Tucson Puppy Mill Protests Beginby Karyn Zoldan on Nov. 19, 2011, under Animal Cruelty, Animal Events, Animal News, Dogs, Canines, Fun with Fido, Barking Encouraged, Pet Health & Safety, Serious Saturdays
Meet Jamie Massey. He’s a local animal advocate. Currently, his mission is to ban pet stores from selling dogs. Pet store puppies traditionally come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are for profit businesses that do mass breeding of dogs under the worst of conditions. With all the unwanted pets and animals being put to death, we don’t need no stinkin’ puppy mills or backyard breeders.
Massey also organizes protests. If you despise puppy mills and the stores that sell their puppies, consider coming to a protest by the Tucson Mall, holding a sign, and meeting like-minded people. The schedule is at the bottom of the interview.
Now more from Massey:
KZ: What is your background in animal advocacy and raising awareness about puppy mills?
JM: I’ve been involved at one level or another with every major campaign on behalf of animals in Arizona for the past 20 years: getting traps off public lands, outlawing cockfighting, passing spay/neuter laws, reforming factory farming, the dog racing fiasco in South Tucson, and puppy mills. I started organizing puppy mill protests 2 1/2 years ago after learning that at least four Tucson pet stores were getting dogs from puppy mills.
KZ: Why are you protesting Animal Kingdom?
JM: Animal Kingdom is the only pet store in Tucson that we know is still buying dogs from the Hunte Corporation of Missouri. Hunte is known as the largest broker of Midwest puppy mill puppies. Despite all of the rhetoric, there is no way they keep a handle on how 80,000 to 90,000 puppies are bred each year.
KZ: What are puppy mills?
JM: What makes a breeder a puppy miller is a matter of degree. Are the breeding females ever provided with veterinary care? Are they ever allowed out of their wire cages to exercise? Are they ever given any socialization or grooming? Are they given sufficient protection from the elements? The answer to those questions is “no” across the board for some puppy mills.
KZ: Animal Kingdom’s website says: “Where are your puppies purchased? Our puppies are purchased only from caring private breeders. We do not support puppy mills nor any other unethical breeders. Working with strict company guidelines, our experienced buyers purchase our puppies from reputable, United States Government inspected breeders. They practice rigorous USDA cleanliness and health standards. We insist on purchasing only the highest quality companions with health being the #1 priority. We have established long term relationships with our supplies and breeders while working closely with them as part of our team.”
How can you be so sure that Animal Kingdom gets their puppies from Hunte Corporation?
JM: The manager of Animal Kingdom told me they buy dogs from the Hunte Corporation. That’s who they have a long term relationship with, not not the individual breeders in the Midwest.
KZ: What are the health problems of puppy mill dogs?
JM: The puppies sometimes suffer from problems associated with inbreeding and frequently suffer from infectious diseases which can be emotionally and financially devastating to the owners. They also tend to have separation anxiety because back in the cages their mothers are unable to get away. Those concerns though pale in contrast to the suffering of the breeding stock. The moms are why we’re out there.
KZ: What’s the difference between puppy mills and backyard breeders?
JM: In Arizona, there’s no way to know. Backyard breeders don’t have to comply with any ordinances, be licensed or inspected, or pay taxes. Buying a dog from a backyard breeder is a crap shoot.
KZ: Why are pet store dogs so expensive?
JM: I can’t answer that. Part of it may be that so many puppies die (Hunte has their own incinerator) or that they have to be transported across country. Part of it may be greed or psychology: people often assume that if the dog is expensive then it is better than an animal at the pound. They’re wrong.
KZ: Why do people buy dogs when there are so many unwanted dogs that need to be rescued right here in Tucson?
JM: I don’t think most people are moral creatures, weighing the consequences of their actions on others. Those who are react with great concern when they learn their puppy’s mother is languishing in a small, wire cage.
KZ: What can people do who want to see an end to puppy mills?
JM: They should avoid buying from pet stores. Even stores like The Puppy Place and Tropical Kingdom, who don’t buy through the Hunte Corporation and instead buy from local sources, may be buying from breeders who are as despicable as the ones in Missouri and Kansas. There’s no way to know without an on-site inspection. If the breeder tells you he’ll meet you at Walmart, then he’s probably a puppy miller. Some puppy millers have hundreds of dogs–there’s simply no way to responsibly take care of that many dogs!
Join a puppy mill protest. Here are the dates:
Friday – Nov. 25 (take a break from shopping)
Saturday – Nov. 26 (yes, the very next day)
Saturday – Dec. 3
Saturday – Dec. 10
Saturday – Dec. 17
All protests will be from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the corner of Oracle & Wetmore.
On another note, Westcor mall management in Phoenix/Scottsdale is severing ties with businesses that are connected to breeders. In Phoenix, pet overpopulation is an epidemic and our neighbors to the north want to do something about it. Hey Tucson…are you listening? Is Phoenix more progressive about controlling their pet population? Unfortunately, Westcor does not manage Tucson Mall where the Animal Kingdom pet store is. The Tucson Mall is managed by General Growth Properties.
Fortunately, two Tucson’s Petland locations have closed.
For a list of local rescues and shelters in Southern Arizona, go here.