I get lost in my little dog-person world sometimes, and assume everyone knows certain things about dog care, dog training and dog behavior: that bloat is a life-threatening emergency, for example. That beating a puppy for "deliberately disobeying" is stupid, and cruel. That half a dozen annual vaccines for Scout may not, in fact, make you a paragon among dog owners. That puppy mills are the stuff of nightmares. That pet shop puppies come from puppy mills.
When I first started speaking out against the train wreck that is AB 1634, I learned that if I said, "This bill gives puppy mills a free pass," people would say, "What are... 'puppy mills,' exactly? Why are they bad?"
This graphic may help. The author posted it to the Pet Connection Blog last year, and it's also available on the Best Friends web site. According to the USDA, which regulates commercial, high-volume
factory farms for dogs breeding kennels, a dog must have six inches of head room, and each animal's floor space = [the length of the dog from nose to base of tail + six inches] squared. And if this space is doubled, the dog never has to be taken out of her cage --- double the space means "adequate" room to exercise, according to the USDA. Here's a photo from an old post of a dog with "adequate" room to exercise:
She'll spend most of her life in that cage. She will be bred on every heat until she's too worn out to breed, and then she'll be sold at auction or killed. This is where pet shop puppies come from, not from "caring breeders." A truly responsible breeder would slit her wrists before she'd hand puppies over to a pet shop to sell to anyone with a credit card. Pet shops get their puppies from large-scale, commercial breeders, and until people quit buying puppies from pet shops, puppy mills will go right on cranking out thousands upon thousands of sickly, unsocialized 'misery puppies.'
[And may I take this opportunity to call BS (a bit) on Newsweek and the HSUS? Good on you for lifting the rock off "Pets of Bel Air" and making the bugs scatter, but enough already with the old "you must get your dog from the shelter" routine. For a healthy, well-raised pup, get in touch with a responsible breeder.]