September 14, 2009

The Real Price of that Puppy in the Window

Taking a walk down your neighborhood block on a warm, sunny afternoon, you couldn’t resist stopping and cooing at the adorable puppies staring back at you through a pet store window. Although that golden retriever may seem happy with his wide brown eyes, he may be hiding a dark secret that the Amish, a community who appears to be so peaceful, is hiding from you.

In Lancaster County, PA, many puppy mills are currently operating under horrid and secret conditions. ABC News reports, “Rescue workers estimate 600 unlicensed facilities operate in barns and sheds. Those breeders go to great measures to avoid discovery.”
Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue, tells ABC News some of these facilities even "de-bark" their dogs. “The farmers, the Amish and the Mennonites, they pull the heads back and then they hammer sharp instruments down their throats to scar their vocal cords so they can't bark. So that way they can have 500-600 dogs in a barn and no one knows. As we said, it's an industry of secrecy."

Even more horrifying, Smith continues, “Unfortunately if a kennel breeds less than 60 dogs they can shoot them." During their lives, many female dogs are forced into terrible living conditions – spending their days in cages so they can barely walk and only kept alive to breed litter after litter. Once they no longer can, many are euthanized and some shot.

What can be done to save these helpless dogs? When you’re ready to welcome a pet into your family, ADOPT! The Humane Society reports that 3-4 million cats and dogs who need homes are euthanized each year. Due to the recent economic turmoil, shelters are overflowing with pets looking for families. By rescuing an animal, you save a life -- and keep money out of the hands of puppy mill owners whose litters are sold and end up in pet stores.

Also, let the governor of Pennsylvania know exactly how you feel! Your voice DOES make a difference! Call Governor Rendell at (717) 787-2500.

This post was written by Lauren Metz, a volunteer guest blogger with the Literacy ‘n’ Poverty Project. Lauren is a journalist that lives in New York City and has contributed to numerous publications. For the past year she has been advocating for The Animal Rescue Site, a website that provides food and care for rescued animals. Please leave your comments or email with your questions.

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