Pet Shop Puppies by Susan Mulley
I know it is difficult, but by buying pet store Vizsla you merely convince both the pet store and the puppy mill that Vizsla are 'marketable' in that forum. There are several things we can do to help prevent the production (for it truly is that) of puppies in puppy mills for the pet store trade.
1) Boycott pet stores that sell puppies and kittens. Don't just boycott them though - write them regularly and tell them why they are losing your business. I regularly write the local "Pet Paradise"(isn't that an oxymoron!) and tell them how much I spent on pet food and supplies in the last 6 months, and again explain why I don't buy ANYTHING, even fish food from them. At one point I drove to the neighboring town to buy supplies rather than get them from the 'puppy mill store'. Not giving them your money is the first step - but you must also tell them WHY you don't.
2) Educate the public. This means that you need to hit them where it hurts. Pet store who sell puppies and kittens from mills regularly contact the schools and day cares and offer tours and 'educational' material. So, do the same thing. My son's daycare planned a trip to the local pet shop - they were doing a unit on pets. I refused to let my son attend, and the day care thought I was nuts. I brought in copies of material available on the conditions the puppies are bred and 'raised' in, the conditions they live in the store, etc. etc. Now the day care has instituted a policy of not visiting pet stores who sell puppies and kittens, and has sent a letter to the store stating why they made that decision. Tell EVERYONE you know - not just Vizsla people, about the horrors of puppy mills. Get videos to show. Explain that even though the pet store claims the puppies came from a 'local' family that just happened to have too many pups (the new line pet store are using these days in Canada because of the negative press on puppy mills), that is almost never the case. Tell your kids and get them to tell their friends. It is worth it to even pressure advertisers who show puppies in pet stores - Visa ran an ad campaign showing a family buying a cute puppy from a pet store on Visa - they were swamped with calls, literature and public pressure to pull the campaign. They had to do a lot of spin doctoring to save face, and the issue got pushed to the forefront again.
3) KEEP the issue in the forefront. Write articles for your local newspapers, your community newsletters, and your kid's school. Every once in a while walk into the local pet store and ask (LOUDLY), "Do you sell puppies?" If they reply in the affirmative, tell them, again loudly, (even if it IS just the clerk), that you cannot patronize them because of that decision. And as you walk out explain about puppy mills to the nice family looking at that litter in the window.
4) Support the alternative stores that are responsible - and tell them why you are buying there. Many pet stores have policies that support adoption from the humane society and not the selling of 'puppies' from brokers or mills.
5) Lobby the AKC to change their limited registrations to a non-breeding contract. We are lucky in Canada (and I know we've already covered this a few months ago, so I'll be brief) that we can sell puppies on non-breeding contracts but they can still be shown, field trailed, compete in obedience, etc. It drives me nuts that when I sell a puppy to the U.S. I either have to sell it without that contract, or face the fact the puppy cannot compete. Why should that be? Non-breeding contracts protect the breed by ensuring that responsible people breed dogs that are of good quality. They can be lifted at any stage in a dog's life at the discretion of the person who put the agreement on the dog in the first place. Most importantly, in Canada we have the piece of mind of knowing that puppies we sell on non-breeding contracts are useless to puppy mill breeders - their puppies cannot be registered, and are not as marketable. I have had a couple of inquiries about puppies from the mid-west in the past 20 years. Interestingly enough, as soon as I explain that EVERY puppy leaves my house on a non-breeding contract, they were not interested. Perhaps they just felt it was an infringement on their right to do what they wanted with their pup, but I recognize at least one of the names as a puppy mill breeder who did eventually find a 'breeding' pair.
6) Again, don't buy puppies from pet stores. Even if you give
that puppy a new good home, you have doomed the mother to a life
of 'puppy production' because of the demand. And, you doom many
more yet unborn puppies to a miserable life because the pet store
sees a demand for Vizsla. They don't, after all, care if they
sell to individuals, to rescue or to well-meaning vizslaphiles.
They just want the money. We had a Vizsla in a pet store in
Ontario last year. It was part of a litter that had been sent to
chains all across the US and Canada. That puppy sat in the store
for a good 6 months, and was marked down many times. The store
has stated that they will never get another Vizsla in - they
"just don't sell". Thank goodness.