All of the controversy surrounding The Barking Boutique fiasco has inspired me to confess something. Most of you know that I love animals. You know that Pandora is my best friend, my joy, my life. You probably know that I am involved with various animal welfare organizations in the Grand Rapids area. However, you may not know that I bought Pandora from a pet store. I know… it stings.
The fact that I bought my best friend is not something that I am proud of. I have been so ashamed of Pandora’s history that I have lied, on more than one occassion, about where I got her. That being said, when I bought Pandora, I did not know that pet store puppies are generally a product of puppy mills. I love Pandora and I do not regret getting her, but I wish that the circumstances were different, and I wish that I would not have supported a puppy mill. Even if it was by accident.
People, including the owner, have said that only reputable breeders were used at The Barking Boutique. After the shop was shut down, The BISSELL Pet Foundation covertly bought six of remaining puppies, so that they could be taken to shelters and found homes, after medical clearance and the proper adoption process. According to BPF, “all six of these puppies were underweight and have health issues ranging from coccidia, to upper respiratory infections, to diarrhea and one case of luxating patellas”
Pandora suffered similar issues.
Pet store puppies are puppy mill puppies. That is the ugly truth. People don’t want to think about it, they don’t want to talk about it, but it is there. It is happening. When you buy a pet store puppy, whether you like it or not, you are monetarily supporting a puppy mill and thereby supporting the neglect and suffering of hundreds of innocent animals.
“2 million dogs are bred in mills each year. 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year in shelters.” – Humane Society of the United States
These are pictures from a puppy mill raid that BPF and Animal Rescue Corps did last year. This is a puppy mill. This is real life. This is what YOU are supporting by buying dogs from pet stores. This is what I supported when I forked over $500 for Pandora. This is what the owner of The Barking Boutique wanted to continue, all so he could turn a profit. I don’t understand how anyone can defend that.
Photos courtesy of Animal Rescue Corp Facebook page.
I get sick to my stomach when I look at those pictures, and think about the fact that Pandora’s parents and siblings could still be imprisoned-or dead. This is one of the reasons I have dedicated so much time volunteering for various animal welfare organizations. I want to help educate people, and prevent people from making the same uninformed decision that I did. I don’t think people are aware of the consequences of buying animals. I don’t think people know that 25% of animals in shelters are pure bred, that there are breed specific rescues, or that shelter dogs don’t automatically have behavioral problems. People don’t understand that if they were to adopt, they would save the lives of TWO animals; the one they adopt and the one that is able to take that empty space in the shelter.
Don’t perpetuate the cycle.
Adopt, don’t shop.