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December is Virginia’s inaugural Puppy Mill Awareness Month

Posted on Sunday, December 06, 2020
Illustration of a French bulldog mama in a puppy mill with puppies on a conveyer belt behind her overlay text: "#DontBuyIntoAnimalCruelty

Earlier this year, state lawmakers unanimously voted to designate December as Puppy Mill Awareness Month across the Commonwealth, thereby encouraging all Virginians to get educated about commercial dog breeding operations and the cruelty they inflict upon innocent animals.

As we observe this important month of awareness, which coincides with one of the busiest seasons for pet acquisition, there are many ways we can help reduce demand for puppies born in puppy mills and drive these unethical profiteers out of business.

Be informed

The Humane Society of the United States estimates there to be 10,000 puppy mills nationwide. In these commercial breeding operations, hundreds of thousands of parent dogs suffer in cruel and inhumane conditions, reduced to lives of misery in filthy wire cages with no human interaction or veterinary care in order to produce an estimated 2.4 million puppies for sale each year.

Join Virginia animal advocates on Sunday, December 13 or Tuesday, December 29 for a virtual screening of the documentary Dog by Dog.

Do not purchase puppies online or in pet stores

Most puppies sold online and in pet stores come from puppy mills. While sellers often tout excellent customer reviews, health guarantees, USDA licenses (which provide no surety that a breeder is not a puppy mill) and even “no puppy mill” promises, these assurances are empty. If you cannot visit the property to see for yourself the conditions in which puppies sold online or in a pet store were born and in which their parents are still living, chances are the puppies came from puppy mills.

Adopt from an animal shelter

Humane organizations like the Richmond SPCA have hundreds of deserving pets available for adoption every day. With a little time and patience, you will find just the right companion for you, and through adoption, you can create space for an agency like ours to come to the rescue of another vulnerable homeless animal in need in our community.

Spread the word

In February, the Richmond SPCA launched an information campaign that shines a light on online puppy sales and the cruelty it disguises. The campaign includes a mock website that points out the possible warning signs that a site could be selling puppies sourced from puppy mills. To learn more, visit #DontBuyIntoAnimalCruelty and share with others so that together we can help end the demand for puppies born into this industry of abuse.

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Tamsen Kingry and Maggie (dog)
Tamsen and Maggie

As the CEO of the Richmond SPCA, Tamsen oversees the development of our organization’s short- and long-term strategies to achieve maximum lifesaving and fulfill with integrity the Richmond SPCA’s mission.

When she’s not busy working alongside our talented and dedicated staff, Board and volunteers, Tamsen enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as their two cats and a dog—all of whom they adopted from the Richmond SPCA.

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