Pets Stores – End of an Era

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.”
― Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville.  He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville. He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Over the years, quite a few of you have been very vocal in supporting ending puppy mills.  Some of you have even joined me in protesting the two puppy mill brokers at Strongsville Mall, Pick of the Litter and Petland.  We’ve even gone before Strongsville City Council with evidence that Pick of the Litter is indeed a puppy mill broker.  (Council essentially said it was up to the state oversight to handle cases of puppy mills and brokers – convenient).

I realized suddenly that I’ve been going about this wrong:  why would we shut down individual mills, one by one, when we can work towards legislation to stop the sale of dogs and cats altogether.  According to the Humane Society, “300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all sizes and demographics across twenty-four states, have enacted such policies at the urging of concerned residents”.  Let’s start our personal crusade with the City of Strongsville.

pick of the litter 1

There are so many pros to this train of thought.

- Without venues to sell their goods (puppy mill brokers like Pick of the Litter and Petland), puppy mill operators will have no incentive to continue breeding;

- The Dept. of Agriculture (under whose jurisdiction places like puppy mills and brokers fall) will no longer have the limp excuse of not acting upon animal rights/abuses cases because of lack of personnel.

- It will break the vicious cycle of unscrupulous breeders and puppy mill operators dumping their “unsaleable merchandise” into local rescues and shelters, taking up space that is desperately needed.

- Owners of pet stores can focus on selling goods and services, and still offer rescue animals for a reasonable adoption fee, rather than strictly the revolving door of profit/supply.

- By decreasing the demand for store-bought puppy mill survivors being sold through brokers, puppy mills become unprofitable, thus destroying those parasites reliant upon puppy mills for their products.

It will be a very long and difficult fight.  I guarantee that people like Tom Collins, who has never had another occupation other than Professional Puppy Mill Broker, will raise holy hell at the thought of losing his pain for profit scheme.  Petland is already very vocal in the states that are looking to pass laws similar to those in California & Maryland, with plenty of lobbying going on behind the scenes.

So what can you do to help?

- Become an amateur journalist.  Begin by stopping by Pick of the Litter on a daily basis and photograph whatever you may find there.  Be polite, be kind, and be decent, but be aware and document.  Send your pics to us kerry.stack@darwindogs.org, where they will be documented for evidence, and publicly posted (anonymously if you wish). We will be setting up an album of offenders on our Darwin Dogs Facebook page as well as on DarwinDogs.org. Use #SickOfTheLitters

- Help start the petition drive.  We will need as many people to obtain signatures for this petition.

- Spread information through our protests.  Stay on the Darwin Dogs Facebook page for info on the next scheduled protests.

- Attend the Strongsville City Council meetings in support of ending pet stores.   Again, check Darwin Dogs Facebook page for council sessions we will be attending. Currently, we will be attending the meeting on July 15 starting at 8:00, Council Chamber, located in the Strongsville Police Station, 18688 Royalton Road

- Contact Strongsville City Council, as well as the Mayor’s office.  Find out why they are allowing pet stores puppy mill brokers in their city:

The City of Strongsville
Attn: City Council
16099 Foltz Parkway
Strongsville, Ohio 44149
440 580 3100
Email(s)
michael.daymut@strongsville.org,ann.roff@strongsville.org,kelly.kosek@strongsville.org,gordon.short@strongsville.org,jim.carbone@strongsville.org,

matt.schonhut@strongsville.org

city@strongsville.org

Contact Southpark Mall, and demand to know why they allow puppy mill brokers and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs to do business within their mall. Let them know publicly, via reviews, that we will not do business at establishments that allow for animal abuse.

Southpark Mall
c/o Starwood Retail Managers
500 SouthPark Center
Strongsville, OH 44136
(440) 238-9199

- Have any legal background?  Contact me directly at kerry.stack@darwindogs.org.  After all, there is so much more to petitions that merely gathering signatures.  We are looking to change city ordinances.  If you can spare one hour or several days, anything will be of assistance.

- Spread awareness.  Most people don’t realize what that puppy store puppy represents, or why the backyard breeders are killing shelter dogs by proxy.  Educate.

We are starting in Strongsville, Ohio, but will be diligent in working in other cities as well.  Let’s finish these parasite puppy mill brokers once and for all.

“But perhaps most important, when you buy a pet-store puppy, you contribute to the demand for puppy-mill-bred puppies, and add to the cycle of misery of mill-owned breeding dogs.”
― Denise Flaim, Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training/ Animal Rights Activist in Cleveland Ohio

 

When Pugs Were Pugs

 Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here? Genetic power is the most awesome force the planet’s ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dad’s gun. – Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
Photo: charlesdeluvio

Photo: charlesdeluvio

I love dog training, and I am fortunate enough to be constantly learning.  One of the greatest sources of growth for me has been my clients and readers.  You never let me down with your succinct and intelligent commentary.
Recently, a post on breeders vs. rescuing.  Karen Privitera’s response to the debate blew me away:
Forgive me; this is going to be long….I am conflicted.
Pugs have been a part of my family for three generations … they’ve been part of us for well over 85 years. For years, I knew of no other families with pugs; but we had magazines, books and pug organizations …and we had no debilitating medical problems with our dogs.

My earliest memories are of correcting people; it seemed like nobody knew what they were:
“he’s not a bulldog, he’s a pug”
“no, he didn’t run into a wall”
“that’s not very nice, he’s not ugly…I love him”

Fifty, forty years ago — I didn’t see pugs with their tongues hanging out constantly (birth defect); I wasn’t hearing or reading about nasal enlargement surgeries or the rest of it.

For the past 5 decades, none of our pugs have been purchased from a breeder; they have all been from shelters and legit rescue programs. One was adopted after being featured on Captain Penny’s Pooch Parade in the 1960s.

In 1981, a pug won Best of Show at Westminster. I recall telling my Vet that I hoped that “win” didn’t set off crazy popularity. I remember him looking at me oddly and asking “why?”.
I was shocked that he didn’t seem to be thinking —or concerned — about the long-term ramifications of a frenzy of bad breeding.
But that’s exactly what happened — and suddenly pugs were everywhere: in commercials, on greeting cards, etc.

…then “Men In Black” contributed to the irresponsible growth of the breed and so on & so on…

Ask long-time Dalmatian breeders what happened after the 101 Dalmatians movie came out.

Not a single pug of my grandparents’, my aunt or my immediate family ever required nasal surgery or had medical issues related to their respiratory system.
None of them were ever used for breeding.

Truth be told, I wish the day would come where only responsible, licensed, well-regulated breeders are permitted to sell animals.
I *wish* there weren’t so many animals dumped, abandoned, “born just for profit”; I will spend the rest of my life only having pets that come from those unfortunate situations.

I personally will not go to a reputable breeder, ever, for any future pets … not while so many other dogs are in shelters.
I wish I could.

In a different world, how I wish the breed hadn’t exploded — bringing all the physical problems now suffered by these sweet animals and perpetuated by greed & ignorance.

The breed is not inherently bad: irresponsible breeders are BAD.
Don’t buy from the Amish, EVER.
Don’t buy from people who “just wanted their dog to have one litter” and have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Don’t purchase off of Craigslist; be responsible and do some damn research.

And while I’m on my soapbox: there’s no such thing as “teacup” or “miniature” or “micro” — they’re the result of runts being bred to runts. None of that is good.

Photo attached of my Grandpa — long before me. Sadly, these healthy pugs don’t look like what you see today.

Pic courtesy of Karen Privetera

Pic courtesy of Karen Privitera

Thank you, Karen, for stating exactly what needed to be said.

keep

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio