Animal Writes
14 March 2001 Issue
Puppy Mills: "A Cruel Industry"

from In Defense of Animals - [email protected] 

News Article From the St Louis Post Dispatch Puts The State Of MO In A Bad Light


IT is Missouri's long-running shame to lead the nation in the manufacture of puppies for profit. Manufacture is precisely the right word.

Every month, some 13,000 puppies are whelped, stacked in cages and shipped out of Missouri like canned goods to pet stores. The legality of this industry doesn't make it any less contemptible.

The dogs spend most of their lives in cages, and are bred over and over again. Sometimes the dogs have become so ill from neglect that the puppy mill owners hand them over to rescuers without a fight. It is bad enough that the lax laws governing puppy mills allow most of these conditions. But state Auditor Claire McCaskill found that state inspectors did not cite a single breeder for any kind of violation in a two-year period. To make matters worse, two men in the state inspection program had puppy mill money flowing directly into their family coffers from facilities run by their wives.

It is unacceptable for so-called inspectors to fail to find serious fault with facilities that prompt rescues like the one led by Stray Rescue of St. Louis in early 1999. Of 16 purebred American Eskimo dogs taken from three puppy mills in southwestern Missouri, three were so seriously ill they had to be euthanized. Underfed and sitting in a fecund stew of their own feces, the rest suffered from maladies ranging from malnutrition to ear mites to frost bite. A few required surgery.

An industry that pumps $2 billion a year into the state economy has successfully ignored the protests of those who would like to see the commercial venture radically reformed, if not outlawed. The taxpayers who pay inspectors' salaries must demand an oversight team that, at the very least, enforces the generous limits of an unkind industry. Reforming the laws themselves is the next step.

If you're looking for a pet, veterinarians advise, first check the animal shelters in your area, or contact a reputable breeder and visit his facility. The most effective way to put an end to the inhumane conditions at puppy mills is to help put them out of business.

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