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Saturday, February 13, 2016

"I got a dog from the pet store and it had to be put down because it was so sick."

"I got a dog from the pet store and it had to be put down because it was so sick."

Disease, fleas, worms, disfigurement, etc. are complaints that people who bought a puppy mill dog have in common. No one expects to buy a puppy mill dog, but the fact is many of them are “hidden in plain sight” in pet stores and online ads promising cuteness and the latest or rarest breed. However, after the puppy is brought home, symptoms of disease start to appear and the reality of the horrid conditions they came from come to light. And without standards for facilities many times the consumer ends up paying a high vet bill – or worse, having to deal with the death of their new pet.

This is not an uncommon thing to hear. And when you are a fellow pet owner, you really feel for the people that have been duped. Duped into buying a dog from a place that provides inadequate to no care for the animals they are in charge of. Commonly known as "puppy mills," these facilities are a breeding ground for disease, neglect, abuse, and behavior problems in unsocialized animals.

Sometimes ads will say you can't see the facility because of a variety of reasons. That should be a red flag. If the parent dogs are not able to be handled, let alone seen, that should also cause concern to a potential buyer. Behavior traits can be inherited from parent dogs. Furthermore, removing animals from their mother too soon can have severe consequences for their personality and socialization.

I believe people who buy dogs instead of adopt do so with the same intentions as adopters, to welcome a new furry family member to enjoy and love. With this being the end goal, I believe we need to be aware that many breeding dogs’ lives are full of pain. Animals used for breeding should be protected by laws for – at the very least – basic standards of care.

Treating animals humanely is a practice anyone can get behind. Many reputable breeders already practice responsible breeding and provide proper facilities, feed, and veterinary care for their animals. However, South Dakota needs laws that allows prosecution of the breeders who don’t provide adequate care for their animals. Please join met in supporting SB 157, a law that protects humane treatment of animals.

Guest blogger Missy John is an animal control officer in Sioux Falls.  Missy is an advocate for SDFACT and offers help and advice on many animal cruelty issues we encounter.

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