to tell me about the ‘dog breeder’ they’d visited over the weekend, where they’d met five or six different puppies of different breeds, some of whom looked sort of sickly, most of whom had diarrhea, and almost all of whom had moms that looked underweight and anti social. I calmly explained to them that this was a puppy mill – pretty much the definition of one, in fact.
“But the dogs were in runs, not little cages! I thought they had to be in cages. Plus, that’s just an American thing, right?”.
Wrong. Puppy mills are here, in our own Canadian backyards. We’re doing a rollicking business in pumping out home grown crops of poorly bred, unsocialized, sickly puppies. Some will be sold to pet stores, others through free sites and newspaper ads. A handful will be Canadian Kennel Club registered, while the rest will be sold ‘without papers’.
The recent puppy mill bust in Quebec is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to large scale, badly managed commercial breeders. In my area alone, I can point to at least two or three ‘barn kennels’ where dogs are being raised just like any other livestock crop. There’s also the big, shiny, brand new 4,000 square foot house two towns over, the one with the rolling sign out front advertising “Daschunds (sic), Puggles, Maltis and More!!”, and the row upon row of kennel runs out back. A lucrative business, apparently. Tighter restrictions on imported puppies crossing the border from the USA, and coming in from Eastern Europe, have created a demand for domestically bred puppies for commercial sale, and lots of people are happy to step up to the plate to fill the demand.
Unlike the USA, we don’t have strong laws in place yet to regulate them – since even law makers still tend to think of this as ‘not our problem’.
Fighting against puppy mills can seem like an uphill battle, and I’ll admit that there’s only so much we can do, but we still need to try. First and foremost, we need to lobby, lobby, lobby our lawmakers to ban the sales of puppies and kittens from pet stores. No Puppy Mills Canada is working hard on this issue, and could use your support.
Secondly, we need to be the voice of reason for our non dog savvy friends and relatives. I’ve learned, much to my dismay, that a lot of people are indifferent about stories of poor suffering doggies, left to languish after pumping out litters.
More effective is a quiet talk on how pet store/puppy mill puppies cost MORE, in the long run. Explain about no guarantees, and about genetic illnesses. Talk about vicious dogs with poor socialization skills. I like to use the cheap car/luxury car story — That’s where I explain that, for the price of a crappy puppy mill bred pet store puppy, you could get the best puppy in the country, from the best breeder. I liken it to buying a rust bucket twenty year old Hyundai, but paying for a brand new Mercedes Benz. What kind of sucker agrees to that deal?
Whatever tactic you take, remember this – puppy mills are here, no matter where your ‘here’ might be. They’re in Canada, they’re in South America, they’re in Europe and they’re in the UK. Puppy mills are everywhere, and they’re everyone’s problem.
If you get Animal Planet, make sure to tune in this Saturday for the premiere of “Dogs 101“. The first episode ever, and guess what breed is being featured? Yup, Frenchies. Someone there apparently has good taste.
The promo for the show says:
DOGS 101 uncovers surprising details about everyone’s favorite dog breeds from the Airedale Terrier to the Yorkie. Learn which dog breeds are best for urban living and which ones are most family friendly. Using a mix of animal experts, the personal stories of pet owners and stylized dog photography, DOGS 101 is an unprecedented look at man’s best friend.
Awesome. Now, if only they could force Animal Planet Canada to carry the same shows as the US channel does. Dogs 101 premieres Saturday at 8 PM et/pt. Check it out!
Finally, can I just mention how very, very, VERY much ODC rawks my world?
First of all, their prices on puppy pads — those absorbent, moisture proof pads you can use to line whelping beds, or puppy pens, or crates — are ridiculously cheap ($4 for TWO!! Seriously!! I thought they were a bargain at $20 for two on eBay, considering how insanely expensive the new ones are!).
Secondly, I ordered a box of them on Tuesday — 6 packs of two, to be exact. And guess freakin’ what? They got here TODAY! From Wisconsin! And I’m in Canada!
Sorry, but I’m just shocked. I’ve gotten so used to 12 weeks for arrival that I don’t know how to handle it when I get great customer service.
Oh, and let me also mention — they’re a non profit, that employs developmentally disadvantaged adults. Do you see the irony there? I know I do.
They also sell other great pet/kennel supplies – blankets, bedspreads, hand rags, hand towels, bath towels, bath mats and wash cloths — all used, but all perfectly dog friendly, and all rock bottom cheap. Website — http://www.odcmerchandise.com/
OK, I’m done raving.