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The REAL Cost of that Doggie in the Window

Story ID:4532
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:2008
Person:various
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This week when I took the Best Friends quiz on the internet re my
knowledge of Puppy Mills, the song "How Much is that Doggie in the
Window?" came to mind. I suspect that a goodly number of readers weren't
even born when Bob Merrill wrote it in 1952. Patti Page recorded the best-
known version on December 18, 1952 and I found that the flip side of
her record was "My Jealous Eyes" - one of my all time favorites which
I would love to hear at least occasionally. However, no one seems to
ever play any of these beautiful "golden oldies" any more. What a pity.
Shouldn't there be a place for them?

But recalling the Doggie song was not a pleasant experience because
it reminded me of just how ignorant we were then and many of us probably
still are re the origin of these puppies sold from pet shops. They were so
cute and cuddly that we never could imagine that many were the products
of Puppy Mills and that their parents suffered then and many are still
suffering in these horrible places. We in animal rights knew about them
for years and years, and yet nothing was ever done to stop them. Thankfully,
we are being slowly educated with TV exposure like Oprah's re this terrible
means of yet another way in which we harm our animals in the name
of free enterprise. And, of course, animal rights organizations keep on
sending the message of animal cruelty to whomever will listen to it.

So, I took the small quiz Best Friends sent us re The Animal Welfare Act
and how it "protects" dogs in Puppy Mills. The Animal Welfare Act was passed
in 1966 and amended in 1970, 1976, 1985, and 1990. Like so many of these
Acts - you need to have a lawyer explain the ramifications of the Act and
the amendments, but sadly the small quiz re Puppy Mills made me realize
that Congress generally is not looking out for the welfare of the animals -
in this case - the dogs which are made to breed ad infinatum in puppy mills
in small cages - many for their whole lives. Of course, you can judge for
yourself re these regulations.

Here are the 10 questions that Best Friends had at their site. I have answered
them simply to expidite the procedure.

1. The Animal Welfare Act is a federal law that is supposed to protect the
breeding dogs used in puppy mills. Which president signed the original
bill?

a. F. Roosevelt.
b. L. JOHNSON
c. R. Nixon.
d. W. Clinton.

2. One dog's story impacted America and Congress to act and pass the
Animal Welfare Act. Who was this dog?

a. PEPPER, A DALMATION
b. Tramp, a Cocker Spaniel.
c. Feathers, an English Sheepdog.
d. Old Red, a mixed breed hound.

3. Under the Act- if an inspector finds a dog suffering from an untreated
injury in a USDA licensed kennel, what can the inspector do to the breeder?

a. Prosecute the breeder for animal abuse.
b. Fine the breeder.
c. GIVE THE BREEDER A WRITTEN VIOLATION.
d. Make the breeder get medical help for the dog.

4. Which US state has more USDA licensed dog breeders than any other
state?

a. California.
b. Pennsylvania.
c. MISSOURI.
d Oklahoma.

5. Can a person who has been convicted of animal abuse or cruelty keep
their USDA license?

a. No, they must go through a background check every year.
b. No, if they are convicted they must voluntarily surrender their license....
c. Yes, the AWA doesn't address acts of cruelty under state laws.
d. YES, SOMEONE CANNOT OBTAIN A NEW LICENSE WITHIN A YEAR
OF A CONVICTION, BUT ONCE THEY HAVE A LICENSE, IT DOESN'T MATTER
WHAT CRUELTY CHARGES THEY ARE CONVICTED OF UNDER A STATE LAW.

6. What is the limit of adult dogs that a kennel can have?

a. 10 dogs for each full time employee.
b. 100 dogs per acre.
c. THERE IS NO LIMIT.
c. No more than 1,000 dogs per kennel.

7. Minimum cage size. The USDA formula to determine the minimum
cage size. How far can a dog go in his cage from front to back?

a. SIX INCHES.
b. Twice its own length.
c. It would depend on the size of the dog.
d. Four times its length.

8. How far must the cage top be from the top of the dog's head?

a. Twice the height of the dog.
b. The dog must be able to stand on his back legs without his head touching
the top of the cage.
c. The only requirement is that the dog's head can't touch the top of the cage
when standing up in a normal postion.
d. WHEN STANDING IN A NORMAL POSITION, THERE MUST BE AT LEAST SIX
INCHES ABOVE THE HEAD.

9. USDA does address exercise for cage dogs. Two or more dogs in the same
cage are considered exercise as long as each has the minimum space
required. But for the solitary dog what does USDA consider acceptable
exercise for dogs?

a. The dogs must be given access to a yard so they can exercise at least
2 hours a day.
b. They must be walked on a leash at least 1/4 of a mile each day.
c. They must be put on the ground and walked or allowed to run in a fenced
area at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
d. THE BREEDER MUST HAVE AN EXERCISE PLAN ON FILE, APPROVED BY
THEIR VETERINARIAN.

10. Is it against the regulations for a USDA licensed kennel to sell puppies
to a pet store before the age of 8 weeks?

a. Yes, the AWA requires them to be 8 weeks old.
b. No, as long as they are weaned and eating on their own.
c. No, as long as at least two puppies from the same litter are sold together
so they can keep each other company.
d. NO, THEY CAN BE SOLD AT ANY TIME TO A PET STORE.

I don't know about you but I would bow my head in shame if I was one of the
legislators who drafted or voted for this legislation. If this is the best we can
do for man's best friend, it is no wonder that he and she (especially the female
dog who is bred and bred and bred until she can breed no more) continue to
suffer in these horrendous puppy mills. It would be poetic justice if there was
such a thing as re-incarnation and these legislators found themselves in a
puppy mill to "enjoy" the fruits of this part of the Animal Welfare Act. Ditto-
the puppy mill breeders and any who are in anyway involved in this cruelty.