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Mill Kill (part one of two)

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“The dogs are usually emaciated, dehydrated and crawling with fleas. Often, their bodies are a mass of infected sores; puss oozes from their eyes and feces mat their fur. In winter, they're found shivering in frozen pens; in summer, they gasp in the heat” (Gorrie). This horrifying image, described in the words of Peter Gorrie, can only describe one apparently demeaning form of animal cruelty -- puppy mills. Animal cruelty, commonly defined as “the infliction of suffering or harm upon animals, for purposes other than self-defense” (“Cruelty to Animals”), has been an issue in America for centuries. No more than a couple miles away from where any metropolitan area, animals are being forced to live with sickeningly deadly conditions, lack of food and water, strained labor, neglect, and complete abandonment. Such treatment, a pitiless and common recurrence in America today, happens almost everywhere, even where least expected. Animal cruelty and abuse, seen in different forms and locations all around America, such as the atrocity of puppy mills, are causing unbearable pain and death every minute, and right now, the termination of puppy mills and other abuse of the sort is seemingly unachievable without support from the public. Puppy mills are merely one small example of the vast issue of animal cruelty. These mills are breeding organizations facilitated by selfish breeders forcing purebred dogs to over reproduce in the worst of conditions, in order to gain personal profit through purebred puppies, worth millions, when sold to credulous buyers. Although this is illegal in many countries, the government is unable to eliminate mills because many manage to find loopholes in the law and continue the brutality in secret. Most current animal cruelty laws are unenforced and contain numerous exceptions. Therefore, nothing is stopping the cruel motives of animal abusers. The widespread issue of animal cruelty in America, puppy mills in particular, affects breeders, puppies, and consumers, and due to the selfish desires of the public population and breeders involved, makes the government’s termination of mills a seemingly impossible struggle. Puppy mills cause the degradation of puppy life, as well as diminishing the quality of puppy value, but are unable to be stopped due to unconscious public support and unenforced, lenient laws with countless exceptions.



Puppy mills, merely one small example of the vast issue of animal cruelty, are facilitated by selfish breeders, whose only concern is personal profit, and involve forcing helpless animals to produce purebred, overpriced, puppies in order to sell them to unsuspecting buyers and gain millions. The sole reason for puppy mills is profit. Breeders create these hell factories in order to produce countless numbers of puppies that sell for millions. The owners of mills care little about the needs of dogs; they only want the puppies well enough to receive profit from them. Breeders and mill owners know minimal information about the health or needs of dogs, and most of the time, they do not care to find out. The process of dog breeding in mills is a horrifying and inhumane practice that is driven by selfishness and lack of concern.



The brutal conditions of puppy mills, including dangerous cages, weather conditions, forced reproduction, debarking, and unsanitary homes, are detrimental to canine health and result in shorter life spans. The homes of these brutally abused dogs are small wired cages overflowing with animals and stacked outside on top of each other. The metal cages hurt the puppies’ legs and paws and can result in lost limbs from being caught in the metal (“Prisoners of Greed”). Without regard for the weather conditions, the dogs are left outside to deal with extreme heat or cold to the point where it is dangerous. In addition, when the weather gets too hot, the sun heats the cages and causes the wire to burn the puppies’ skin (“Prisoners of Greed”). Along with this, selfish owners do not want the pained puppies to be constantly barking; therefore, they “debark” the dogs by sticking rods down their throats to damage their vocal cords (“Prisoners of Greed”). Another brutal condition of puppy mills is the forced reproduction they must undergo. Puppies are made to reproduce until the last possible litter, and then are abandoned, killed, or sold to another mill to force more breeding. The conditions of puppy mills are by far the most outrageously degrading element of the cruel procedure and augment the significance of the animal abuse issue.



Health issues such as social deprivation, skin disorders, and sensory disabilities, a few effects of the hazardous conditions of puppy mills, greatly influence the dog’s future lives and future owners outside of the mill. While living at the mills, dogs are not subject to any human contact or relationships. When the dogs are around humans, they are only abused and shown no love. This builds up a sense of fear and timidity towards humans, and the animals have no reason to trust any human with their lives. Therefore, when the new puppies, raised at the mills, are sold to live with families, they are often timid, fearful, or defensive. They may be aggressive and bite innocent humans out of fear, or simply hide away and resist human contact. Skin disorders are another common defect of puppy mill bred dogs. The unsanitary conditions that newborn puppies are raised in can contribute to long-term issues such as mites, ticks, fleas, and mange. These disorders are unappealing to possible buyers and the medical treatment is expensive. Sensory disabilities that result from mill conditions include blindness and deafness. Eye disease and ear infection are often caused by the contaminated cages and previously sick dogs. These diseases ultimately can result in permanent deafness and blindness, setting an unmovable barrier on the puppies’ lives if they ever are given an opportunity to leave the mill. Not only do permanent disorders and diseases ruin the dog’s future life, but they also create a completely new scenario for possible buyers who have to deal with the harsh realization that by supporting a new needy puppy, they will be responsible for the bills and care of the disabled animal.



One way in which mill owners manage to sell their new purebred puppies, and support their business, is through carefully planned, deceitful scams such as lying to pet stores, faulty online sales, and not telling the whole truth about the homes where the puppies have been raised. Pet stores are willing to buy purebreds at good prices in order to sell them at higher prices, but they will not buy from a mill where the dogs are likely to have health diseases and shorter lives, as mentioned earlier. Therefore, in order to make profit, breeders must lie about the puppies’ backgrounds. Often coming up with certified kennels and fake registrations, the breeders will conceive fake stories to tell the pet stores in order to receive profits off their puppies (“Buyers Beware”). Pet stores usually fall for it, ending up with puppy mill produced dogs to sell to the unsuspecting public. Another form of scams, Internet scams, often produce brutal consequences for the buyers. Internet scamming is conducted the same way as pet store scams, only on a more personal basis. Buyers are presented with pictures and fake registrations for nonexistent puppies, instead of the dogs they will actually be receiving. With the ability for anyone to shary any information they choose over the Internet, there is a possibility for millions of con breeders (“Buyers Beware”). The sole reason that Internet scams are so popular and profitable is due to the owners’ resulting guilt. As soon as the owner realizes they have been scammed, the problem does not just go away, since they are still responsible for a needy puppy. Breeders expect the owner to feel bad for the poor puppy keep it instead of sending it away, and this is usually the case. The worst type of puppy selling scam, used often by greedy breeders, is the “free to good home” scam (“Buyers Beware”). Scam artists offer free dogs and make up ridiculous sob stories about how necessary it is that their puppy finds a good home quickly, free of charge except shipping. When the expectant owners send shipping money and go to pick up their new puppy, they are disappointed to realize that no dog was ever involved. Their money is gone for good and they are left heartbroken. The only way to end these breeders’ tricks is to educate the public about the scam artists online. By simply meeting a new puppy before making a purchase, such issues can be avoided completely. In order to prevent breeders’ from gaining profit from their lies and trickery, it is necessary for both public organizations and personal consumers to research the background of their new dogs, including homes, registration, breed, health, and other important factors, as well as verifying their purchases.



Buyers are significantly affected by the health related issues caused by the mills because they are forced to deal with the reality of their beloved pets having shorter life spans, unreasonable health bills, and social disabilities. The animals are not the only ones influenced by the problems of puppy mills, but the new puppy owners also suffer numerous issues. Many of the diseases earlier mentioned can be passed down genetically; therefore, the puppies sold to the public may carry such sicknesses. If the puppies for any reason are not sold, they are sentenced to a life of forced reproduction, where they will pass the fatal diseases down to other generations. On the other hand, if the newborns are sold to a pet store or private consumer, the fatality of many genetic diseases will kill them in no more than a couple of weeks, leaving excited new dog owners penniless and disheartened. If by chance the puppies’ detriments are not fatal, the owner must deal with economic setbacks. The health bills that the buyers face after purchasing a puppy with inherited disease from a mill are outrageously high, and catch buyers by surprise, as they are unaware until they are faced with them. At this point, most new owners have fallen in love with their puppy, though the chance for survival of more than a few months, at most, is impossibly low. In addition to health disorders, comes the problem of social disabilities. Puppies raised in mills, once sold off, are timid and nervous when they are placed in new homes with new families. After suffering endless abuse at the mill, they are afraid of being hurt by humans and have serious trust issues. These puppies are socially unable to live as a typical dog would and take a long time to adjust to normal family life. When it comes to health bills and raising a socially dejected animal, owners have a lot to handle and most of the time, they still end up in misery when their pets are too scarred to ever live an ordinary life, or in more extreme cases, pass away.



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