Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What is the REAL cost of that Christmas puppy in the window?

Photo credit: Frank Schemberger

The week before Christmas is the busiest time of year for pet stores that sell puppies. They look so cute and many people make an impulsive purchase without thinking of the consequences of their actions.
I would like to feature some of these Wisconsin puppies over the next few days. These are Christmas pet store puppies that are taken from their mothers far too young. They are bred in puppy mills throughout the Midwest and often destined to end up in animal shelters when the unsuspecting owner is overcome with the medical bills or behavioral problems that are associated with these puppies. Pet store puppies that end up in shelters cost us ALL money. Many animal shelters are partially funded by taxpayer dollars. Even if they aren't, our donations that could have been used for other animals are spent treating or rehabilitating pet store puppies.
Worse still, is the horrendous conditions that the parents endure, week after week, month after month, year after year; existing only to breed more puppies for the cruel pet store industry.
Here is Christmas Pet Store Puppy #1: 
This puppy was labelled a "Puggle" at the Petland Pewaukee store (this store is now out of business). This pup's expression gave me the feeling he would rather be back at the puppy mill it came from. At least there it had the companionship of his parents and siblings, although the conditions were worse. Again, no toys, blanket, no life for a pup. Some pups spend months in a pet store until the price drops enough to attract a buyer..... important formative days lost that will imprint the dog. Hopefully he is in a good home, although many impulsive buyers drop their "mistake" off at a shelter, while others will be making frequent visits to a veterinarian.  
"Rescuing" a pet store puppy by buying it is not the answer either. It just perpetuates the cycle of cruelty by increasing demand for the pups and encouraging the puppy millers to breed another litter.
Please think twice this Christmas. If you and your family are looking for a new dog (or cat) visit your local animal shelter. Adopt, don't shop!

Thank you to my friend and Wisconsin Voters For Companion Animals advisor, Frank Schemberger for providing the photos and the details of the Christmas pet store puppies. A series of these photos and writeups are circulating on Facebook and in local Wisconsin on-line publications. Frank has worked tirelessly over the last several years, photographing and exposing the cruel pet store trade in the Midwest.


  1. Thank you for taking the time to write this and spell out the difference of why saving a dog from a pet store just continues the cycle of breeding for profit. Unfortunatly the "impulsive purchase without thinking of the consequences of their actions" creates so many problems and is not worth a couple of happy kids on Christmas.

    I look forward to your other features. :)

  2. Nice to see that you’re reversing your long-held position and are now recognizing that the puppy mill industry is an extremely serious issue in the animal welfare world. I hope this focus continues.

    1. Huh? I don't understand your comment Rescue Mom. First of all, if you look at this blog, I pulled it from the archives. I wrote it last December. And secondly, I have always spoke out against puppy mills and worked hard on a citizen's committee to get Act 90 passed in Wisconsin in 2009. You may be confused with my opinion that good, reputable dog breeders are part of the solution - not part of the problem as so many "humaniacs" seem to think.