I live in the state of Missouri, aka the “puppy mill capital.”
Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities where dogs aren’t treated as man’s best friend or even his least favorite second cousin. Puppy mill dogs don’t get socialized, and they don’t get groomed. They exist solely to procreate as often as possible, their offspring headed for pet stores or wherever they may fetch the highest price.
When they can no longer reproduce, puppy mill breeding dogs tend to be dispatched, with the lucky few ending up in rescue.
Puppy mill dogs tend to be purebreds and high-demand hybrid breeds like Pearl, a labradoodle I know.
Rescued puppy mill breeding dogs often come with significant behavioral and health issues. Pearl has had trouble in her lady parts from having multiple litters, and there’s a notch in her tongue.
The offspring of dogs like Pearl aren’t always in the best condition either. Pet store pups exhibit more health and psychological problems, according to Psychology Today.
The whole puppy mill issue sucks, but it’s actually getting a little better in Missouri, thanks in part to one tireless organization.
According to the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, which has lobbied full-time on behalf of animal issues in the state since 1990:
- In 2009, there were 1,998 commercial breeders and dealers, as of May 30, 2013; there are 963 which means 1,035 puppy mills are gone!
- In 2009, there were 9 inspectors, currently there are 14 animal health inspectors, 2 investigators, and 3 veterinarian inspectors. So it went from 9 people in the field to 19 in the field today.
- The number of inspections conducted in 2008 was 1,169; the number of inspections last year was 3,460, which means that the number of inspections conducted has tripled.
- In addition to the number of breeders decreasing, the number of dogs per facility has also decreased. The average number of adult female breeding dogs per facility has declined from 44.5 to 39.2.
- Those mills that still exist have substantially increased their standards of care due to the new law. Many have built brand new facilities.
Many of these improvements are owed to the passage of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act in 2011, which enacted tougher regulations for breeders in Missouri and funded more inspections of breeding facilities. MAAL was a leading force in educating and mobilizing the public to vote for that bill.
Some MAAL members are even featured in the trailer for the forthcoming documentary Dog by Dog.
Prominent in MAAL’s recent updates are announcements of a fundraiser happening tonight. Pints for Paws takes place at an Old Chicago in Olathe, Kansas. Twenty percent of the restaurant’s profits tonight will be donated to MAAL.
Although I cannot personally attend the event, I am also supporting this organization today – with a little help from my friends.
If you’ve been waiting to buy a Beer Paws bottle opener like Pearl’s now is the time!
20% of all Beer Paws bottle opener purchases made at my webstore by midnight Central Standard Time will be donated to MAAL.
Let’s see how much we can raise for the fight against puppy mills and the overall better treatment of all animals in the state of Missouri!
I’ll report tomorrow on our success. Watch for updates on Facebook throughout the day.
Pre-order silver and glow-in-the-dark bottle openers for guaranteed U.S. delivery by July 4. A limited number of turquoise openers are available for immediate shipment.