File photo (The Daily Iowan/Ben Smith)

Guest opinion: Iowa’s dark secret — puppy mills

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It is no secret that Iowa is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to the number of puppy mills it has, as well as the sheer number of breeders with violations. Iowa has more than 250 puppy mills and exports more than 100,000 puppies across state lines annually. These puppies go to brokers (people who make a living buying puppies and selling them at a higher price) or the puppies go straight to pet stores. Since 2013, Iowa has had 49 breeders on the Humane Society Horrible Hundred puppy mill list. Every single year, we have some of the worst breeders in the entire country.

Recent articles released by BailingOutBenji, an Iowan nonprofit organization devoted to informing the public about puppy mills, have linked Iowa puppy mills to pet stores all over the country, including Nebraska, Colorado, New York, and Florida. These puppies are being shipped for several hours — even days — in the backs of semis and cramped vans to be sold to the unsuspecting public. Sadly, many of these dogs are coming from some of those very same Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills. All the while, the public is told that the puppies are coming from licensed, reputable breeders.

We owe it to the dogs to do better.

When making the decision to add a pet to your family, choose wisely. Adoption is always a great first option, and there are many loving pets at your local rescue or shelter waiting for a family to call their own. If you choose to buy your next pet, make sure you ask questions and don’t buy the puppy without seeing the parents. Everyone in the market for a puppy should know the term puppy mill and how to avoid one.

So … How much is that doggy in the window? Too much. The cost falls on the suffering of the parent dogs back at the puppy mill. And that inhumane life is too high of a price.

Mindi Callison founder of Bailing

Out Benji

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