By Heather Chadwick

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Puppy mills are the open secret of pet shops everywhere. The curious, potential pet owner who has never purchased a pet before might see nothing wrong with going to the pet store in the mall, knowing only about the cute puppies and kittens they offer. And why not buy from them, right? They’re local and convenient, and if you’ve never heard of a puppy mill, then presumably you’d have nothing to worry about.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Often, new pet parents find themselves with sick pets, causing them to spend a lot of time and money at the vet’s office. Now the government has stepped in to help these pet parents with new legislation. 18 states currently have laws protecting people when buying pets. Michigan is now looking to be the next with The Puppy Mill Awareness of South East Michigan Group proposing a “Pet Lemon Law“. The proposed law would give people 90 days to to take the pet to a veterinarian to look for congenital defects.  It also allows a 30 day chance to take recently purchased pets to the vet to look for other illnesses.

According to the group, many new pet owners in the state buy their pets from pet stores, who come from dirty, unsanitary puppy mills. They allege the USDA overlooks the conditions, and even allows dogs to be shipped long distance, which is unsafe because puppies suffer from low immune systems. To prevent these instances, the group suggest adopting pets from rescue missions; in MI rescue missions adopt out vaccinated, fixed pets. Their pet care often comes from on-staff vets, an obviously better alternative then blindly buying a pet from just anywhere.