The Overlooked Crime Against Man’s Best Friend: Guest Post By J.A. Yates
All of you people standing before me have been found guilty of the newly created federal offense of “Operating A Puppy Mill.” Meaning all of you will now be treated “exactly as you have treated the animals in your care,” so say the voters in your state.
To remind you, a puppy mill is any dog breeding operation that puts money over a dog’s well being. We know some of you have licenses under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you are going to sell to a pet store, licensing is a requirement. But licensing means nothing: “Current laws provide inadequate protection against harm to breeding dogs and puppies associated with commercial breeding establishments” (McMillan, 2013). And you’re smart enough to hide the nastiness. Puppy mills can be large, over 100 dogs, or small, as in “backyard breeding” – breeding for profit or “love” of the breed and treating the animals like numbers.
Found guilty, here is your punishment:
First, we will assign you a cage that is half your body size. As you see by the dimensions of your pen, you probably won’t be able to stand, and turning around will be difficult. If it’s too cold or too hot, that’s ok. You have skin to protect you.
The cage is wire, so over time, it will rust, and wires will break; the broken wire will poke your feet, body, maybe your eye. If it causes a wound, let us know, but we probably won’t do anything about it. Your injury might fester, and in time you could lose the limb or the eye. In that case, well, we won’t discuss it; the people outside don’t want to know. They’d instead think you live a happy life here.
Food: you will eat from these dishes – yes, they’re filthy! We reuse them over and over; we’re not going to add to our expenses. Or, we’ll toss food into the cage. This way, feeding time goes much faster. One reason we stack your cages on top of each other: food can drop to the next person. Plus, we can tell the outside world you have a healthy meal three times a day.
There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, both licensed and unlicensed. There are so many of you – perhaps three to ten persons working in the mill. We can’t catch all of you; it cost about $500,000 to bust a puppy mill of 250 animals, and no one has that kind of funding, especially nonprofit organizations.
The International City and County Management budgeting recommendation for animal control programs is only $4,000 to $7,000 annually. Besides, who is going to turn you in? Not the public, because they are buying the puppies online and in pet stores. They haven’t a clue where the dogs come from; they don’t research. But they will brag they have a purebred dog “with papers” – and might even try to breed it because it’s a good-looking dog, or to make money. Well, there’s an estimated 3 million dogs and cats euthanized by shelters annually. Many of those were once this cute puppy – a purebred dog “with papers” – a good-looking dog that made money. Most pet stores have stopped selling puppies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an outbreak strain of Campylobacter jejuni. “Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with puppies, especially those at pet stores, is the likely source of this outbreak.” (Outbreak, 2019)
But, back to your punishment: you will have water if you don’t tip your water bowl. Hope you get enough water. There are no bathrooms in the cage, so it runs down into the cages below or sticks to the bottom of your pen, you better hope your water is clean. Don’t worry about the stench and diseases arising from the filth! That’s part of it all.
When you lose hair or pieces of skin or even body parts (remember we discussed that wire-poking business), it will gather in your cage. You can step around it; sleep on it, whatever is most comfortable. Do people go mad here? Great question! Of course, they do! We’ve seen them chew themselves until they bleed, scream until their vocal cords are raw, even chew off legs and hands. It happens. You will learn to adapt because you will live like this 24 hours. And when you die, we’ll pitch your body into a pit or a heap. No headstone, no monuments to say you were on this earth. No one will shed a tear.
Were all of your puppy mills as bad as described above? No. But even one infraction: living in a cage, breeding for profit, issues with food, water, and health care can mean future physical and mental problems with a dog. A study conducted in 2011 reveals “a broad range of abnormal behavioral and psychological characteristics in the …breeding dogs from large-scale commercial breeding establishments.” (McMillan, 2011). You have also exhibited poor business practices and animal cruelty.
Now, get into your cage. Go to sleep. When you wake up, you will realize this was all a dream. Puppy mill operators will never receive this treatment! In reality, if caught, they might receive an infraction, a fine, and they will continue to operate. Puppy mills are legal in almost half of the United States, and the other states have lax operation laws.
The victims, the dogs, will never wake up, because this is their real life.
Raise Awareness & Support the Cause:
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Further Information On This Topic:
American Veterinary Association. https://www.avma.org/
“Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders.” FD McMillan, JA Serpell, DL Duffy, E Masaoud, IR Dohoo. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association2013; 242: 1359-1363.
“Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments.” FD McMillan, DL Duffy, JA Serpell. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2011; 135: 86-94.
Outbreak of Multidrug-resistant Campylobacter Infections Linked to Contact with Pet Store Puppies. (December 17, 2019). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Obtained from https://www.cdc.gov/campylobacter/outbreaks/puppies-12-19/index.html
Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures (January 2014). The Humane Society. Obtained from http://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/puppy-mills-facts-figures.pdf
Stop Online Puppy Mills. https://www.stoponlinepuppymills.org/
The Puppy Mill Project website. www.thepuppymillproject.org
An excellent video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roWnRNN-1BI&feature=youtu.be
See what laws exist in your state about puppy mills: https://protectedpaws.org/legislation/puppy-mill-laws-by-state
More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:
J. A. Yates is an award-winning author and criminologist who has appeared as a guest speaker, lecturer, and instructor for organizations across the United States for almost 30 years, to include Dallas Area Paralegal Association, PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, Tennessee Correction Association, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and many more.
Her resume lists loss prevention, the Sheriff’s Department, the federal prison system (minimum to maximum, male & female), investigations, and criminal justice professor/instructor. She is the only journalist who is continually investigating the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders, Nashville’s most baffling missing child case.
Not only is she an author, but she is also an investigator who carefully researches each book. A percentage of each book benefits nonprofit organizations and is made in the victim’s name.
Ms. Yates is Texas-born, Irish/Native American/Kentucky – bred; a left-handed Taurus. She volunteers in animal rescue and locating missing/murdered. Hobbies include horseback riding, perusing flea markets, and video gaming. She is addicted to bottled Coca-colas. She has a phobia of clowns, dental offices, and alligators (not in that particular order)
Check her out here: www.judithayates.com
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