Let me Take the Gloves off: Just be Responsible!

Kate Whitney
The Valley Patriot’s Puppy Girl Kate Whitney with 3 month old Nina and Nikki. They are lab/shepherd mixes.



By: Kate Whitney – August, 2012

I consider myself an even tempered, even light-hearted person. Only a few things have the ability to make me really mad. If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about a few of those things in today’s article. Please keep in mind that I do not mean to attack or judge anyone, I simply am trying to educate people so they can make informed decisions, as well as offer a little of my opinion. Please note that some parts having to do with puppy mills and pet stores contain some graphic descriptions, but necessary in order to drive home the root of my frustration. Now with that said…

Topping the list of things that make my blood boil, are people who buy their pets from breeders, stores, or online, and claim they “adopted.” The key word here is buying. Let’s get something straight – If you get your dog from a breeder, pet store, online (not from a rescue site), or from a friend whose dog had puppies, you are NOT rescuing/adopting the dog. In order to be one of the special ones who can say you truly “rescued” or “adopted” a dog, it must come from a shelter/rescue, or you find it as a stray. Let’s break this down…

Recently, as I perused the listings on Craigslist (sometimes I cave and have to look in the ‘pets’ section) I could feel my blood pressure rising and my heart thumping. Normally, I don’t even look because I can’t handle all the irresponsible pet owners trying to get rid of their poor dogs. I saw one guy trying to re-home his 8 year old dog because he was moving to NY and couldn’t afford to take it with him…way to be considerate! Then I see the people whose dogs have had a litter and they post saying “8 week old pit bulls, 2 female 2 male, ready to go…there is an adoption fee.” REALLY? Adoption fee?

First of all, this listing is against Craigslist regulations because the sale of animals on C-list is prohibited. And secondly, “adoption fee”??

Not quite, this is a clear violation of the word adoption. If you are looking for people to buy one of the puppies that your dog unfortunately had, you do not get the right to call it an adoption.

Here’s a more accurate posting title: “I’m misinformed and irresponsible, didn’t get my dog spayed/neutered, now it’s having puppies and thanks to my actions (or lack thereof), numerous shelter dogs will die. Oh and if I can’t find people to buy these puppies, they too will end up at the shelter, on death row, and probably dead in a landfill.” Adding on to that pet peeves when people act like they are the one getting “fixed” instead of their dogs. Spaying is what you do to a female dog or cat and neutering is what you do to a male dog or cat. Guys, you are not manlier if your dog is not neutered. If your dog is neutered it says you are smart, care about the wellbeing of your dog, and care about helping to reduce the number of animals killed every day in shelters.

On to the dreaded pet stores that hopefully will make you just as mad as they make me. I get it, seeing dogs in the windows is cute, but there is so much that you can’t see behind those windows that is filled with cover-ups, torture, and lies. There’s a Pet Express in my local mall,I can’t even bring myself to walk on the same side of the corridor by that place. 99% of the dogs sold at these places are born in puppy mills, strictly for profit. You are not rescuing a dog if you buy it from the pet store. If you know about the horrors of puppy mills (and if you don’t you should Google it and watch some undercover videos) and you think that you are “rescuing” the dog by getting it out of the pet store, please understand you are actually doing more harm than good. Not only are you giving this awful industry money, you are promoting what they do. Once you take that cute (often times sick) puppy out of the store, the manager/owner is on the phone to the mill to get a replacement. Also, according to a California study, nearly 100% of puppies in pet stores have parasites when they are purchased and 48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an ill- ness at the time of purchase. It’s a vicious cycle. And to anyone who is reading this that went the pet store route, I hope you are now more informed and will adopt your next dog. 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills each year and are shipped nationwide to the 35,000 pet stores we have here in America. Can you imagine if puppy mills were banned and people had to adopt? Talk about depletion of stock in the shelters and pounds…that’s exactly what we want! And that’s the reason for the anger.

There was a great documentary made called “Madonna of the Mills” that goes inside the horrific puppy mills and gives us a look into this dark world. America really does have a nasty secret… how can we let dogs live and breed in these conditions and then ship the babies off to be sold?  How is this still legal?  This is animal abuse at its finest and nothing is being done about it. There are some “regulations” but as with a lot of things, it’s all about money and politics. The cute puppies in the pet store window left be- hind a sad momma dog that’s yearning for her babies. The “breeding dogs”, as they are called, are confined to tiny, unsanitary cages, never walked, petted, or loved, for their entire lives. Their sole purpose on this earth is to pump out puppies and after being bred 2x a year, they usually burn out by age 5. When this ‘burn out’ hap- pens, they are put to death –stoned, shot, drowned, or starved. In some cases, they are rescued by nearby humane societies… a.k.a people with hearts and a conscience. As mentioned, this is a vivid and gruesome picture, but it is the truth the needs to be known and discussed if we want to bring about change.

Facts show that 4 million homeless dogs and cats are killed every year in shelters. Many of you might already know that, or maybe you just knew that it was an epidemic, but do you know how they are killed? It’s time for another wakeup call explained through graphic explanation. A common misconception is that they are held in the loving arms of a nice vet technician (like the one you know at your local vet’s office) and sung a lullaby while they get a painless needle and slowly and peacefully drift off to doggie heaven. Unfortunately, wrong. Yes, some shelters euthanize by injection, but others are still using the barbaric practice of gas chambers. They kill these helpless dogs and puppies by putting them into a big box and pumping carbon monoxide into it. It is inhumane, and these dogs deserve better. They have no ability to stand up for themselves, so we need to stand up for them. I read a story about a little beagle named Daniel, who survived his meeting with the gas chamber. It was euthanasia day at a shelter in Alabama and his time was up. After the gas was pumped in, the animal control officer who was in charge of operating the gas chamber, opened the door and saw Daniel, his tail wagging. Only a dog would be wagging his tail, happily greeting the human who just tried to kill him. Daniel was surrounded by 18 dead dogs who hadn’t survived this torture chamber. Rarely has a dog ever survived the gas chamber. The animal control officer couldn’t comprehend trying to kill this dog for a second time, so he took him out of the gas chamber and put him up for adoption. Daniel is living life and is very happy for truly a second chance at life! If you need to see proof that this is what is really going on today at these shelters, just Google ‘dog shelter gas chambers’.

It is time for people to understand the consequences of their actions. And if they are still unwilling to change, it is time for us as a community to force change. Until people start getting their dogs spayed or neutered, stop breeding, stop buying from pet stores and adopt, and until the puppy mills are shut down, so many of man’s best friend will continue to inhumanely die in vain.