Help put cruel mills out of business by adopting puppy from a nonprofit


POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2008

Question: We want to get a puppy, but how do we be sure it doesn't come from a puppy mill?

Answer: Puppy mills are a sad reality, and most are legal as long as owners meet the minimum standard of care that state law requires - basically, shelter from the elements, access to fresh water, health care and food. Dogs can live a miserable existence in minimal conditions without regard to their psychological and physical needs, and it's still legal.

Before you begin the hunt for that perfect pup companion, be sure you've asked yourself all the right questions. Why do you want an animal? Can you afford one? Are you prepared to take care of a dog every day for its entire life?

If you're ready for that commitment and joy, the Hawaiian Humane Society, other shelters, a rescue group or an adoption network are the only sources that are not part of a for-profit enterprise. Breeding for profit is big business. The only way to bring an end to puppy mills is to end consumer demand and raise awareness among your family and friends.

If you're looking for a purebred, it's best to get a referral for a responsible local breeder or check out Ilio magazine. A breeder should welcome your visit to meet the mother dog and her pups, inspect their living quarters and invite your questions and concerns. A 30-day money-back guarantee to ensure your satisfaction also is a good idea.

High-risk sources include newspaper ads, puppy swap meets and people selling animals out of their cars.

Q: Does the Humane Society have a list of pet stores it endorses?

A: No, because many pet-shop pups could be imported from foreign countries where there's just no way to verify that the animals are bred and raised humanely.

Q: Does the Humane Society have puppies?

A: October is puppy season, when we typically get our largest influx of puppies. In fact, the Humane Society found new families for more than 860 unwanted puppies last year.

You can always call the adoptions desk, 356-2218, to check on availability of pups, but animals cannot be reserved over the phone.

This month only, all dog adoptions come with a starter kit with a free bag of food, product coupons and a month's supply of flea preventative.