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Oswego Trustees Hear Presentation on Puppy Mills

The Puppy Mill Project is spreading the word about the dangers of pet stores and selling puppy mill pets.

If you own a dog, where did it come from? A breeder? Shelter? Or a pet store? 

If you answered yes to the latter, then you’re most likely supporting puppy mills, according to Jill Edelman, co-chair for the Puppy Mill Project.

What is the Village of Oswego going to do about it? That was the question at the Oswego Village Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday.

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Presenters from the Puppy Mill Project are urging the village to pass an ordinance banning the resale of non-licensed and Unites States Department of Agriculture commercially bred puppies and kittens.

The Puppy Mill Project’s goal is to raise awareness about puppy mills and ultimately work with pet stores that already sell commercially bred puppies and have them adopt a humane business model.

“We have been very successful in this area,” said Edelman.

Edelman showed a Powerpoint presentation to village trustees of pictures of puppies in puppy mills crammed into small cages and described how they are forced to live outside no matter the weather. 

“The USDA requires that they have water, it doesn’t have to be clean water. They’re required to have food, but it doesn’t have to be nutritional. It could be sawdust mixed with animal fat,” said Edelman.

All of this, she said, is legal.

Further, most people don’t know that they are purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill when they go to a pet store, said Edelman.  

“They think they are getting puppies from respectable breeders. A respectable breeder would never sell to a pet store," she said.

Village President Brian LeClercq called the information was “a little disturbing” and asked, on a federal level, what exactly was being done to curb puppy mills.

Right now, Edelman said they first have to change the classification of puppies from livestock.

“There’s a lot of money being made on many levels. It’s a multi-billion dollar business we’re up against," she said.

The village recently approved a building permit for a pet store, Love Our Dogs, which would sell puppies.

Community Development Director Rod Zenner said that since they were issued their permit under the current ordinance that does not ban the retail sale of puppies or kittens they would be grandfathered in.

Local pet business owners also turned out to support the ordinance. Judy Haft from Central Bark in Oswego said many pet stories refuse to take a dog back after it's been purchased if there is a problem. However, 100 percent of the breeders she's known had accepted returned animals, she said.

“It’s a consumer issue. We need to ensure that the pet store will take the dog back and not put it in animal control on taxpayer dollars,” said Haft . “If that happens these stores will see the affect they have on the community.”

Edelman said the change to the ordinance was not meant to affect local, reputable breeders, but rather stop the sale of puppy mill puppies.

“Oswego has the chance to do the right thing," she said. 

When or if the village board will consider an ordinance banning the resale of non-licensed and Unites States Department of Agriculture commercially bred puppies and kittens is unclear.

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Cattlehauler October 07, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Oh the Village Board will soon be showing their True Colors on this issue. You have a couple of retailers that need the income Selling Pets and by the way, do in most of the communities that they are open for business. On the the otherside you have a Village Board that through it's recent votes have determined that; Bingo, Amusement Games, Raffles, etc. SHOULD NOT be allowed in establishments due to the fact that they might corrupt the moral ethics of the community. Of course they may have already signed off on these businesses, that need to sell animals, to make it worth their while? Seems to me that these Board Members have kind of backed themselves in a corner......
Jill Weglarz October 07, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I hope Oswego makes the right choice here. Why would you need a pet store selling animals when there are 100's of wonderful animals at your local shelters. I have a senior female pug that was from a puppy mill and we adopted her. They bred her and bred her till she could not have anymore puppies b/c she developed tumors. So, because she could not make them money they threw her away like trash. She was rescued in horrible conditions and we took her in and now she is shown love that she never experienced before. Why in earth would you support this? If you went to a puppy mill you would NOT buy a dog from here, because you would see the horrible treatment of the animals there. People don't realize the puppies in the store are so cute and look so healthy, but its the parents that are left behind for the cruelty. We can make a difference here. Please do the right thing.
Mary Brown October 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
"The village recently approved a building permit for a pet store, Love Our Dogs, which would sell puppies." I hope this business is reading how Oswego citizens will NOT support their business. I only wish the best for our small business owners, and as such I think Love Our Dogs would be best to not invest the money to start a business here. p.s. I love my rescue dogs!
Karen October 07, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Top Quality Breeder - I am a local responsible breeder and I too believe we need to stop the production of these puppy mills. I got into breeding because of the puppy mills out there. I too purchased my first pet from a puppy mill but did not know it at the time until the puppy got very sick. This is why we decided to breed. To be able to put out on the market beautiful, happy healthy pups with great temperaments. We went to our vet and he help to educate us to be a responsible breeder. I have hundreds of very, very happy customers. A lot of them are repeat buyers. If for some reason the customer is unable to keep the puppy or dog because of their circumstances they have to return the puppy or dog to me no matter what the age is. I do this because I do not want my puppies or dogs in kill shelters. I always am able to find another home for them. I have never once had a puppy come back to me because of health issues. So all breeders are not bad. My breeding dogs are taken in every year for their yearly exams and vaccinations and also I get their teeth cleaned. They eat nutritional meals every day plus they get dog treats. They do sleep in crates at night but do get to have free time in our home during the day. So please do not mark all breeders as puppy mills
Carol Anaski-Figurski October 07, 2012 at 07:53 PM
wow there's so many opinions out there isn't there. I am in my late 40's and have been a dog owner all my life or/ and considered them family. I have always purchased from a pet store and have had my dogs registered AKC, etc registered and chipped once it became avaiiable. I have seen think the pet store have reputable breeds. I would have no problem purchasing from private organizations. I think the puppy mills are rare and few these days and have never purchased from a shelter
patricia hish October 07, 2012 at 08:51 PM
@ Carol, with all due respect puppy mills are far from rare and few these days is terribly wrong and you're so misinformed. Having donated my time to the rescue industry for over 20 years this industry is alive and well. While you may have had one of the few non-issue purchases, you are an exception. The village is looking for major lawsuits by allowing this store to open. These stores open up and the customer gets burned, then sues the village once the store closes it's doors. It happens all the time. In-case you're not aware these animals are living breathing creatures and are living and breeding in the most horrendous conditions imaginable. Due to the heat of this past summer there was a raid in Missouri where dogs were "FRYING" inside their cages. Have you ever seen or smelled a dog slowing burning? It's beyond what anyone can imagine or stomach. There are reputable breeders out there, but they never sell to pet stores and I'm sure Karen could shed light on that one. FYI: AKC doesn't guarantee a well dog. Puppy Mills have AKC registration and frankly it means diddly squat.
Dee Santucci October 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
There are currently more than 3000 USDA licensed puppy mills in the US today. Puppy mills are legal and fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA which classifies the dogs as livestock so they are not protected under our Companion Animal Laws like our pets are. APHIS is responsible for inspecting the mills to make sure they adhere to the minimal standards. An example of a standard is that the cage that the dog will spend their life in is 6" bigger than the dog not counting the tail. In May of 2010, the USDA wrote a scathing review on the inadequate job that APHIS does maintaining these minimum standards. The report is 69 pages long but it only takes a minute to scroll down and see the horrendous conditions that these animals endure. (See link Below) There are another 4000 unlicensed puppy mills that don't even get inspected. Over 3000 puppies are produced each year from these hell holes and sold to pet stores, on the internet, or in newspaper ads. We euthanize between 4 to 5 million homeless pets a year in this country alone, almost 11,000 a day. The AKC knowingly gives papers to puppy mill dogs although papers are easily forged at the mills daily. Most of the AKC's revenue comes from the puppies at the mills. They say right on their website that papers DO NOT ensure health or breeding standards, only that the parents had AKC papers. Kennel clubs for responsible breeders state they will not sell to pet stores, internet. http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf
Dee Santucci October 07, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Pets require a commitment for their lifetime. They should not be an impulse purchase but a well thought out decision. Please discuss with your Veterinarian before deciding on the best place to get your pet. There is an excellent website but together by Veterinarian Professionals that can help you make a good decision. Set a good example for your children. After all they are learning how to make good decisions from you and they will be deciding where you end up one day. If they learn that instant gratification is more important than responsible, caring decisions, there is a price to pay. For them and you. http://pupquest.org
Donna Louise October 07, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Some facts about BREEDERS. There are USDA licensed breeders (puppy mills) that sell to retail Pet stores. Unlicensed breeders (also puppy mills) are not supposed to sell retail but can sell over the internet which is like the wild west, no guarantees, no returns or recourse and sometimes, you don't even receive the puppy! Then there are Private Breeders who have a few dogs that are bred in their homes as pets. You can go to their home and see how the dogs live and meet the Mother. You can see health records going back years. I have always adopted my pets using www.petfinder.com or I search for a local rescue, but if you're going to BUY your pet, you're much better off finding a Private Breeder through your local Kennel Club for that breed. You'll get a healthier dog, AND you won't be supporting puppy mill cruelty. I'm all for small business but free enterprise doesn't mean NO ETHICS. It doesn't mean it's OK to lie to the consumer about the source or quality of what you're selling. That is Consumer Fraud. Pet Stores sell Cruelty and Consumer Fraud. Are you still buying? Read what a Responsible Breeder has to say on the subject. http://www.thedogpress.com/Editorials/10013-Dog-Breeders-Defined_Andrews.asp
Karen October 07, 2012 at 10:02 PM
@Patricia, You're correct Patricia. I as a private breeder would never sell to a pet store. For one thing a pet store will sell to whomever can afford the pet. I for one want to make sure that I meet each and everyone that purchases my puppies. I want to make sure that they are responsible enough and are capable enough to care for my puppies. This is one of the reasons I will never ship a puppy on a plain. I want to meet the families that purchase my puppies and I want them to see the home they are raised in. Another reason I do not ship is because they are kept in the cargo area of the plain that can be very traumatic to the puppy. Also the cargo area of the plain is not temperature regulated. So in the summer it is extremely hot and in the winter it is extremely cold. AKC is the number one kennel club.
Karen October 07, 2012 at 10:03 PM
(continued from above) AKC is doing more and more home inspections with private breeders. If your pets, home and paperwork are not up to their standards you can loose your AKC rights. This is why more breeders are steering away from AKC and going with other kennel clubs that do not do home inspections. They don't want AKC to see the living conditions they are breeding their pets in. Puppy mills do give us responsible private breeders a bad name. But if you're a responsible breeder and you care for your pets, the buyers will see it by the love you give your pets and the home they are raised in. It breaks my heart to see and read about how these puppy mills living conditions are for the pets they breed. It is inhumane and they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. These pets are living creatures that the good Lord allowed us to have as companions. Even though a pet cannot speak they do have feelings and can show emotions. I'm all for cracking down on these puppy mills. We need to put them out of business because they are only in it for the dollar not for to put out on the market happy healthy pets. Most of the pet stores purchase their puppies from out of state where the bulk of the puppy mills are located at.
Dee Santucci October 07, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The Puppy Mill Project is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago. Our mission is to make people aware of puppy mills and their connection to pet stores, Internet sites, and newspaper ads that misrepresent where they get their pets, and also the quality of the breeding. Our concern is for animal welfare, and also for the consumer, who can become an unsuspecting victim of fraud, emotional duress, and high Veterinarian bills. We've read that more than 70% of people surveyed do not know what a puppy mill is. We'd like to change that. We do age appropriate educational presentations to groups from age 6 up through adults at no cost. If you, or anyone you know, would like to schedule a presentation or receive more information, please contact us through the link below. There is also information on puppy mills and help on how to find the right pet for you. When we know better, we do better. http://www.thepuppymillproject.org/contact-the-puppy-mill-project/ http://www.thepuppymillproject.org/help-me-find-a-pet/
Donna Louise October 07, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I found this "fact sheet" on APHIS, the organization under the USDA that is responsible for making sure that USDA licensed breeders are humane, but after checking out the link you posted, we now know that they are definitely not getting the job done. How can anyone see how these poor dogs are abused and still buy online or from a pet store????????? If you have to buy from a breeder, take the time to find one that keeps a limited number of pets in their home and provides proper care. It may take more effort than running to the pet store, but isn't it worth it to put an end to this cruelty and consumer fraud? http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/content/printable_version/faq_animal_dealers.pdf
mike ellison October 08, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Our last two dogs were from rescue shelters. However, there's big money involved with these shelter organizations too. Most are affiliated with local vet clinics where they 'show' the rescued dogs and handle the transactions. The fees for buying a rescue dog start at around $300 plus all of the initial vet fees. The vet clinic where the animal is first 'shown' usually picks up a new customer. That makes for a nice cozy relationship between the rescue organizations and the vet clinics. I found it ironic that the lady we bought our dog from got it from a rescue center in TN and was basically then re-selling their stock of animals. Try giving them away at no charge then I'll trust that it's out of the goodness of her heart. But these rescue organizations are simply 'selling' the dogs from the puppy mills- most having been obtained at a very low cost, or free. I agree that puppy mills need to be banned but don't take it out on the local pet stores. I'd be interested in finding out where the rescue shelters are that give dogs away. Or do they just all sell the same dogs that the puppy mills do?
Pat Gavros October 08, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Mike, I'm confused about how you bought your last two dogs. We went online to the Aurora Animal Shelter and saw some pictures of dogs. We called to see if the dog we were interested in was still available. We then went to see her. We then went back a second time and adopted her. I think it was around $60.00. The dogs there are either found wandering around with no way to identify them, or they've been brought in because people are unable to keep them for various reasons. I know there are other types of rescue places, but this is how we got Lola.
Donna Louise October 08, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Spoken as only someone who has NEVER worked, volunteered or has any idea how shelters do what they do, could. Shelters get no public funding, yet have to Vet, feed, house, transport, groom, have assessments done,and provide for the needs of these discarded animals until they find a home. None of which is cheap and certainly not free. They are non-profit and all the funds they get go back into rescuing the next animal. There is NOTHING low cost about animal rescue UNLIKE the puppy mills who don't Vet them, don't walk them, don't groom them, no toys, no beds etc. Please educate yourself sir. Read before you write and for God's sake, the next time you see a shelter volunteer, thank them! Finally, if you agree that puppy mills are inhumane, please understand that the best way to get rid of them is to reduce the demand which is through the Pet Stores. They pay about $100 and charge the consumer over a Thousand and lie about where they get the puppies. They are not the good guys here. Supply and Demand is our best option right now. Why, because it takes an act of God to get Congress to pass anything! How are we supposed to get the remote mills on private property shut down????
Jeff Nicholson October 08, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Mike, I believe you are missing a few facts about how rescues/shelters work and the expenses involved. Some dogs come in injured and they incur high Vet costs. The amount that they charge is much less than a pet store and it includes shots, spay neuter, etc. Also, reputable shelters/rescues will always take the animal back just like responsible private breeders. Pet stores do not make a practice of taking the dogs back. http://voices.yahoo.com/the-true-cost-adopting-shelter-dog-4266991.html
Nancy Barry October 08, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I have been fostering dogs for the last five years. The only "payment" I get is the feeling that I helped save a life. My yard has holes and my carpet is trashed but the "reward" of seeing a dog go to a loving home is the best.
Brandy G. October 08, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Carol I know for a fact puppy mills are not rare, that the majority of the pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills and brokers and for the record you do not purchase a dog from a shelter just like you do not purchase a child.
Loreta J. October 08, 2012 at 02:13 PM
It's so much more rewarding knowing you have rescued a dog. I know that shelters count on donations and volunteers to keep on doing what they do. Volunteers clean the kennels. Volunteers transport the dogs to vet appointments, and from shelters that cannot take any more dogs to shelters that can house them. Donations are needed in the form or towels, cleaning supplies,etc. Much of the money they charge for adoption goes towards the spay or neutering fee. They hold fundraisers to raise money for medical care, housing, etc. It's a huge process and done solely from the heart and for the benefit of these animals. All not for profit. I cringe every time I see people in a pet store....
Brandy G. October 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM
As the founder of a local rescue I have to step in and clear up a few things that are incorrect here. First of please understand you are not "BUYING" or "PURCHASING" a dog when you go through a rescue or shelter. Just like when someone adopts a child is not making a purchase, you are adopting. We do work with several vets that offer us a discount on vetting and we may refer people to that vet as a courtesy to the vets for offering the discount but thats pretty much where that relationship ends. We rescue dogs from horrendous situations, puppy mills, death row, abused, abandoned and neglected. Most are in horrible condition when we get them, we provide ALL vet care, which includes but is not limited to spay/neuter, vaccinations, microchips, heartworm test, and fecal test. The cost of adoption barely covers those things with our vetting discount. On top of that we often get animals in that require further vetting, dentals, inoculation, patella surgeries, hospitalization for pneumonia or other illnesses, the list goes on. Many animals vetting costs greatly exceeds the adoption fees. It is very common for us to have animals that cost us $400 - $1000 if not more in vetting and that does not take into consideration the basic costs while the animal is in our care, food and supplies. We rely on foster homes to house our rescues until they are adopted, while some organizations have shelters which cost more with utilities and rent it all adds up.
Judi Haft October 08, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I have volunteered in rescues for about 10 years now and I've done everything from cleaning kennels to socializing dogs to counseling adopters and people wanting to give up their animals to doing bookkeeping and being on the board of directors of a local shelter. Let's look at the cycle of a dog purchased in a pet store. First, someone goes in thinking they'll "just look" at the cute little puppies. Then they get caught in how cute the puppy is and they purchase on impulse and because the salesperson implores that if they don't buy today, someone else will buy the puppy and they'll lose out. Many people purchasing at a pet store do so on impulse. Then when they realize they are not prepared for the amount of work or the cost of the pet, they try to take it back to the store, however the store will not take the pet back. This is where the rescues come in. Because they don't want a dog put to sleep, they take it in and give it proper vet care (spay/neuter, vaccinations and anything else it may need) and they feed it properly. This ALL COSTS MONEY. The original people that purchased the dog don't want that cost so they dump it on a shelter. Most rescues have a few paid personnel, but many, many, many more volunteers that assist with caring for these tossed aside pets. The cost incurred is passed on to adopters in the form of an adoption fee. However, these fees normally don't come anywhere near the cost of caring for these animals.
Brandy G. October 08, 2012 at 02:29 PM
(cont) as for the fees they are not the cost of purchase but rather a donation to the organization so that we can continue to save the lives of these animals that can not help themselves. We are not independently wealthy, we are already in debt for helping when the rescues do not have money in their accounts, if we were to just give away the animals our rescue efforts would come to a halt in no time. I wish it were that easy but it is not. I wish there was money to be made in rescue, Id be a very rich woman, but if it is done the way it should be it is not possible. We don't do it for the money and the glamour we do it for the animals, because we can not turn a blind eye to the suffering and neglect caused by our own people. I do not know what organization you are talking about, but if there is a group adopting out for $300 and doing no vetting then I would for sure stay clear. There are always bad apples in the bunch, and I have run across a few myself, but that is not the norm in the rescue community.
Judi Haft October 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I have adopted 4 dogs in my adult life from local shelters and I know positively that one is from a puppy mill purchased at a pet store that the original purchaser gave up. I saw the pet store contract and that gave a 3 day guarantee on health and didn't guarantee for luxating patella, which is hereditary. He had luxating patella - both knees and it cost over $5,000 to fix this. I also saw his "papers". The pet store tells people the dogs are "papered" and he is - but he's a MUTT - so papers don't mean anything. Don't let them fool you - designer breed is a fancy word for mutt. There's nothing wrong with mutts, but they shouldn't cost $1,400 as they do in some pet stores (plus spay/neuter, vaccinations,etc.). I saw that my puppy mill puppy originally cost his owners $850 back in 1999. Most people don't give all that paperwork when they give up a dog. I just got lucky. A good breeder would want to know about luxating patella and not breed that line again. A good breeder will be AKC registered. If you want a good breeder, check out http://www.akc.org/classified/search/landing_breed.cfm. If the breeder you're thinking about isn't listed, then keep looking. Good breeders want to participate in AKC and want to guarantee their puppies health and want to know where their puppies wind up and want to take them back if you no longer can handle the dog.
Mike Flu October 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
My wife and I made the mistake of buying one of our dogs at a very popular Puppy Store in Naperville. They claim that their puppies are NOT from Puppy Mills. Well, after a lot of research of tracing the name of the breeder it turns out they are from a puppy mill. (For the most part, any puppy from Iowa or Missouri is from a puppy mill). We have two dogs, one from a breeder and one from this store. The one from the puppy store has racked up over $8000 in vet bills for two surgeries, multiple procedures, special food, and now the early onset of a heart condition that will likely shorten his life dramatically. (Bad genetics). The breeder pup is healthy as can be. Sure, you pay a little more up front to go with a breeder but you save money long term in not having to fight a life of avoidable and heartbreaking health issues. Please Oswego, don't allow these animals to be sold in Oswego.
Dolores Santucci November 02, 2012 at 01:36 AM
CORRECTION: Over 3 MILLION puppies are produced annually through puppy mills. Not 3000. Typo. My bad.
Susan F November 17, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Does anyone know if the Love our Dogs buys from puppy mills?
Judi Haft November 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Yes, Love our Dogs buys from puppy mills. That is the only way they can get puppies to be sold in that type of environment. AKC registered breeders will not sell in pet stores. A good breeder wants to know where their puppies are going and won't put their puppies in the hands of a 3rd party to decide that.
Donna Louise December 02, 2012 at 02:08 AM
To clarify, the AKC does sell AKC papers to puppy mill dogs/puppies. AKC papers are not an indication of health or breeding quality. But only puppy mill puppies are sold in pet stores or online. It's true that AKC registered Breeders (small private breeders) would never sell to a pet store.
Jodi January 30, 2013 at 08:48 PM
How do you know that is the case with this family? They have stated they used to live in southern MO and are close friends with the breeders from there. Without actually viewing where they get their dogs from it's a pretty harsh accusation. They offer pedigree information on the parents and I am sure you can get the breeder information from them. I'm just wondering if there are any cold hard facts about this place to back up that they get their puppies from puppy mills. We are looking for a puppy in the near future and I recently came across their website so I am just curious, not accusing anyone here.

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