Tragedy in the Skies: Another Reason Buying a Pup Online Is a Bad Idea
In late February, a 12-week-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy was put on a plane in Ohio by a dog breeder and sent on a 2,000-mile flight to California. He died at some point on that flight—his lifeless body was discovered upon arrival by his horrified new owners, who bought him as a gift for their five-year-old daughter.
Sadly, this is not the first time a young puppy has suffered on a long-haul flight. Just two months ago, a two-pound Schnauzer puppy was left in cold temperatures for an hour outside of an aircraft and found huddled and shivering in the back of the kennel.
This is simply the cost of doing business for the cruel, online puppy-sales industry.
Puppies from commercial breeders (a.k.a. puppy mills) and brokers, sometimes as young as eight weeks old, are shipped all over the U.S., and sometimes abroad. A person who wants a puppy can go to a website, choose a dog, pay for her and have her flown cross-country, as cargo, with a few clicks of a mouse. Transporting a young, vulnerable animal this way is quite risky, but breeders and puppy brokers do not care. They want to make a quick buck and they have plenty of puppies to go around.
A lot of these transactions end with heartbreak. Sometimes people pay big bucks for a puppy who doesn’t exist, only to see the website has been removed, leaving them without any chance of getting their money back. Other times, people are promised a new puppy who’s in perfect health, only to receive a dog who’s seriously ill. In many cases, like the one from last month, the puppy doesn’t survive the trip.
These stories are reminders that buying a dog online is a big risk. Even if a puppy survives the transport, how can you tell if the seller you met online is a responsible, caring dog breeder or a puppy mill? Most likely, you can’t. You also can’t always know if a puppy you see online even exists, or if his parents live in a tiny, filthy cage in the backyard, which is typical in the puppy mill industry.
Even people who know where pet store and online puppies come from can have a hard time resisting their cuteness, and there are A LOT of cute puppies on the Internet. Help us end the cruel breeding industry by opting to adopt your next pup and encouraging your friends and family to do the same. If you do decide to use a breeder, find one that’s close enough that airplane transport doesn’t need to be involved. Take your time to find a good breeder, and do your homework to make sure you don’t support cruelty.