It's National Puppy Mill Action Week!
According to 2014 figures, Arkansas makes up less than 1% of the population of the United States. But Arkansas puppy mills make up 7% of the The Humane Society of the United States' worst 100 puppy mills list for 2015. Seven breeders in Arkansas made the worst 100 list this year. Several have appeared on the list in prior years. Why? Because business is good for puppy mills in Arkansas, and they're allowed to operate in our state with impunity. Opponents of the recent puppy mill bill that failed in the Arkansas legislature say, "oh we already have laws in place to deal with this." No we don't. There are laws to punish those who mistreat animals after the fact, and it takes a lot to actually enforce them. There are no regulations in place to prevent or deter this kind of abuse. The recent puppy mill rescues in Sherwood and Warm Springs, Arkansas are proof of that. Last year over 180 dogs had to be rescued from a puppy mill in White Hall! Arkansas breeders seem to gain more spots on this list every year. We're going to try to pass meaningful puppy mill legislation again in 2017, and we'll need everyone's support when the time comes.
What can you do now? So many things. Help us educate our fellow Arkansans about puppy mills, and most importantly, don't give them your business. If you've ever gotten a puppy from a breeder or off Craigslist or from the newspaper, you may have already supported a puppy mill without even realizing it. They work very hard to operate without detection. Here are some tips from dog expert Cesar Milan on how to spot a puppy mill: http://www.cesarsway.com/dog-rescue/adoption-tips/how-to-avoid-puppy-mills
The number one way to avoid doing business with a puppy mill is to adopt from a shelter or legitimate rescue rather than buying from a breeder or getting a "free" puppy from the newspaper, a Facebook swap site, etc. We say "free" because rarely do those puppies come already sterilized and vaccinated, a considerable expense. You don't even have to adopt from us! We have literally thousands of awesome pets available for adoption every year, but we understand that sometimes you're looking for something very specific. There are breed-specific rescues everywhere that would love to help you find exactly what you're looking for.
It all boils down to this... puppy mills can be stopped, and it really only takes one simple thing from you—not supporting them. The right regulations will help prevent the abuse these dogs suffer if they're put in place, but in the meantime, we need your help to educate our community. And as always, adopt, don't shop.