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Paris Hilton Supports Puppy Mills
She probably didn't realize it at the time, but self-proclaimed animal rights activist Paris Hilton supported puppy mills with the purchase of her male chihuahua.
Paris bought her new best friend from a "pet store to the stars" in Los Angeles on July 25, 2007. I don't know where she got the infamous Tinkerbell or any other dog she may have, but the purhase of that one dog from the Pets of Bel Air allowed puppy mills and backyard breeders to indenture tens of other dogs into lifelong servitude of forced breeding.
When we buy that cute puppy in the pet store window, we're not just buying that puppy; we are feeding money into the industry of mass dog breeding, pet overpopulation, serious health problems, extreme animal abuse... the problem of puppy mills.
Paris' New Chihuahua
The pet store where Paris bought her chihuahua, Pets of Bel Air, publicly states on its website that it does not buy from puppy mills. They say that they only buy from "private" breeders, "both locally and out of state."
The Human Society of the United States' investigation of their store seems to differ. In the video below, employees of the pet store (including managers) state that they are instructed to repeat to customers that their dogs do not come from puppy mills and that they are not sick.
But HSUS' investigation continues by going to the "kennels" from which Pets of Bel Air buys their puppies. Interesting how abused those dogs are and how much those "kennels" appear to be puppy mills, huh?
Pets of Bel Air: Peddling Puppy Mill Pups
Pets of Bel Air's Defense
Recently, Pets of Bel Air posted a letter on the front page of their website, emphasizing that they do not "condone" puppy mills and are horrified at the Humane Society's footage.
They blame the USDA (who gives them their license to be high-volume animal brokers), who investigate the store's "breeders" for them. The store (and undoubtedly their lawyers) try to put all culpability on an understaffed governmental agency whose main concern is hardly with out-of-control dog breeding.
They also acknowledge that their license to sell animals has expired but insist that they are correcting the problem and will continue to run their business with "integrity."
Victims of Pets of Bel Air (Part 1)
Victim of Pets of Bel Air (Part 2)
What's Wrong With Puppy Mills?
If you're not convinced with the animal abuse issues of puppy mills, consider how buying a puppy mill dog will affect you, personally.
And in case you don't believe me, feel free to check out the testimonials of the families who bought from Pets of Bel Air in the videos to the right who were horrified when they realized the origins of their dogs and the issues they would cause.
- He will break your heart. Imagine bringing a cuddly new puppy home, buying all his accessories and falling in love, and then having him die within the first few days with his new family. Imagine that the pet store blames you for your puppy getting sick.
- He will be expensive right away. Reputably bred dogs are health insured by the breeder and have impeccably healthy parents. Puppy mill dogs come with the immediate problems of parvo, distemper, upper respiratory infections.
- He will be expensive long-term. If they survive those issues, they can have sight and hearing problems that present after the pet store's "warranty" runs out, as well as hip and joint problems and any other breed-specific ailment that reputable breeders so intently avoid.
- He can have serious behavioral issues. A reputable breeder socializes her puppies in the first few weeks of their lives to ensure they will love men, women, children, and other animals. Puppy mill dogs leave their mothers and littermates far before they are ready and are often fearful or aggressive.
But Paris' Puppy Didn't Die!
It's true, not every puppy mill puppy will die or have health/behavioral issues. Some pet-store-bought pups grow up to be happy adults and live with the same family their whole life.
But more of them get discarded after their new "homes" realize how much work a puppy is. They end up in shelters to be euthanized or on the streets. And the Pets of Bel Air doesn't even care; they already pocketed their profit on those pups and have moved on to the next ones.
And even if Paris' puppy didn't die or fall ill (and I doubt she'll rehome him; she has plenty of people to do the dirty work), by paying the pet store and the puppy mills thousands of dollars for her chihuahua, she doomed his parents and some of their offspring to be mass breeders for the rest of their lives.
What is a Reputable Breeder?
A reputable breeder breeds only with the intention of having healthy dogs who are up to "breed standard" and who will live out their lives in loving homes.
A reputable breeder does not breed two dogs until they have OFA and CERF certified them and done any other preventative test on the parents to make sure that they will not pass on any unwanted genetic predisposal to disease.
They will also not breed two dogs together until they have set up homes for all the puppies. That's right! No breeding until homes have been set up for more puppies than could possibly come from a litter.
Then why would a "reputable breeder" sell to a puppy store?
The answer? They wouldn't. No reputable breeder sells their puppies through a third-party. Ever. It is written into the code of ethics of most breed clubs in the United States to never sell through a third-party because the breeder cannot insure that the puppy is going to a good home.
As for Paris' chihuahua? According to the Chihuahua Breed Club's Code of Ethics, they agree never to sell their puppies to a third party. No reputable chihuahua breeder sold that dog to Pets of Bel Air. Paris' puppy came from a puppy mill.
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So Let's Stop Them!
It'd be pretty great if we could stop puppy mills. At least then we would only have backyard breeders to contend with. But the only way to stop them is to make owning a puppy mill unprofitable. And the only way to do that is to educate everyone.
Does your family member want a puppy? Are they planning on getting one from a puppy store? Tell them why they shouldn't! There are plenty of other ways to get a puppy who will be just as cute and won't be supporting a disgusting industry!
If they don't believe you, tell them to YouTube "puppy mills" or send them to this website! The only way to beat them is to get the word out, support legislation, and encourage everyone you know to get their dogs in responsible ways.
Paris Hilton may have bought her dogs from pet stores, but now you know better. Spread the word.
Resources on How to Get a Puppy
- Rescue, Buy, or Adopt?
The three responsible ways to find a puppy, the pros and cons of each, and where to start down each path.
- How to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder
Should you decide to buy from a breeder, here's how to find one who will help you through the process and give you a loving, healthy pup. You won't have to worry about your money going towards supporting a puppy mill!
- Choosing a Dog for a Family with Children
If you've got children, there are several extra factors you need to take into consideration before getting a dog. Don't buy the cutest one you see in that pet store window; do your research and bring home the best pet for your family!