By Parvin Sandhu
In recent years, there has been a new trend of purchasing “too cute for words” pets from pet stores. Be it a cute Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Siberian husky, or even an exotic animal!
When I was 14, I desperately wanted a pet after visiting my friend’s home where they had a Shih Tzu. I pestered my mom day and night to get a dog and eventually she caved and took me to the pet store. It was the 25th of November 2007, a Sunday to be precise, and in the pet shop there were two Shih Tzus huddled in a small cage. My teenage self’s first reaction was “Oh my god, they are so cute, I want to take them home.” One of the dogs was rather quiet and uninterested and the other one was very excited and was trying its best to get our attention. We purchased the excited one, and named her Belle. From that day onwards, Belle became a part of our family. She is literally my everything, we love her beyond words, and the heartbreaking part of all this is is that she’s suffering from a hereditary disease called Mange. We have spent thousands of ringgits on her treatment but her condition has not improved, it has only gotten worse. There is no cure for this disease. The only cure would be to stop breeding dogs that have this inherited disease, but this is not happening, is it?
Now, the next question, where do these pet stores really get their puppies from? It’s called PUPPY MILLS and BACKYARD BREEDERS. The standard definition of a puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility. For me, it is called HELL ON EARTH! These poor dogs are kept there with no proper care or shelter and they are cramped up in tiny cages with their own faeces and urine. Their little feet have never touched the earth and their tiny frail bodies have never been held by tender human hands. Moreover, these dogs are often sick and diseased, and their babies are snatched away from them within a few days of birth. These dogs are unable to properly produce milk for their litter because of their lack of nutrition. The lack of food and water are a means to produce minimum waste, as the purpose of these dogs is to BREED. When they are no longer able to breed, they are thrown away on to the streets, or dumped in shelters or just brutally murdered.
Dogs being kept in cramped cages at a backyard breeding facility in Kajang.
Dogs kept in unsanitary conditions.
Furthermore, 90% of the dogs sold at pet stores have contracted a disease because of the unsanitary conditions in which their bred in. When these babies reach the pet stores, they are given very little food and water to ensure that they produce minimum faeces and urine. They are kept in small cages, where they cannot stand and movement is restricted.
Want to read more about Malaysia’s controversial Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders? Part II of this article will be published tomorrow, Tuesday, 7 May, 2013.