School Program Implementation

There are three key elements a program on puppy mills needs to have:

  1. Informational Presentation
  2. Interactive activities
  3. Q&A session

I actually implemented a program like this in schools in Sonoma County when I was in high school in 2009. I’ve seen the kids interested in the topic and how shocked they were about the practices of puppy mills. After giving one presentation at a school, my partner and I came back the next day to give one to another class and word had already spread over the entire K-8 school. There were whispers about who we are, kids came up to us asking us questions and one little girl even said she told her mom about what puppy mills were and they were now going to get their dog from a shelter. Because of how effective a program like this can be I think it would be very beneficial to eventually implement it in all schools.


Current National Campaign Against Animal Cruelty

Most notable to our community is the SPCA commercial against animal cruelty that uses spokesperson Sara McLachlan.

Getting celebrities on board with this cause would make a huge impact on spreading awareness and educating young people on this issue. Many young adults, teens and tweens idolize celebrities and try to follow trends and things they do. The purchase of designer dogs is one of those trends. If celebrities liek Sara McLachlan speak out against puppy mills and animal abuse and steer younger generations towards shelter it would help eliminate the problem.

It is not enough to spread awareness by throwing around the word “puppy mill”. It isn’t a term that many people know. This is why it is important to implement educational aspects like this commercial so that people understand what they are fighting against.

Action in Orange County

Strides have been made in Orange County in the fight against puppy mills. More recently there has been talk of banning commercial breeders from selling in Laguna Beach. This has already been done in neighboring cities including Dana Point, Irvine and Huntington Beach.

It is important to note that although steps are being made to prevent puppy mill puppies from being sold in Orange County, if people don’t know why their not being sold, they could just look in other cities, counties or even states to get their dogs.

Fighting for enforcement of regulation on commercial breeders or even preventing commercial breeders in your county to begin with are two ways for you to speak out against the injustice of puppy mills.

Story of a Shelter Dog

It started out simple enough. I wanted to help animals in need; animals waiting for adoption at the local shelter. Short on time but wanting to do something, I decided to donate some pet food to my local shelter. I have to be honest… I was a little intimidated by the thought. I have, of course, worked with shelters and rescue animals over the years, and quite frankly, it can be depressing. Too many animals. Too few homes.

I wasn’t sure if I could resist all of those faces in need of a home. We already have many pets and a very busy home life, so I wasn’t exactly looking for another pet to add to the bunch.

Thinking ahead, I decided that my husband would be a good person for this effort. He would donate the food, go about his other errands, and a good deed would be accomplished. I would continue to work on getting more involved. Start with food.

He dropped the food off. No problem. Mission accomplished. Or was it?

Yes, he donated the food. Then he proceeded to tell me about a very sweet dog; tail wagging, calm, looking up so earnestly at him… she was elderly and wouldn’t stand a chance of being adopted.

That was all I needed to hear. We went to the shelter. I was pleasantly surprised by the shelter. Yes, it was still full of pets that needed homes. However, it was very clean, well lit, and the staff seemed genuinely concerned about the animal’s welfare and eventual adoptions. The facility had a large fenced area with grass, trees and a picnic table so that families can meet prospective pets in a more natural environment.

We adopted “Sophie” that day. She was not elderly. She had just lost her last canine baby tooth! But by then we were attached. She was a stray found running the streets, not spayed, and about six months old. Very sweet. Excellent with our small kids. She had that “I’m so grateful” look that rippled all through her body.

The shelter provided so much in return for the small adoption fee: first vaccinations, microchip ID, spay surgery, and various pet food samples and coupons. All that they ask in return is that the animal be returned if the adoption doesn’t work out for any reason. I know that they won’t have to worry in this case!


Benefits and Misconception About Shelter Dogs

Misconception: All shelter dogs are mutts.

Reality: 20 percent of shelter dogs are PURE BREED.

David Meyer the executive director of says it best:

“There’s a misconception that animals at shelters have something wrong with them. They’re often great pets but may by homeless because their owners died, moved or are serving in the military. Unlike, say, a pet store puppy, a rescue dog usually has all the necessary shots and is house trained and neutered.”

Some people think that by purchasing their puppy from a puppy  mill they are saving it from the deplorable conditions but in the end that just helps the entire operation stay in business. When puppy mills are shut down all of the puppies and dogs are sent to shelters and can be purchased for a substantially smaller price.

Shelter dogs come with many benefits; they are healthy, in good condition, trained, neutered and some times even micro chipped. Most of all they need YOU. Your love, attention and to be your constant companion for life.


Story of a Puppy Mill Puppy

When you purchase a puppy that came from a puppy mill they are more likely to have infections, diseases and parasites from their lack of veterinary care. Most of the time the symptoms don’t show up until after you take them home and fall in love. Here is the story of Harley from her owner Jamie Strange:

In memory of Harley

My husband and I bought a sweet, adorable, eight-week-old Maltese/Chihuahua puppy at a local pet store in Utah. The employee did inform us the puppy had a cold and was on medicine, but as animal lovers, we were willing to take her home and take care of her—a cold goes away.

The puppy, Harley, was very thin and wouldn’t eat or drink. We fed her through a syringe for two days and pampered and loved her. By the third day, she was eating and drinking and playing—we were so delighted! But on the fourth day she went downhill and was whimpering and was so hot to the touch. I checked her temperature and it was 103.6. My husband rushed her to the vet and they tested her for parvovirus and it was positive. We were so devastated. We were quoted thousands of dollars for the hospital bill, but a low chance of survival. Harley weighed only one pound.

My mother called the pet store—the owner didn’t believe the parvo diagnosis and asked that we take Harley to his vet…so we rushed to his vet, who confirmed it. The owner of the pet store agreed to pay for only one night of fluids. We came and picked her up on Saturday and she was so sad and in pain. Within a few hours she passed away.

We are so heartbroken and angry. This little sweet puppy did not deserve this pain. We have tried to contact the store owner, but he will not return our calls. He was well aware of the parvo and yet continued to sell all the other puppies. How can he do that? I will never ever again buy from a pet store—this was our first and our last time.

Pet Stores, Where the Puppies Really Come From

In recent years many pet stores have stopped selling puppies. The reason for this is because animal rights groups have begun protesting against them.

“90 percent of puppies from pet stores come from puppy mils”

Stores sell puppies as though they are merchandise, or products. The system is the same as any other product in a store: puppies are raised with low-cost production methods, sold to a broker or “middle man,” and delivered to retail stores to be bought by the customer. The puppy’s breeder sometimes makes as little as $75 per puppy, while the  customer often pays well over $1,000 in a retail pet store.

Southern California is seen as the “capitol for puppy mills.” Designer dogs have become very popular among young people especially since their favorite celebrities are purchasing them.

This video brings to light the involvement of puppy mills at one pet store in Beverly Hills that gets the puppies from puppy mills. It has since been shut down.