Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Puppy Mill Awareness Day Austin!

Billy, available for adoption through
Austin Dog Rescue
Puppy Mill Awareness Day Austin is an extremely special day in Central Texas. Not only do we see a community of pet lovers come together to find homes for adoptable animals, but this great charity puts on an event that highlights some of the saddest stories in animal welfare. 

PMAD Austin was founded by my lovely friend, Courtney, who also happens to be the vice president of Paws of Austin Great Dane Rescue. In addition to her huge dogs, Courtney also has a huge heart. After working with American Humane Association on several cases to help save dogs from puppy mills, she decided to do something more. Puppy Mill Awareness Day Austin was formed and has been hosting this event annually over the last several years. 
Zeus, available for adoption through
Don't Bully Me Rescue

PMAD partners with area rescue groups and invites them to bring out their adoptable pets to meet potential adopters and spread the message about their adoption programs. Rescues like Don't Bully Me Rescue, where I met Zeus, an adoptable pit bull mix who has been waiting for his forever home for nearly 4 years! 

As an active member in the Austin animal welfare scene, it's always lovely to meet new rescues and chat with old friends about our adoption stories, our heartbreaking rescue cases and our hopes for the future. Austin is an amazing city, the largest No Kill city in the nation and yet, we still see so many neglected animals here in Central Texas. As long as there is money to be made with breeding dogs, irresponsible, greedy people will exploit them for cash. 

So, what is the difference between a  responsible breeder and a puppy mill? 
Mellow, available for adoption
through Wee Rescue in Austin, TX
A puppy mill is a large scale breeding operation where purebred or 'designer' dogs are bred solely for the money they can bring to the business that is selling them. The dogs often get no medical care, the adult dogs and puppies are kept in cramped, unsanitary cages and the puppies are generally taken from their mothers far too soon in order to sell them when they are as small and 'cute' as possible. Puppy Mills often sell to pet stores, where they will have no interaction with the new owner and these puppies are often unsocialized and can be sick. 

A responsible breeder will always be involved in the well being of the puppy. They will generally raise the breed for the traits of the breed vs money. Responsible breeders will ensure that the puppies and their parents receive medical care, live in healthy, proper conditions and that the puppies are properly socialized and old enough before they are taken from their mothers. Not all breeders are responsible, as being a responsible breeder takes a lot of time and money, so it isn't quite as profitable as a business. Not all breeders are responsible, so it is important to do research and meet the breeders, adult dogs and see the conditions that the puppies have been living in before considering a breeder purchase. 

Yes, there are some responsible breeders, however, every breed of dog ends up in rescue at some point or another. The most responsible choice you can make as a pet owner is to look into rescue and be patient. Even if you don't see your new pup right away, I assure you that with a little time, you will find the perfect pet to adopt! Petfinder is an amazing place to start searching for your new family member. Choose adoption and you will be saving two lives - the pet you adopt and the next pet who is able to take their kennel at the shelter or rescue. 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist

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