Adopt, don’t shop: Shelters save lives

Kyra Slakes, Photo Editor

The statistics are large and alarming: There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States and more than 2 million puppies are bred in mills each year. In addition, an estimated 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in shelters yearly.

Many puppies that are found at puppy mills are not taken care of. They may have bleeding and swollen paws from the wire cages they’re in, severe tooth decay, severe ear infections, dehydration, and a plethora of other health issues.

In most states, puppy mills are legal as long as the people go through training and get the proper permits. But there are the “backyard breeders” who decide to have some dogs and to make some money off them. In 2009, Wisconsin became the 10th state to adopt legislation cracking down on puppy mills, “requiring licensing, inspection and basic standards of humane care at large-scale dog breeding operations.” 

But all too often, puppy mills will overbreed dogs despite the dogs having some kind of genetic defect or other kinds of health issues. Again, some of the breeders don’t care. As long as they can make money, they’re going to keep doing what they’re doing.

Once a mother dog is no longer able to produce puppies, the mill owners often will kill her because she is no longer useful to them. Sometimes, they will kill the mother dogs by starving them, shooting them, drowning them, beating them, or a number of other cruel and heartless ways.

There are many dogs that have been in some shelters for years, and when they are in those shelters for too long, their lives often come to an end. While there are a number of no-kill shelters across the United States — including the Oshkosh Area Humane Society —  those shelters only have so much room and if those shelters run out of room, it’s more likely that those other dogs will end up at a shelter that does end up euthanizing them.

There is a law that varies from state to state that gives some wiggle room in terms of how long a dog can be in a shelter before it is euthanized, but sometimes it’s simply not enough time. Some shelters have a five to seven-day period before they’ll do anything;  others only give 48 to 72 hours. In Wisconsin, there is a law about who has custody of an animal may have the animal euthanized if there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the following applies: (a) The animal is hopelessly injured beyond any reasonable chance of recovery. (b) The animal poses an imminent threat to public health or safety.

The Wisconsin Humane Society never euthanizes animals for reasons of space or time. All animals in their adoption program have as long as it takes to find a new home.We all enjoy having our pets in our lives and we treat our pets like family, so if you’re looking to expand your family in this manner, adopt, don’t shop. To learn more about animal adoption, go to the Wisconsin Humane Society at

Kyra Slakes / Advance-Titan
Adopting from animal shelters is a great way to expand your family while saving abandoned animals in need of a loving home.