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September 22, 2011

Kids' Mission: A Cause for Paws

Help stop puppy mills!

  • Dogs in puppy mills often spend their whole lives in dirty, rusty cages. Paul Turner/The HSUS

  • Some puppy mill dogs live in small outdoor hutches all year round, never getting the chance to go for a walk or roll in the grass. The HSUS

  • Help put puppy mills out of business! Ask people to get their pets at animal shelters or good breeders, rather than buying them at pet shops or online. iStockphoto

Your mission: Learn proper dog care and teach people how to get a dog with supporting puppy mills. 

Why? Dogs in puppy mills have sad, lonely lives. The puppies' parents are often kept outdoors in cages for their whole lives. Many of them are sick, but they get little or no vet care. They never see a bed, treat, or toy—much less a tummy rub or a friendly pat on the head.

Their puppies, sold in pet stores or online, are often sick, too. And puppy mills churn out puppies for pet shops while dogs in animal shelters wait for loving homes. There aren't enough homes for them all!

How? Write letters to your lawmakers. Educate your family, classmates, and community about proper dog care and the cruelty of puppy mills. Ask your parents, teacher, or friends to help you!

1. Know your stuff. A puppy mill is a business, so it is designed to make money, not to take care of the dogs. Dogs in puppy mills don't get exercise, veterinary care, or even contact with people. 

A national law says that dogs in puppy mills should have basic care, but puppy mills often don't follow it. There are few inspectors and minor punishments. This makes it easy to break the law. Puppy mills can also get around the law by selling puppies over the internet. 

Every state has different laws about the care of dogs in puppy mills. Some require kennels and breeders to be licensed and inspected. Other states do not. How does your state define proper care? Are puppy mills required by law to give proper sanitation, ventilation, or nutrition for their dogs? Learn the laws for your state.

2. Write on! Write letters to your state and federal lawmakers. Let them know that you are concerned about how dogs in puppy mills are treated. Ask them to support laws that make life better for puppy mill dogs. Or thank them if they have supported these laws in the past. Visit humanesociety.org/leglookup and enter your ZIP code to find your elected officials' names.

3. Entertain and educate! Think about the things that all dogs and puppies need in order to be healthy and happy. Then create a puppet show about proper dog care and how puppy mills fall short. See if you can perform the show for your class, other students in your school or church, or other community group. You may want to find a friend or two to help you present your puppet show.

 ● Prepare a script for your puppet show or play. Talk about what a puppy mill is and how people can make sure that a new puppy is not from a puppy mill.

Let people know the number one way they can help shut down puppy mills: avoid purchasing dogs from pet stores! Instead, adopt pets from a local animal shelter or rescue group. 

Here are some important terms you may want to include in your script: food, water, toys, ID tags, puppy mill, animal shelter, exercise, training, love, breeder, veterinary care, bedding, collar, leash, grooming, cage.

 ● Construct puppets for your presentation. Look for instructions at Puppet Craft Projects, or learn how to make a Puppy Puppet, a Doggy Hand Puppet, or Paper Bag Puppets

 ● Practice your play before you present!

4. Pass it on. Print the Puppy Buying Tips. Pass them out to classmates and family members. Tell everyone to make sure they are bringing healthy pets into their homes.

5. Tell us about it. Send an email to kids@humanesociety.org. Be sure to keep copies of your letter, fliers, and the script for your play. We may ask to see them!

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