Colorado Springs City Council urged to ban puppy-mill dogs from stores

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My little friend came from a dog rescue operation, not a pet store. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • My little friend came from a dog rescue operation, not a pet store.
When we decided to get a new puppy, we didn't go to a pet store. We didn't even go to a breeder. Instead, we went to PetSmart where Dream Power, now defunct locally, had a line up of rescues available to anyone with a big heart and a good home.

Now, a group of people who care deeply for dogs and cats are urging Colorado Springs City Council to ban the sale of commercially bred dogs in local pet stores, a step already taken in at least 20 states and 200 cities and counties across the country, one advocate told Council Tuesday.

A half-dozen local residents urged Council to put an end to the misery of puppy mill dogs, who, as Bonnie Johnson said, use dogs as machines to crank out puppies with no concern for their health or well being.

One puppy mill dog she adopted spent 12 years as a puppy machine, pumping out 24 litters for a total of 96 puppies in her lifetime. She didn't receive heartworm treatment and was dumped with open mammary tumors. With veterinary care, she survived. In her lifetime, though, she made her puppy-mill owners some $250,000.

Others gave similar stories of dogs who's teeth decay due to them being forced to drink from a cage bottle. As one put it, these dogs live in cages that are six inches larger than their bodies — for their entire lives.

The idea, says one advocate, is to dry up the market for puppy mills by encouraging pet stores to work with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and rescue-dog groups to market homeless animals and help reduce the country's overpopulation of dogs, and cats as well.

That, in turn, will lower the cost of operating animals shelters. Colorado Springs pays the Humane Society some $1.4 million a year to provide animal control.

One advocate mentioned that a bill has been introduced to impose a ban statewide but didn't mention what kind of a chance it has.

It's unclear whether Council will start the process to adopt an ordinance or refer a measure to voters. (The city election is April 4, and it's too late for this election cycle.) But Councilor Jill Gaebler is working with the group, and Councilor Bill Murray expressed interest in joining their cause.

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