Opinion

Plenty of alternatives to puppy mills

On Jan. 3, a young Surrey couple sadly became the newest victim of online puppy mill sales.

Within 24 hours of picking her up from a “breeder” in Surrey, their adorable eight-week old black Lab mix puppy, Mica, was fighting for her life thanks to the preventable yet deadly parvovirus she contracted while at the breeder that sold her.

For several days she was hospitalized in intensive care, and after seven days on IV fluids and around-the-clock care, she seems to have pulled through – though with mounting veterinary bills because someone put profit before the well-being of an animal yet again.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious life-threatening disease common in unvaccinated dogs and puppies of unvaccinated mothers. It causes severe damage to the gastrointestinal tract. It is contracted through direct contact with an infected dog’s feces and symptoms begin three to seven days later.

Veterinary care, hospitalization, re-hydration and symptomatic therapy for a puppy with parvovirus is costly. Even with aggressive treatment, a fatal outcome is possible.

If the mother of this puppy and the adult dogs in the home were properly vaccinated, and the environment properly controlled, Mica would not have been in the dire life-threatening situation she was in.

Unfortunately Mica’s story is not an isolated one. The BCSPCA is limited in what it can do, as existing laws do not regulate breeding practices which means it’s up to us to stop creating demand for animals from these disgraceful breeders.

I am registered veterinary technologist, a Surrey resident and volunteer with Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, which has stepped in to help pay for the remaining veterinary costs of Mica’s care.

Paws for Hope asks that each of you pledge to be responsible pet guardians, beginning with not buying pets online or from newspaper ads. Our Pets Are Not Products campaign provides education regarding the animal welfare issues associated with the retail sale of pets.

There are many alternatives to acquiring a pet in a responsible and humane way. This includes adopting through a shelter or responsible rescue, or through a responsible breeder which in the end means less heartache and suffering for all involved.

Let’s make 2014 a smart pet adoption year. I promise this is one resolution that’s easy to keep.

 

Lisa Henderson, Vice-President

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation

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