During this term at Portland Community College, I had the opportunity to participate in my own DIY project with my local Humane Society. The Humane Society is one of many nonprofit organizations that stand for animal welfare. Prior to this class, I participated in several volunteering programs to help the shelter. My duties were to clean their shelters, take care of laundry, and make Kong toys for each dog (they receive two a day for mental stimulation). During my volunteer hours before participating in this class, I had come across a situation where several puppies were dropped off at the shelter that were transferred from a different location out-of-state. Later, I heard from another volunteer that the puppies were saved from a puppy mill that was reported. This strung a heart string for me, because the puppies had went through extensive health care prior to being transferred. This story inspired me to educate myself more on puppy mills and research.
“Laws That Protect Dogs in Puppy Mills.” ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
The ASPCA was the first nonprofit humane society organization. They have plenty of articles on a diverse range of issues along with the HSUS. This article in particular is a list about laws that protect dogs in puppy mills. The laws discussed, which concern puppy mill-related standards and rules, are administrative laws—they are distinct from animal cruelty laws, which are criminal laws. For instance, one important law is the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a federal law passed in 1966. The AWA regulates certain animal activities, including commercial dog and cat breeding. It also defines the minimum standards of care for dogs, cats and certain other species of animals bred for commercial resale, research, and exhibition. It also requires that certain commercial breeders be licensed and routinely inspected by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fairly recently though, the determination from the animal welfare community pressured the USDA to close loopholes that were preventing the inspection in some facilities where animals were suffering.
Pacelle, Wayne. “Virginia Pet Stores: Selling Puppies and a Pack of Lies”. blog.humanesociety.org. A Humane Nation, Wayne Pacelle’s Blog. 12 Nov 214. Web. Nov. 18 2014.
Being the CEO of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle has plenty of blog posts about multiple different cases in animal welfare. If you are ever curious about a situation and would like to get involved, I definitely recommend reading Pacelle’s articles. They’re informative and moving, because he includes the success HSUS has in helping these situations. This article was the one that inspired me to do more research about puppy mills. In his article, Pacelle discusses a specific case HSUS had in Virginia about a pet store who was purchasing puppies from a puppy mill. Many of the pet store owners provided false information about their resources for the animals which blinds the public and convinces them to purchased pricey dogs. The article also includes the link to pledge against purchasing your next dog from a puppy mill.
Popwell, Allison M. “Pets and the pet trade.” Encyclopedia of Environmental Issues, Rev. ed. Ed. Craig W. Allin. Vol. 3. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2011. 966-968. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Popwell’s article about the history behind the pet trading is effective because she starts the article about the history of the important a pet can have on someone’s life. Afterwards, she introduces puppy mills and discusses who runs them, which is usually people who know nothing or very little about breeding dogs, to make money because the demand for puppies is so high. Powell gives a brief but disturbing image of your ordinary puppy mill which consists of filthy environments, they suffer from overcrowding and rarely see a vet, as well as unsanitary food and water resources. Many puppy mill breeders do incest breeding, which causes health issues. Most of the puppies end up being shipped off to pet stores that are barely old enough to wing off their mothers, and in some cases they die.
The Public Writing
August 26, 2014
Senator Kay Hagan
82 Patton Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
Dear Senator Hagan,
My name is Leah Raneigh Webb and I currently reside in Asheville, North Carolina. I am contacting you today regarding The Puppy Mill Bill (Senate Bill 460). I recently became involved in the Asheville Humane Society after being assigned to participating in volunteer service through my college English course. When puppy mills came into discussion during my volunteer hours, I educated myself on the laws in North Carolina regarding the growing situation of puppy mills in the state. Sadly, I came across the Senate Bill 460 that has avoided placing strict regulations on breeders who function puppy mills.
Based on the information I read regarding Bill 460, it is difficult for an individual to report any cruelty actions against animals. It appears that under this bill, malice and intent must be proven. Even if proof has been made regarding the situation, it is difficult to find a DA that will take on a case with this high of legal burden before it is too late. Just recently it was added unto the bill to prevent dog and cock fighting, but you would think at first glance that the bill would address any scenario where dogs were being fought. Alas, it did not, as it does not with puppy mills. I am urging you today to take action for the suffering of the lives stuck in cages that you are absently allowing to happen.
On line 24 and 25 the bill states: Nothing in this Article shall apply to those kennels or establishments operated for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs.
With that being stated, the bill is allowing for breeders who sell on Craigslist, Facebook, public websites, local newspapers, and at flea markets have zero regulations against them. This means that it is legal for breeders to continue keeping their dogs in kennels that only allow six inches on each side of the animal to live in for the rest of their life, receive bug infested water, skip veterinary visits, and female dogs will be bred every moment she is in heat (a five year-old female dog will give birth to ten litters).
I understand that with the world we live in today there may be more important duties on the list. However, even if you are not personally an animal lover, there are those out there that are and who care about the lives that are suffering today. North Carolina has a growing problem with puppy mills. Animals are being sent to the local shelter day after day because breeders have no use for them or do not want to spend the money to save their life. As a part of this community, I do not want to become a state that did not do anything to prevent this growing situation, and therefore homeless dogs and cats that are sick will be roaming the streets causing dirtier environments. I urge you today to reconsider Bill 460 to help put a stop to the zero regulations against these breeders, and save a life today.