While most San Franciscans are no longer buying that puppy in the window, nearly one-third of them are still buying dogs from puppy mills, according to a recent San Francisco SPCA survey.
The SF SPCA conducted the survey of SF dog owners to see where they were finding their pets. The survey showed the number one place where people purchased dogs was on the web, and approximately 30 percent of puppies purchased came from puppy mills.
Half of those surveyed said they would not knowingly purchase from a puppy mill, while one in five admitted to not even knowing about puppy mills.
In order to raise more public awareness about the negative effects of puppy mills, the SF SPCA launched a education campaign this week. Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, veterinarian and SF SPCA co-president said:
“Puppy mill dogs are raised in deplorable conditions; they do not receive basic veterinary care, are undersocialized, and often lack access to adequate food and water. We want to change that. Many people buy puppies from these mills without even knowing it, perpetuating a cycle of misery that benefits only the mill owners and puppy wholesalers.”
On top of that, puppies purchased from puppy mills frequently suffer from severe illness and behavioral problems.
With an estimated four million puppies born in puppy mills each year in the US, it’s no wonder there are so many available for sale. It’s a business-school case of supply and demand. SF SPCA says that this cycle needs to stop:
“Not only does the sale of these animals contribute to the pet overpopulation tragedy, but puppy mill owners are also profiting while millions of animals are cruelly mistreated.”
To be fair, it can be somewhat difficult to spot a puppy mill. You log onto a seemingly harmless website covered in pictures of adorable puppies only to discover they are actually a puppy mill. According to Dr. Scarlett, “online puppy sales are almost always puppy mills – no matter how expensive the dog.”
SF SPCA is encouraging future dog-owners to not buy online and instead shop locally from your local shelter. We promise, they’re just as cute.