Every dog is special. While Australian laws do prevent some forms of animal cruelty, legislation against unethical puppy farms is still lagging behind. Fortunately, there are things you can do to send unethical dog breeders out of business. Stay informed and raise awareness about puppy mills and you’ll be helping every dog have a safe, happy life free from cruelty and abuse.

Do: Adopt your next puppy from a shelter

Right now, there are thousands of dogs around Australia looking for a home. You can find them at community based shelters around Australia. These dogs are looking for a second chance and you’re sure to find a puppy or grown pooch that’s a good match for you.

Why is adoption better than a puppy farm?

Puppy farms are for-profit unethical businesses that care more about the bottom line than the welfare of the dogs they breed. By adopting your next puppy from a shelter, you’re not only gaining a best friend, companion and family member. You’re also supporting ethical shelters and businesses that care for the welfare of their dogs. Remember also when you take a pet from a shelter, you are also making space for another one to be taken care of!

Older dogs need homes too

Dogs of all ages need love, support and forever homes. Older dogs can be great companions for low energy people, families that don’t have time for big walks every day, or just homes looking for another furry friend. By adopting an older dog you’re giving a pooch a home and sending a message to puppy farms that dogs are companions, not commodities.

Do: Support pet stores with ethical business models

When purchasing supplies for your pet; be it toys, collars, medications or food, support pet stores that are ethical in their business models and let your money do the talking. Research online if they sell pets (or have in the past). Ask in-store about their commitment to ethical animal treatment, and boycott stores that sell animals in-store. By supporting ethical business practices, you’re joining forces with thousands of other Australians who don’t want puppy mills to operate.

Do: Support laws to regulate the sale and breeding of puppies

While animal cruelty laws do prevent some poor treatment of dogs, there’s so much more we can to legislate against puppy mills and the unethical treatment of animals in Australia.

Write to your local member about ethical pet treatment. Advocate for stronger legislation in prosecuting offenders, sign petitions, or perhaps even start one of your own. It comes down to people power, which starts with you.

Do: Advocate for better treatment

Approach your local library and see if they’ll let you put up a display of informative flyers on puppy mills and ethical dog adoption. You don’t have to write the information yourself. Instead, contact the RSPCA and other animal rights groups. They’ll be more than happy to send you out any information you might need.

Don’t: Buy puppies online

There’s really no telling how ethical an online pet store is. They often portray dogs romping around in idyllic surroundings, but this is often not a true reflection of the conditions these poor animals are living in. Puppy farms are predatory in nature. Following dog trends, they force breeding to produce and sell more dogs, with very little concern for the welfare of the dogs.

Online stores allow puppy farm breeders to hide their unscrupulous behaviour behind a website. Overall, it’s better to adopt from local shelters than risk purchasing from an unknown source.

Don’t: Buy puppies from a store

Store bought puppies often come from puppy farms. A pet store’s goal should be to provide you with resources to help keep your pet healthy, engaged and happy, so you should seriously question any pet store selling puppies, especially when there are so many good dogs looking for homes at shelters.

Don’t: Ignore current laws

While current laws in Australia don’t do enough to prevent puppy mills, there are animal laws in place that everyone should be aware of. State and Territory governments are primarily responsible for outlining what constitutes animal cruelty. Here’s some info on how to spot animal cruelty and what to do. https://www.petsecure.com.au/pet-care/suspect-animal-cruelty/

Don’t: Turn a blind eye to puppy mills in your area

If you see something, say something. While Australian legislation is behind in many ways when it comes to protecting the welfare of puppies, you can raise awareness through community action and the power of social media.

For example, while it might be currently legal to keep a dog ‘confined to a barren concrete cell in a shed for 23 hours a day, churning out litter after litter of puppies,’ the stark reality of this treatment is enough to turn the stomachs of most decent people. Shining light on the unethical practices of puppy farms in your area can drive away sales and put them out of business.

Don’t: Give up or give in

Your efforts are vitally important to stopping the unethical breeding and treatment of puppies. Each of us can play a role in working towards a better future for pets of all kinds. Making smarter choices and educating others can help build momentum and put an end to puppy shelters in Australia.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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