To the editor:
As a resident of Blaine, I value the humane treatment of animals. Right now my city is contributing to animal cruelty by allowing the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores, and I know we can do better.
There are six pet stores in Blaine, and five of them follow a humane business model. Unfortunately, one Blaine pet store still clings to the outdated and controversial business model that relies on the sale of commercially bred puppies from puppy mills.
Export records from other states and consumer purchase statements combined with federal inspection records show a pattern over time of this Blaine store obtaining puppies from puppy mills that keep sometimes hundreds of dogs in squalid conditions. This includes buying puppies from breeders that have been cited for health and sanitation issues, like standing water mixed with feces, an ammonia level strong enough to make the inspector cough and feel a burning sensation in the throat, sick or injured dogs, dogs kept in small cages, and dogs needing veterinary care. One breeder’s federal inspection records show more than 1,000 dogs and puppies at the facility.
This has led to consumer complaints, many of which detail purchased puppies that were later diagnosed with kennel cough, intestinal issues or congenital issues. Some reported their puppy died shortly after purchase. There is a real urgency to this issue, perhaps now more than ever. With so many struggling families, it’s painful to think of even one more going to a pet store to bring a new puppy into their lives, only to end up with a sick puppy requiring expensive veterinary care and causing so much heartbreak.
Pet stores allow puppy mills to keep their cruelty hidden. The public only sees the cute puppy in the pet store window, while the mother dog languishing in a faraway mill is forgotten. Blaine should join Roseville, Eden Prairie, St. Paul, Carver, Cloquet and the nearly 400 other localities across the nation in enacting a policy that cuts off the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline and drives the pet market towards more humane sources.