Stop Puppy Mills!

Kathryn Greenlea & Lauren Bednaroski, Guest Contributors

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Animals are not always seen as equals to humans but deserve the same treatment we enjoy. All around the country, animals are taken for granted, unwillingly forced to breed in puppy mills and even killed in shelters. Because of this cruel treatment, we have taken it upon ourselves to volunteer at an animal shelter in Huntley and interview their staff to help educate ourselves on the issue of puppy mills and the effects inbreeding has on animals. We started our project by bundling up in the cold months of early winter and heading over to a small building hidden within the trees. This small plot of land was called The Animal House Shelter, and it was home to a wonderful organization that took in and saved unwanted mistreated pets.

At their facility, they would nurture the animals back to health, so they could find a home. Arriving at the shelter for the first time, we started our hour and half of work by walking a large brown dog by the name of Collin in a fenced off area behind the building. After this, we shed our heavy jackets and retreated inside to play with some kittens for the remainder of our time. During our first time volunteering, we questioned a long time volunteer, Connie Johnson, who had been helping out almost 10 years. Although our talk with this women was short, we felt more educated about the topic at hand and even a little inspired by her heartfelt words towards the animals of the shelter.

Pets lives are among the most fragile in the world; however, some are treated with hate as if they are just used to make money. Due to the fact that these places aren’t openly documented for the public eye, it can be said that not all of these puppy mills are among the most horrible places for any animals to live. Even with this, it can be hard to figure out which are well kept and which have disgusting living conditions.

When questioning Connie about this, she paused for a bit and admitted that she didn’t know a whole lot about puppy mills; however, “When animals get rescued from places like that, they have poor health….and require a significant amount of visits to the vet.” The cruel ways animals are treated will never fail to surprise us because of the horrible condition the animals wind up in before getting rescued. Furthermore, because of this quote from Connie, we feel as though we better understand the ways animals are treated poorly in puppy mills.

Puppy mills are not something to mock. They are an evil source of inbreeding and imprisonment for innocent animals to help produce the “perfect” purebred. Pure Breeding, for those that don’t know, is when a dog is forced to mate to produce a desired look or make offspring that are 100% of a certain breed. This can quickly cross over into inbreeding when related purebred dogs produce more purebred offspring.

This can lead to dogs having several health problems and it “can definitely affect the animal’s quality of life overall…being that it could end up being unsociable with humans and other animals or it can inherit a horrible immune system,”  said Connie. “When animals first come to the shelter, they are scared and sick and in very bad condition,” Connie stated again sadly. However, she reassured us by mentioning that the volunteers work hard to bring the animals back to perfect health. By using the money given to them from pet adoptions, the shelter pays for surgeries and multiple procedures to get all of their animals back in shape, increasing the likelihood of the animals finding the perfect home.

We left the shelter feeling humble and confident that the little impact that we made wouldn’t go unnoticed. Being able to speak with the volunteers at the shelter helped us understand the struggles that they encounter daily, trying to keep these poor animals happy and healthy. Every donation and adoption can go a long way to help animals that are in need. Making it a conscious effort in our daily lives to think of and donate to these organizations can really make a difference even by just by deciding to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter instead of a breeder or a pet store. You can change an animal’s life forever and make a huge impact. As humans, we have a duty to respect the animals that we share the earth with, so why not start by using an hour of your time to volunteer at a local shelter?

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