Originally Published: April 3, 2016 6 a.m.
After reading about Arizona’s state legislators planning to vote to block cities from banning pet stores from selling animals they get from commercial breeders I felt it was time to share my own experience with a commercial breeder aka “puppy mill”. I went to see a Bichon Frise female advertised for sale. What I found was very disturbing and I caution readers before you read any further. This female, Dixie, was in terrible shape and could not get pregnant anymore. I bought her and took her to my vet. They had to shave her since she was so matted and pull 15 teeth that were too rotten to save. When the vet spayed her he found why she was not able to get pregnant, a “mummified” puppy was still in her. Also, her owner had bred her so often that her “undercarriage” was almost touching the ground.
These facilities are regulated through the USDA, so I called an USDA inspector who went out to check the facility. He could not cite them for anything since federal law only requires that these dogs have shelter, water and food - no medical care, no exercise, no going outside. I also learned that it is legal to confine adult breeding dogs to small, wire bottomed cages only 6” longer than the dog on all sides. The breeders are there for life.
Yes, excellent dog breeders exist, but if you plan to buy a puppy, you need to check the facility in person. The Humane Society of the United States found that 99 percent of the puppies for sale in pet stores originated from puppy mills. These mills will provide “pure bred” papers but because of inbreeding the puppies will have many problems as they grow up. A friend bought an ado rable golden retriever puppy in a pet store, which turned into an aggressive adult. She was so aggressive that they could not take her into the veterinarian office; the vet had to come out to the car to give her injections.
Get your next dog from a shelter, rescue group or a responsible breeder that lets you check out their kennels. Do not order from online breeders, unless you can go and check the facility – photos posted often do not show the true situation.
Please contact Arizona legislators, both representatives and senators, with a quick email asking them NOT to vote for SB1248. Go to azleg.gov to do this. There was a happy ending for Dixie; she lived another eight years in a loving home. Please don’t forget all the puppy mill breeders that were not rescued.