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11AliveATL584 karma

BOTH. I think we need more consistency between the states or the true puppy mill breeders will just keep moving to where they can make a buck. The regulations help set the standards we find acceptable as a community. They determine whether the animals get access to fresh air, exercise and proper medical care. But it's the enforcement that's needed to ensure those standards are being held.

So first, I think states need to improve their standards. Breeders who actually care about their animals should actually want the mothers to have a good quality of life. They are the backbone of their business, not just a commodity. Even those resistant to change in Pennsylvania told me during my recent visit, they have come around and now agree with the standards because happy dogs made better breeders. Regulations such as these are easy to enforce if you have a staff willing to do it.

Enforcement, especially of animal cruelty laws, is harder. Police don't have time or resources to sometimes recognize it or know what to do when they find it. Police departments sometimes don't have nearby shelters to take dogs that need to be rescued and they don't have money to provide necessary medical care. This is where more public/private partnerships could be beneficial. Rescues and shelters specifically partnering with their police and District Attorneys offices to provide that support so that they will tackle these kinds of cases. - Rebecca

11AliveATL412 karma

(insert deep breath here...) I cover a lot of social issues as a reporter, especially child welfare. Those cases really get under my skin because the impacts are so far reaching. And it's important to note - that animal abuse is so often linked with other crimes like child abuse, domestic violence and other crimes. BUT - I feel like we have tangible paths to move the needle on issues related to puppy mills - and it's that hope that keeps me sane.

Still, when my first story published this week in my series on potential solutions to the puppy mill/animal cruelty problem, a lot of people were sharing it, but not really reading it or watching it. I went home depressed. I didn't sleep well. I wasn't after likes - I wanted engagement. As an investigative journalist, I put a lot of time into my stories. We can't change an issue if we're not willing to learn about it. Engagement in forums like this one and seeing more people finally responding to the content makes a difference. So THANK YOU for your question. -Rebecca

11AliveATL205 karma

That's a great question. The biggest thing is spreading awareness of this problem and if appropriate, pushing politicians to sign legislation. Sometimes, it not just laws - simple regulatory changes can make a difference. For example, Pennsylvania requires dogs at commercial breeders to be checked by a vet twice a year. This helps to catch medical neglect. I don't think in most states that would require legislation to happen. I think it's important to find a group of people passionate and then lobby with one voice. Too many messages makes it confusing for those who are in a position to make change.

Besides that, there are a lot of non-profit volunteer organizations that need help financially and physically. Police departments and animal control officers may benefit from partnerships so they know they have places to take animals rescued and money for medical care if necessary. Imagine being an officer in a rural town, seeing 50 dogs in a terrible condition, and knowing your community doesn't have a shelter. What are you likely to do?

And of course, when getting a dog, adopt don't shop.

11AliveATL182 karma

Others have already expressed some of the key pros and cons. I also used search tools to find my dog, a wire hair terrier named Cody. As a tool for research it's great. But I also agree, seeing influencers with a tea cup poodle in a tiny purse can make others want one without actually researching what it means to care for that breed. The same thing happened with dalmations after the movie. But that's never going to change. There's always a surge of rabbits and chicks purchased around Easter... etc. We have to be in control of our own motivations. Take the time, do the research. Make good choices, not emotional ones.

11AliveATL105 karma

It really depends on the breeder. As stated, the Amish run a lot of puppy mills. Some of the biggest abuses are taking place at breeders that are UNLICENSED or not considered COMMERCIAL. If a breeder has 26 or more dogs on property in a calendar year they need a license. But many Amish families live in different houses on the same property. So one son takes 26 dogs, another son takes 26 dogs, etc... so they avoid the regulations that come with licensing. Also, commercial kennels (the ones with the higher standards) sell wholesale - to pet stores. Non-commerical kennels can have JUST AS MANY dogs, but they sell to people directly. They do not have the same standards. This is a loophole I know they'd like to get changed in Pennsylvania. So again, I would default to my earlier advice: Figure out why you're buying from a breeder and see if you can accomplish that goal another way (breed specific rescue... or just altering your motivations), verify they are licensed, see what you can learn about that location through inspection reports and online reviews, ask to see the mother and WHERE she lives, check her health - look at her dental health - that kind of medical neglect is harder to hide unlike a quick grooming fix to adjust fur and nail maintenance. -Rebecca