September is National Puppy Mill Awareness Month, and the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wants people to “get their feet wet” before buying a new dog.
“A lot of people don’t know that puppy mills aren’t illegal in New York State,” Susquehanna SPCA executive director Stacie Haynes said Wednesday.
People can register their puppy mill with Agriculture and State Markets and be inspected, Haynes said. Some Otsego County puppy mills are state registered while others are not and there is no fine for not registering a puppy mill. As long as the puppy mill provides food and shelter and is immune to certain diseases, it can pass inspection, she said.
She said many puppy mills house their dogs in crates stacked on top of each other and have grids for the feces to fall into, she said. Puppy mill dogs came to the shelter with matted fur and feces in their fur, she said.
“Mothers are in cages their entire lives and the only human contact they have is when the owner walks up to pick up their puppies,” said Haynes.
She said her family recently adopted a bitch that came from a puppy mill and said that every time they pet her she lifts her hind leg to abandon her puppies even though she doesn’t have one.
Haynes said she would like puppy mills to be banned in New York City, but until then she would like people to stop buying puppy mills.
“The best way to stop puppy mills is for people to stop buying from them,” she said.
The Susquehanna SPCA wanted to educate the public that there are puppy mills in Otsego County, so the shelter launched the “PAWS Before You Pay” initiative last year, according to a press release. . PAWS stands for Puppy Mill Awareness With Shelter, according to the release.
Haynes was joined at last year’s PAWS press conference by Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Federation for the Protection of Animals, and Brian Shapiro, New York State director. with the Humane Society of the United States, according to the release. Participating shelters included the Schoharie Valley Animal Shelter, Delaware Valley Humane Society, Herkimer County Humane Society and Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans, according to the release.
“We ask people to visit a shelter first to see if there is a dog that will meet their needs,” said Haynes. “We are not against people buying a dog. We might not have the perfect match for a family that a breeder can have. We just ask people to take a break before buying.
Haynes said there are three questions people can ask before buying a puppy from a breeder to determine if it’s a puppy mill or not: can I meet mum and dad ? Are you registered with agriculture and markets? And can I see where you walk your dogs?
“If they say they’re not letting anyone look at their facilities, that should be a wake-up call,” Haynes said.
She said there are a number of wonderful breeders in the county and the SPCA doesn’t discourage people from buying animals from them.
Until Saturday October 2, the Susquehanna SPCA at 5082-5088 State Highway 28 in Cooperstown, will be hosting a PAWS event titled “Fall of Puppy Mills” for anyone interested in learning more about puppy mills and how to spot them, a media says liberation. Anyone who asks about the PAWS event will receive a free sticker and pumpkin donated by Middlefield Orchard, said Haynes.
Hours of operation are noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. Appointments to meet the animals are recommended, to avoid waiting times, but walk-ins are also welcome. For more information visit sqspca.org
Editor-in-chief Vicky Klukkert can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.