Tag Archives: never buy animals from pet stores or breeders

Dog shows are for the birds!

Lilac and Jett – a couple of all-American mutts! pic: R.T.

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

It’s awards season. Movie buffs tune in to the Academy Awards, and music fans gear up for the Grammys. But people who care about dogs want nothing to do with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show — at least, not once they learn that this overblown spectacle costs dogs their health, their happiness and even their lives.

It’s all about appearances at Westminster. To produce dogs who are cookie-cutter replicas of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) “breed standards” — which the judges use to decide who gets ribbons and titles — breeders engage in practices that leave many dogs with lifelong deformities and serious, even fatal, health problems.

Breeding for size extremes, to name just one example, has created a host of health woes. “Giant” and large breeds, such as mastiffs, St. Bernards, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Labradors and golden retrievers, are prone to hip dysplasia — which can cause severe pain and lameness— as well as osteosarcoma, an extremely aggressive bone cancer that tends to metastasize rapidly to other body parts.

Tiny breeds, such as Boston and Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians and miniature poodles, are prone to patellar luxation (dislocated kneecaps), which is painful and can cause lameness. Dogs who’ve been bred to have unnaturally short legs, such as basset hounds, often endure chronic problems with elbow dislocation. Dachshunds are notoriously prone to ruptured vertebral discs, which can cause intense pain and lead to permanent paralysis.

Inbreeding — which breeders often resort to in an attempt to keep prizewinning traits “in the family” — also increases dogs’ odds of inheriting a long list of debilitating genetic afflictions. Cardigan Welsh corgis, dachshunds and basset hounds, for example, are prone to primary severe combined immunodeficiency (the “bubble boy” disease). Addison’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the adrenal glands, is more common in bearded collies, Portuguese water dogs and standard poodles and can cause them to become weak and lethargic, vomit, stop eating and collapse from shock. The list of genetically linked canine health afflictions goes on and on.

But despite these risks, breeders mate countless dogs with their family members. At Crufts — Westminster’s British counterpart — the 2016 Best of Breed Pekingese award went to a dog whose paternal grandparents were half siblings. The 2015 Best of Breed pug award went to a dog whose family tree is even more twisted: His grandfather on his mother’s side is also his father’s grandfather.

As disturbing as all this is, what many people who care about animals find most upsetting about Westminster is that it worsens the homeless-dog crisis. Not every puppy breeders produce in hopes of taking home a ribbon is a prizewinner, and those who aren’t are often sold. These puppies take away the chance of finding a home from a dog waiting in a shelter.

Many purebreds also end up homeless themselves — they account for about a quarter of dogs in shelters. And by promoting purebreds and implying that they are somehow superior — even though mixed-breed dogs are just as smart and loving, in addition to being far less likely to experience the health problems that plague purebreds — Westminster drives traffic to breeders and pet stores instead of to shelters, where there are countless loving dogs in desperate need of homes.

Westminster doesn’t honor dogs; it harms them — from those who suffer their whole lives for a certain “look” to those who miss out on homes because people think they need a purebred instead of a lovable mutt. That’s why anyone who truly cares about dogs will condemn this cruel “awards show.”

Spaying/neutering your cat – always a fashion-must: Snip ‘kitten season’ in the bud this spring!


Chef Joey’s beautiful kitties are “fixed”! (He also owns three dogs and feeds/cares for various and sundry feral cats in his big backyard.) Go, Joey, go!!!!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post
As surely as April showers bring May flowers, spring’s longer days bring kittens—lots and lots of them. Animal shelters from the Carolinas to California brace for what the sheltering community calls “kitten season.” It’s the time of year, starting in early spring and extending through the fall, when litter after litter of homeless kittens and pregnant cats come pouring in, and shelters scramble to accommodate them all.
Kittens may be cute, but the consequences of their overpopulation are anything but. Many are born on the streets—behind dumpsters or in dirty alleys—while others get their ill-fated start in life in rural areas. Unless they are rescued, most of these kittens will suffer and die young after being hit by a car, getting attacked by predators or cruel people, succumbing to weather extremes, contracting deadly diseases or suffering some other cruel fate. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 75 percent of free-roaming kittens disappear or die before they are 6 months old. The 25 percent who manage to survive to this age will likely have litters of their own, creating even more kittens with nowhere to go.
Some lucky kittens end up in animal shelters, but often this means that older cats who have been there for a while must be euthanized in order to make room for the newcomers. Limited-admission shelters avoid this scenario only by turning animals away when they reach capacity, leaving it to open-admission shelters to accommodate the overwhelming influx.
Neonatal kittens who come in without mothers must be bottle-fed around the clock—a demanding task that most shelters can’t manage without help from volunteers. Some shelters hold training sessions for foster families who take kittens home and care for them until they can be adopted. Others even throw “kitten showers” to stock up on kitten milk replacer, cat litter and other necessities. But the most important thing any of us can do to alleviate kitten season is to prevent more kittens from being born in the first place by making sure that our own cats—and the cats of our friends, family members and neighbors—are spayed or neutered.
Putting off spaying and neutering can result in “oops” litters: Kittens can become mothers themselves when they’re as young as 4 months of age. And even if they are kept indoors (as all cats should be, to protect them from the many dangers that lurk outside), their raging hormones can compel even the most docile among them to bolt through an unattended doorway in search of a mate.
One unspayed female cat and her offspring can lead to a staggering 370,000 kittens in just seven years. Guardians of male cats aren’t off the hook, either: Males can become fathers at just 5 months of age, and one male can impregnate countless females.
Many communities operate low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics that make it easy to do the right thing. Having cats “fixed” also has many health benefits: It eliminates females’ risk of uterine cancer and greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer, and it prevents testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate cancer in males. Sterilized cats are also much less likely to roam, fight or spray.
So this spring,  let’s make sure that every cat is spayed or neutered before those May flowers start blooming—and snip kitten season in the bud.

Chef Joey just adopted another shelter pup!


This makes three adorable little dogs for Joey! (Vinny and Abby are pups #1 and #2.) This sweetie’s a boy and eight weeks old! Joey hasn’t named him yet – that’s how new he is to Chef Joey’s “pack”!

Go, Chef Joey, go!

Go, little dog, go!

– R.T.

Pic: Chef Joey

In 2016 resolve to get your next pet at an animal shelter

By Lindsay Pollard-Post
Most animals sold in pet stores are raised in anything but loving, safe, healthful conditions. Pet stores are notorious for obtaining the dogs they sell from puppy mills— hellish mass-breeding factories that neglect mother dogs and their puppies and confine them to tiny, filthy cages 24/7.

This treatment causes some dogs such mental distress that they spin incessantly in circles. Kittens sold in pet stores often come from similar mills.
But many people don’t realize that small animals sold in stores—such as hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and rabbits—are also bred in and distributed from hideously cruel factories.
At Sun Pet, a massive Atlanta-based breeding warehouse that supplies animals to PetSmart and Petco, a PETA exposé revealed hundreds of birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils, mice and rats crammed inside extremely crowded containers. The animals were forced to eat, sleep, urinate and defecate all in the same small space. One worker tried to kill hamsters by putting them into a plastic bag and bashing it against a table. Minutes later, one of the hamsters was still alive—suffering and panting heavily.
At U.S. Global Exotics—a now-shuttered massive wholesale facility in Texas that sold animals to suppliers of Petco, PetSmart and Petland—PETA’s eyewitness saw thousands of hamsters crammed into litter pans, causing them to fight and even cannibalize each other. Faulty watering-system nozzles often flooded the enclosures, leaving hamsters and gerbils to struggle for hours to keep their heads above water or drown. Live animals were routinely frozen to death—including a chinchilla who was bleeding from a prolapsed rectum and a squirrel whose neck had been so badly wounded that the muscles were exposed.
At Triple F Farms, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based ferret-breeding factory that sells animals to Petland and other stores, PETA found ferrets suffering and dying from bloody rectal prolapses, gaping wounds, herniated organs, ruptured and bleeding eyes and other conditions. Hundreds of newborn and young ferrets fell through the wire cage bottoms onto waste-covered concrete floors, but Triple F workers were not permitted to pick them up. Instead, the tiny animals were left to die of dehydration or starvation—or to be stepped on, run over by carts or buried in feces.
Animals who manage to survive these awful conditions often suffer and die prematurely anyway because they’re purchased by or given as “gifts” to people who aren’t prepared to provide proper care, including the right habitat and nutrition, grooming, exercise and veterinary care. Add to that the difficulty of introducing a new animal to the family during the holidays—when schedules are jam-packed and budgets are stretched thin—and new animals often end up being neglected, sometimes fatally.
And then there are the animals sitting in shelter cages throughout the country, waiting for a loving family to take them home. When people buy animals from pet stores or breeders, they pass over the deserving animals in shelters, who lose their chance at a loving home, and many end up euthanized.
If you are certain that you or your friend or a family member has the time, money, ability and desire to care for an animal companion for life visit an animal shelter and pay the adoption fee.

Let’s start the new year with …

Why we should never buy animals

By Dan Paden

For years, animal advocacy groups have encouraged, urged and begged consumers to shun pet stores and breeders and instead adopt animals from shelters and rescue groups. With a never-ending stream of homeless animals—and not just cats and dogs—pouring through the doors of animal shelters day after day, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would ever buy an animal from a pet store.

But if that’s not enough to sway you, consider this: Patronizing pet shops means supporting an industry that treats animals as disposable objects, not living, feeling beings. Every PETA investigation of the pet trade has revealed callous disregard for animals, appalling conditions and heartbreaking abuse, and our latest case is no exception.

PETA’s recent eyewitness investigation found thousands of animals languishing and dying in filthy conditions at a rodent-breeding operation and a pet store—both owned by the same couple—near Denver. Enclosures containing rats and mice, many of whom were destined to be fed to snakes and other reptiles kept as “pets,” were not cleaned for weeks, forcing the animals to eat and sleep amid feces-filled and urine-soaked bedding. Tubs containing rats and mice routinely flooded when water lines were chewed by rats or knocked loose by free-roaming cats. Hundreds of animals drowned.

Rats and mice were fed only once per month, and the food became moldy and covered with feces as the weeks passed. One owner admitted that some animals starved between feedings.

Others were violently torn apart by cats, whom the owners routinely allowed into their “factory.” Kittens were taken from the free-roaming cats and sold, but some were so sick that they died before ever reaching the couple’s pet store. PETA’s eyewitnesses never saw any animal receive adequate veterinary care at either facility.

Chronic severe crowding and a lack of food, water and other basic necessities created stress and fear among the animals and led to fighting. The eyewitnesses found one weak and thin rat with facial injuries so critical that her nose and upper jaw were missing. A gaping wound exposed what appeared to be her bone, cartilage and internal tissues. The rat was rushed to a veterinarian, who put her out of her misery.

Dead rats were often overlooked and left to rot in tubs along with live animals for days or even weeks on end. One dead rat apparently went unnoticed for so long that nothing more than a bloody skull remained.

At the pet store, ailing reptiles (whom the couple bred in their basement) were denied veterinary care and instead thrown into a freezer to die. Sick and injured rats and mice were crudely “whacked”—that is, swung by the tail and slammed against a hard surface in an attempt to kill them. Some were then wrapped in plastic bags, which a worker admitted caused them to suffocate.

A hedgehog at the pet store with an infected eye was neglected for so long that her eye shriveled up and lost all vision. But instead of providing adequate treatment, workers sprayed one or both of her eyes with diluted chlorhexidine, a product used to clean the cages and enclosures at the store.

Based on PETA’s evidence, the Thornton, Colo., Police Department executed a search warrant at the pet store that allowed them to rescue some of the mammals, reptiles and amphibians there. Despite having extensive evidence of persistent, widespread cruelty to animals for more than two months, the Adams County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office still has not seized or rendered aid to the thousands of animals kept at the breeding operation. PETA is now calling on the sheriff to seize all animals from that barn without further delay.

But such actions alone won’t stop the suffering in the pet trade. Animals will continue to languish and die in this greed-driven industry until consumers start doing two simple things: adopting animal companions from shelters and reputable rescue groups (instead of buying them from pet stores and breeders) and purchasing all their animals’ food, toys and other supplies from companies that don’t stock animals in their inventory.