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Meet Harley! This precious little Chihuahua spent the first ten years of his life crammed into a small wire cage as a breeding male in a puppy mill.
He survived the terrible living conditions so common in puppy mills…no bed, toys, clean water, or human affection. He survived, but not without some heartbreaking physical and emotional scars.
Harley’s health problems include heart disease, mouth rot, a fused spine and broken tail, malformed legs and feet, and a missing eye. Harley lost his eye when his cage was power washed with him inside of it…a tragically common puppy mill practice.
Harley was about to be put down by being drowned in a bucket when a mill employee rescued him. She took him home and began giving him much-needed care. He went to the vet, got neutered, and most of his teeth were removed. A thorough exam revealed his many health problems.
A new, loving family eventually adopted this fortunate little guy. Although the vet didn’t think he’d make it, Harley went on to have a happy and fulfilling life.
Harley was the spokes-dog for a campaign run by National Mill Dog Rescue. Harley traveled around the country, making public appearances to raise awareness and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills. Donations to Harley to the Rescue have saved nearly 600 puppy mill dogs.
For those unfamiliar, a "puppy mill" is a grim kind of factory farm for dogs. Unfortunately, our furry friends are often kept in tiny cages in these places, with little regard for their health or happiness.
So, what can we do about it? First, we can adopt from a shelter instead of shopping. Shelters nationwide are filled with loving dogs in desperate need of a home. By adopting instead of buying, we reduce the demand for puppy mills.
Finally, stay well-informed and spread the word. You're doing that right now simply by reading this blog! Let your friends and family know about the puppy mill issue.
With enough awareness, we can put an end to this cruelty. Remember, our four-legged friends need us to speak up for them! You can even wear these rescue dog shirts to make a statement as you walk.
Interested in saving puppy mill dogs like Harley? Check out the National Mill Dog Rescue website for information on adopting and fostering puppy mill dogs.
You can also reach out to pet stores in your area that sell puppies sourced from puppy mills and encourage them to support homeless pet adoptions instead.
If you suspect a puppy mill, report it to your local animal control agency, Humane Society branch, or the ASPCA. Include as many specific details as possible. Photos, exact addresses, and descriptions of the conditions can strengthen your case. However, it's crucial not to trespass or take matters into your own hands; let the legal authorities handle the situation.
Sadly, yes, puppy mills are legal. However, they're heavily regulated under federal and state laws, which dictate the standard of care for breeding facilities. Yet, the enforcement of these laws is often insufficient. To stop supporting puppy mills, be a responsible buyer - always opt for reputable breeders, rescue centers, or local shelters.
Getting a Chihuahua can be as easy as visiting a local animal shelter or breed-specific rescue organization. Adopting gives a home to a needy dog and helps curb pet overpopulation. Alternatively, you can find reputable breeders through the American Kennel Club or similar canine clubs. Always visit the breeder to ensure the puppies are raised humanely and healthy.