Courtesy of The Sunday Tasmanian and Anne Boxall; 26 August 2012
Who, as a youngster, sang along to Patti Page’s 1950s hit How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?
This cutesy tune from way back was a staple of childhood for many and some young kids today still sing it with gusto. Back in the 50’s, the song was a sweet, harmless ditty about the irresistible appeal of puppies. Puppies are still appealing but a lot has happened in the world of puppy breeding since the 1950s, so much so that Patti Page has changed her tune. She recently stepped out of retirement and recorded a new version of her song to reflect the present day realities of puppy farming for profit. Both the original and the new versions can be found at http://vimeo.com/8681268
These days, more and more puppies are commercial commodities for unregistered, unregulated breeders. Buy a puppy from a pet shop, on-line or through the classifieds and there’s a fair chance you’re supporting a breeding-for-profit operation where the health and welfare of your puppy is secondary to taking your money.
In the United Kingdom, feeling runs high and it has become unacceptable for pet stores to sell puppies. It’s not illegal but almost all pet stores in the UK don’t sell puppies because they know it’s not a popular move. Protesters would show up to inform potential buyers of the cruel reality that can lay behind those cute puppies in the window.
Until breeders are registered, regulated and monitored, who really knows what goes on out of public view? Just two weeks ago here in this country, a raid on another puppy farm in Victoria found sixty neglected dogs in horrendous condition. Dogs had been confined in tiny cages that hadn’t been cleaned for months and others were without fresh air or light. The owner of the property (who didn’t live on-site and only visited every five days or so), will face multiple charges of animal cruelty. An attending vet was quoted as saying it was the worst case of neglect he had seen. All the animals will need extensive rehabilitation and vet care due to their poor condition and lack of human contact. Hopefully, in time they will be able to enjoy new lives in caring homes.
Meanwhile, as awareness of puppy farms grows, it follows that less and less people would buy from pet shops, classifieds or on-line operators. But there are still people who just don’t know. If you do know, then you are sorely needed to help close down irresponsible breeding operations – keep having the conversation with friends and family. Encourage pet adoption from a shelter or purchase from a registered breeder to remove market incentive for profit driven puppy peddlers.
If Patti Page can change her tune on sourcing puppies so can we.