Arrange a demo- You can order posters from Peta
and In Defense of Animals that are graphic, to the point and free for
the asking. Glue them to some posterboard (I used foamcore) and get a
few of your friends together for a pet store demo. To find some
activists in your area, contact Peta and ask for their activist list in
your county. These are the people who have signed up to attend demos in
www.helppuppies.com and send the sites to all your friends and
e-mail buddies who may be able to use the information to educate others.
Order brochures or print them out off your own
computer to pass out at malls, intersections and veterinary offices.
Or place them under windshield wipers in parking lots of pet stores that
offer puppies and kittens for sale.
Take up a collection among your friends to pay for an
ad in the local paper warning people to steer clear of pet stores and
patronize shelters and breed rescues instead.
If you are a student, consider writing a term
paper on puppy mills and pet stores to educate your professor and fellow
students, or write an article for your school paper or newsletter; if
you live in a condominium or belong to an organization with a
newsletter, consider doing the same.
Never miss an opportunity to tell people you chance
to meet never to buy a dog or cat from a pet store.
Write your local paper and ask if they will print
an article about Christmas and pets. If they do, feel free to submit the
following article or use it as a basis for your own ideas. Once the
article is published, ask all your friends and fellow activists to write
letters to the editor agreeing with your article and making pet store
points of their own.
Article for newspaper:
If you or some of your friends are considering
surprising a loved one with a live animal for the holidays, here is some
information worth passing on:
Pet stores are the absolute worse place to buy a
purebred puppy or kitten. The puppies that end up in pet stores come
from deplorable places called puppy mills. Puppy mills are factories
where female dogs are bred over and over again which depletes their
stores of nutrients. This means they cannot pass on their
immunosuppressant nutrients to their puppies and are frequently sick
themselves. Puppy mills breed thousands of puppies every year and send
the underage puppies across the country so that pet stores can put them
on display at the earliest age possible. But taking a puppy away from
his mother is against most state laws and for good reason. They are not
well-socialized, well nourished or well adjusted before the age of eight
weeks. Pet stores overprice their kittens and puppies to make up for
their overhead. Most people are aware by now of all the good reasons not
to purchase a dog from a pet store and you may find yourself in the dog
house if you present an enlightened loved one with a puppy from a
petstore! (And don’t let the pet store personnel fool you, virtually
ALL puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.)
If you must have a purebred kitten or puppy, consider a
breed rescue organization such as Siamese Rescue, Rottie Rescue (For
Rottweilers) or Greyhound Adoption. You will be saving a life,
contributing to a great cause and sending a message to those who make
money on the misery of puppy mills.
If you are not sure that the person really needs or
wants a companion animal, present them with a shelter gift certificate
and then offer to accompany them to the shelter to help them choose the
perfect family member. After the holidays the shelters are full of
purebred dogs and cats people got as gifts and now don't want. To make a
dramatic presentation, wrap a stuffed animal and a box filled with pet
supplies -- leashes, toys, dishes, food, litter -- along with the gift
certificate. Don't forget books and videos or DVD’s on basic care and
feeding of the new companion animal. Anything by Larry Lachman or Brian
Kilcommons, or the HSUS Companion Animal Care Book are all good choices.
Even long-time dog or cat guardians enjoy those well-written manuals.
(Brian has a book out entitled Mutts, America's Dog, for those friends
with "natural dogs" or who will be visiting the shelter for a mixed
According to Karen Buchan, a project manager for Palm
Beach County Animal Care and Control, .....Ask your friends to ask
themselves these questions:
Who will take care of the animal after the holidays?
A new puppy requires several hours of attention and
training [each day] to become a responsible family member.
Can the family afford caring for a new dog or cat?
The American Animal Hospital Association recommends talking to your
veterinarian about the breed you like. Some breeds require special
care and grooming which can be expensive.
Are the children in the home old enough to handle a
Will the animal become too big for the home once
he's fully grown?
Is the yard fenced?
Will the landlord allow a dog or cat? Is there an
expensive "pet deposit" to consider? What part is refundable?
Does the family have other animal companions that
should be considered? Will the animal fit into their lifestyle?
Are they on the go so much the dog or cat wouldn't
get much attention?
Does everyone realize that adopting an animal is a
long commitment -- 10-15 years long?
And for the safety of ALL family members during the
holidays remember these safety tips:
Cats and dogs love to chew on electric cords and
tinsel. Cover the cords with duct tape. Put tinsel and glass
ornaments higher on the tree, out of reach. Secure the tree so
animals can't knock it over.
Many holiday plants are poisonous to pets,
especially poinsettias, holly and mistletoe with berries attached.
As animals age they may become more sensitive to
noise. By placing the animal in another part of the house -- a safe
room -- during the excitement, it will make both you and your pet
Make sure your animal is wearing his collar and
county rabies license tag. Dogs and cats may slip out of the door
unnoticed during all the hustle and bustle. A county tag is a lost
animal's ticket home.
Give your dogs and cats gifts but make sure they are
safe and nontoxic ones. Rawhide chew toys and pigs ears are
dangerous because the rawhide can form a glue-like ball in the
animals’ intestines which may need surgical removal, and pigs ears
have been found with parasites and toxic chemicals. Stick to the
Booda Bones, NylaBones or Kong instead.
For information on where to find a purebred rescue
organization, call your local humane society or use the keyword with the
breed you want, for example “poodle rescue.” Most rescues have transport
For information on puppy mills, check out
All-Creatures.org: Animal Rights Activism]
Santa’s reindeers will thank you for using your buying
power to help animals this Christmas.
Go on to ACT Radio
- Animal Concerns of Texas
Return to 8 December 2002 Issue
Return to Newsletters
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