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To The Editor:
I was reminded of just how important our mission is at the North Country Animal League as I watched Oprah's special show last Friday on puppy mills in America. The program focused on the abusive treatment of dogs as they are mass-produced for profit. These puppies end up for sale in pet stores, while local animal shelters are beyond their capacity, trying to handle the consistent overflow of stray and abandoned animals.
The television segment showed that in many cases the adult female dogs at these puppy mills have never been out of their cages, may have never learned how to walk on anything other than the base of a wire cage. They are never washed or medically treated and have never been given a name or experienced kindness or the slightest affection. Many have been brutally "de-barked" and may have had multiple Caesarian sections without anesthesia, most likely performed by an unqualified person. Then when the females are no longer able to produce more puppies, they are most often abandoned or killed by the owners.
The program focused on the overpopulation of dogs and cats and the importance of having animals spayed or neutered. Between four to eight million dogs and cats are killed per year. The idea that society accepts mass producing animals while our animal shelters are over-capacity and are forced to euthanize does not make any sense.
The most important point was to remind people that if they are considering adopting a pet they should first visit a local animal shelter or animal rescue office. Most shelters have fully vetted the animals, including the spaying and neutering, and have determined if the animals will be good with children and good with other dogs and cats. If you are looking for a purebred animal, they can be found at local shelters or online at Petfinder (www.petfinder.com) or through a reputable breeder.
Joe Kelly, executive director
North Country Animal League