By Holly Pearson
During the holiday season, the demand for the perfect gifts to give to loved ones are at an all time high. The societal pressure to show love through materialism wrapped up in a shiny bow revokes the true reasoning for the holiday season. I find at the very least the reason for the season is to be cherishing your loved ones and giving them your time and affection.
But what could represent a tangible form of love to try and mask the concept of materialistic gift giving? Puppies! Kittens! The obvious answer. If a living, breathing, ball of fluff doesn’t make your heart burst from love I don’t know what will. Pet sales spike during the holiday season as families want to buy people closest to them the purest gift they can think of, an animal.
Unfortunately, many families turn to stores that sell puppies run by puppy mills. Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that inhumanely treat dogs and breed them excessively for corporate profit.
The Humane Society describes the life of a dog in a puppy mill as:
“Mother dogs spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little to no personal attention. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed. Due to poor sanitation and a lack of preventive veterinary care, the puppies from puppy mills frequently suffer from a variety of health issues, creating heartbreaking challenges for families who should be enjoying the delights of adopting a new family member” Via thehumanesociety.org
Recently what really opened my eyes to this epidemic was my visit to an animal shop right here in Bridgewater. It’s kindly named the Park Avenue Birds & Pet Supply, carrying an array of animals from puppies, rabbits, birds, mice, hamsters, fish, etc. Specifically focusing on the puppies, I was disgusted by the conditions the poor animals were kept in. Around ten or more puppies were in glass cases, barely having room to run around in their own urine and feces. The puppies appeared restless and desperate to have better conditions to live in. In the back of the store, behind a glass window were a young Husky and German Shepherd in a case together. They were both much too grown to be in such a small enclosure, one laying in a depressed state while the other paced in need for exercise and to stretch their legs. I believe everyone should boycott stores like this in our area and in general. This is a poorly run establishment obviously benefitting from the puppy mill business. Remember to be careful of these types of stores and don’t be fooled by the cute puppies, rather look at the dire conditions they are trapped in being sold for absurdly high prices.
Especially during the holiday season, remember your option to adopt animals from reliable animal shelters in your area. Animal shelters run by organizations such as the MSPCA truly care for the wellbeing of the animals and rescue them rather than sell them for profit. According to the MSCPA, “Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year” (ASPCA.org). This is an astonishing number and just shows what options you have at local shelters rather than buying into puppy mills.
This holiday season, for the wellbeing of dogs, cats and respect to all animals, adopt from a certified shelter and save a furry friend who could be a companion for life.
Holly Pearson is the Editor-in-Chief for The Comment.