Don’t support the puppy mill industry.
The first – and arguably most important – thing that you can do is to not support the puppy mill industry. Please do not buy your next pet from a pet store. It is widely estimated that nearly every puppy sold in a pet store has come from a commercial dog breeder or puppy mill. Responsible breeders carefully screen their buyers and do not sell to pet stores.
Please consider adoption as your first option.
Nearly every community has a local shelter. In the Chicago area, we have many wonderful shelters and rescue groups. We encourage you to visit shelters or rescues, even if you do not anticipate that adopting a shelter pet is the best option for you. There are wonderful dogs of all sizes, breeds, and temperaments. 25 percent of them are purebred!
If you do have your heart set on a particular breed, there are breed-specific rescues for almost every breed. Search online and on Facebook for a group that rescues the breed of your choice. In addition, visit www.petfinder.com – you can search for pets in need of homes by breed and location.
Research breeders carefully.
Finally, if you do wish to go to a breeder, learn how to recognize a responsible breeder. A responsible breeder loves their animals and will carefully screen buyers. They will allow you to come onsite and see where the dogs live and how they care for them. You should be able to meet both of the parents. If the breeder will only meet you offsite and will not let you see the facilities or meet the puppy’s parents, this is not a responsible breeder. Visit www.pupquest.org for some great tips on identifying a responsible breeder.
Do your research before purchasing a puppy over the internet.
Please be careful when purchasing a pet through a website. Puppy mill operators can create beautiful websites to make you feel like you are purchasing your pet from a responsible and kind place. Please make sure that you can visit the puppy and the facility first – if you are buying solely based on a photo, email, or phone call, you are likely buying a puppy from a puppy mill. The San Francisco SPCA has one of our favorite campaigns that demonstrates just how easy it is to hide behind a nice website – click here to view their video.
Speak up for dogs and contact your legislators.
Your legislators need to know that animal welfare issues are important to you. Write a letter or send an email to your local and state legislators. Encourage him or her to support laws that protect animals. Include your mailing address so they know you are a constituent. Be polite and keep it short.
Join our efforts.
Join The Puppy Mill Project. We always need help from volunteers and have a number of different volunteer opportunities. You can help with our education program, be a part of a peaceful protest or march, or lend a hand at a community event. We also have specific campaigns and efforts with which we need help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell your friends and family about The Puppy Mill Project and share your knowledge about puppy mills. If your friend, or a member of your family is planning to buy a puppy, please share the information on our website and encourage them to consider adopting from a rescue or shelter.
Spread the word.
Use social networking websites (Facebook, Twitter, a blog, etc.) to learn more about puppy mills, share information, and speak out.