January 08, 2010

Puppy Mills

Sometime last year, I caught an episode of The Oprah Winfrey show which had me tearing up badly at the end of the show. They did a feature on puppy mills. If you're a dog-lover (in fact, as long as you have a heart, it would really bother you too), you'd be angry at the thought of puppy mills.

Puppy mills are what you would call puppy factories, where they "manufacture" puppies for pet stores and breeders to make a very quick and easy buck. Dogs are acquired (many a time dog-napped from homes) for one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to breed with other dogs. Female dogs are made to breed, give birth and nurse puppies almost every year of their lives (many of them do not live a long life, and are ridden with tumours on their nipples due to over-nursing). These dogs are kept in very small cages, often stacked on top of each other to save space, and most of them never had their paws touch the ground. There was a footage in the show where a dog, which was rescued from a puppy mill, could not even walk properly on the tiled floor. Simply because it had no idea how to.

You may not know this, but many pet stores acquire puppies from puppy mills. The pups may seem really adorable in the glass window, but many of them would suffer from psychological issues, and you wouldn't even know until you bring them home.

If you were to ask someone where the cheapest place to get a puppy, especially a pure-bred one, high chances are that they will tell you to buy from Thailand. Puppies from Thailand are notorious for being incredibly cheap. You can purchase a pure-bred Labrador at only 2000 baht, which is about RM200. Pet stores sell them at around RM1000.

I didn't think much of this until I saw how these dogs were sold. My cousin Bea and I went on a holiday to Bangkok a few weeks ago, and when we were at Chatuchak Market, we headed to a section where people were selling pets and pet supplies. When I saw how the pups were caged and sold, it broke my heart.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 1

09 Chatuchak Puppies 2

09 Chatuchak Puppies 3

Many of the sellers hold a hairdryer and a steel-toothed comb in their hands, blowing air onto the puppies, making their fur look cute and poofy.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 4

09 Chatuchak Puppies 5

09 Chatuchak Puppies 6

See the golden Labrador pup on the right? He was quite the inquisitive and cheeky lil' fella. He was originally sitting on the left cage, but managed to walk over the rest of the pups and climbed to the right cage. He also managed to climb over the right cage, but fell onto the floor letting out a yelp. The guy who fed him water (see previous photo) yanked him back by his tail, causing the pup to yelp even more, carried him by the neck, and literally threw him back into the cage.

09 Chatuchak Puppies 7

Even birds for sale are not spared. Look at the sheer number of them in just one cage. It's simply inhumane.

09 Chatuchak Birds

If you would like a puppy, kitten, etc why not adopt one from your local RSPCA instead? You would be doing those poor fellas a huge favour by giving them a good home. The RSPCA neuters/spays and vaccinates them, so you wouldn't have to worry about it. When the dogs are not adopted after a while, they would, sadly, be put to sleep. After all, there is only so much room that the RSPCA can afford to accommodate the poor animals. You could also get them from reputable and trustworthy dog breeders. Just ask around.

I have a dog too, back in Malaysia. His name is Tiger, and I picked him up from the streets ten years ago when he was but a 3-month old puppy, wondering about near a market. He was part of a litter of stray puppies. He's probably not as smart as pure-bred dogs, but he's still pretty clever, loyal, and very lovable.

Dec09 Tiger
Tiger hates the camera, and never looks directly at it :P

Help eradicate puppy mills. Please do not buy your pets from places like the above. When demand is low, supply will dwindle and hopefully, puppy mills will have no choice but to shut down.

These dogs deserve better.


Mayni said...

yea i'm against pet stores too. when i bought indy, I made sure the breeder was accredited by a reputable association here and that everything I buy are from proper supply stores (well cept for coles and safeway).

Pet stores here generally have puppies/kittens etc at 10-12 weeks which is too young for them to be separated from their mother.

I think people who truly loves animal would know to take care of a pet according to their needs, not ours.

EL said...

Glad you wrote a post about this. It's a sad reality. I'm not as worried about the puppies as I am of the parents. At least the puppies are kept looking clean and adorable. The parents probably live in squalid conditions and made to breed any chance they have and when they can no longer produce, they're probably left for dead.

Mummy said...

Your Tiger still rips up your dad's newspapers in the am?

Anonymous said...

I am a Thai living in Bangkok. You are exactly right about Jatujak market and there has been warnings among well educted people that we should not buy pets there. The way these Jatujak vendors treat their animals are so bad and cruel and most animals are very sick and hardly survive after being brought back to their future home. To make these animals look healthy and lively, some vendors even give them some energy drink.

Unfortunately, there are still lots of people here who seem to care nothing about the way these animals have been treated as long as they can get cheaper puppy.

Anonymous said...

sadly, I don't expect things to change anytime soon here. To Thais, animals are commodities to make money from. There is no animal rights movement here and the average dog owner kicks their dog out once they reach a year old and are no longer cute, forcing them to live on the streets.

Its not deliberate cruelty, Thais just don't know any better. As buddhists, they cannot kill animals, but apart from that, anything goes.

I have a neighbour who actually IS a dog lover - she would walk it twice a day, and it was well looked after. Unfortunately it was stolen to be sold (probably) as food to the northern provinces and neighbouring countries.