Animal Writes
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From 8 December 2002 Issue

Alerting the Public on Puppy Mills
by Michelle Rivera, The Active Activist - [email protected] 

One of the best things we can do for the animals this year is to alert the general public about the misery of puppy mills and make this a terrible fiscal year for pet stores. Here are some ways you can get the word out about pet stores:

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 their hometowns.

Visit and 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 breed.

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 new animal?

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 happier.

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 capabilities.

For information on puppy mills, check out and  [Also visit:  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
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