Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Puppy Mill Mothers Not Forgotten in Flint

"Flint area dog advocates share a moment of silence at the Genesee Valley Center"

On the eve of Mother’s Day local dog advocates came together in a moment of silence for the 130,000+ breeding mothers caged in Midwest puppy-factories. A vigil, hosted by Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, was held at The Family Puppy pet store in Flint.

Among the participants were former breeding mothers. Storm, a fluffy Pomeranian, was rescued after being put on an auction block for puppy millers to bid on. “She was a poor breeder and no longer useful” said Julieann Lotridge of Lapeer. Storm, like many commercially bred dogs, has two grade 5 luxating patellas, a serious genetic flaw.

“Because of Storm and my other puppy mill survivors in my life I have made it a mission to fight for the end of commercial-factory breeding of animals for sale.” said Lotridge.

Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities that raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions. They operate with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare. Breeding mothers are often destroyed or discarded after their fertility wanes. Why is this legal? There is minimal supervision of puppy mills by the United States Department of Agriculture, whose investigators look for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Commercial breeders are supposed to be licensed and meet minimal standards of care. However, if a breeder operates without a license or fails to meet minimum standards, it is often not until he is reported that he gets inspected or cited. Penalties are substantially less than what would be required to encourage improvements.

“The best way to stop puppy mills is to refuse to buy from them and their distributors – the pet stores. If we take away their profits, they have no reason to continue.” said Pam Sordyl, the group’s founder.

“We are encouraging The Family Puppy and other puppy-pet stores to stop supporting the cruel puppy mill industry through puppy sales, and instead create an adoption program similar to other large pet supply retailers like PETCO and PetSmart” said Sordyl

Last fall Puppy Mill Awareness revealed the results of a five-month investigation of The Family Puppy chain store. The investigation revealed that The Family Puppy is Michigan’s retailer purchasing dogs from puppy mills. This spring, a boycott including weekly rallies and a petition were launched keeping the spotlight on the highest volume retailer.

View Vigil Photos