Think twice about giving pets as gifts

As we approach the time of year when some families may be considering whether it is a good idea to bring a new pet into the family at Christmastime, news out of Holmes County reminds us there is a lot to consider in such a decision.

Should a family determine they have the time, resources, willingness and whole-house agreement to make the commitment to love and care for a pet for the rest of its life (no pet should ever be a surprise or spontaneous gift), the next question is where to find the right pet.

When looking to bring a dog into the family, it is essential to avoid rewarding those who make their living by abusing dogs in puppy mills. And there are still plenty of those in the Buckeye State.

Paws for Miles, in Loveland, Ohio, just rescued 70 dogs from what WKRC described as “deplorable conditions” under an Amish dog breeder. The operator had called the nonprofit after he was alerted to an upcoming state inspection. According to the report by WKRC, the operator wanted to offload as many animals as he could before inspectors arrived.

But the rescuers described conditions at his facility as “horrifying.”

“They can only move so much when there’s 20 of them inside of a 10-foot by 20-foot pen. When you’ve got 20 of them in there, they’re all rubbing up against each other, rubbing up against the chain link,” said Aaron Jones of Paws for Miles.

But when a reporter from the station asked whether volunteers got the impression the puppy mill operator was embarrassed by the situation, Lisa Hammond said “Oh no. He was pretty proud.”

“He was more concerned about not making money off them anymore than he was concerned about the dogs,” Hammond said.

Too often in Ohio, that is the kind of person a buyer is supporting by purchasing an animal billed as a pure breed dog.

Do your homework. If it is important to you to bring into your family a pure breed animal — perhaps with papers — research reputable, small-scale breeders who work hard to avoid the kinds of conditions Paws for Miles found in Holmes County.

Better yet, consider visiting an animal shelter to adopt a dog (or cat) who may not have papers, but who will be grateful you arrived and become just as much a part of your family. Whatever you do, don’t help operators such as the one in WKRC’s story keep profiting from the abuse and neglect of animals.



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