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Puppy Mills: Going to the Dogs to Promote a Cause

Radnor shelter teams up with area congressmen to raise awareness about puppy mills.

Dogs at the Upper Main Line's Francisvale Home for Small Animals are a breed apart from puppy mill pets. They are well cared for in relatively spacious cages. They're given room to romp a little, and lots of loving attention from volunteers and adoptive families.

Francisvale staff members say that's in stark contrast to the conditions at puppy mills in Pennsylvania and around the country where dogs are forced to live in crowded, cramped conditions. Francisville Executive Director Jodi Button says breeding dogs in puppy mills are often kept locked up in small cages through litter after litter of puppies.

Francisvale is a 102-year-old no-kill shelter in Radnor Township where dogs ranging from strays to pets left behind by a family move can find a home. The shelter, like many others in Southeastern Pennsylvania is at capacity, and often over-capacity. The shelter hopes owners will come to Francisvale before buying puppies or kittens from a pet store or large breeding operation.

Francisvale got some high profile help to promote the cause as Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA6) and Pat Meehan (R-PA7) visited the shelter Thursday, bringing along the media and lots of cameras. The representatives were there to promote a bill that would create new federal regulations for breeders who sell more than 50 puppies a year. Gerlach is a prime sponsor of the PUPS (Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act) legislation which is currently being considered by House and Senate committees. Meehan is one of more than 100 co-sponsors.

Button and the lawmakers say in the absence of the legislation, potential pet owners can still put a big dent in the demand for puppy mill puppies. The simplest way, they say is by adopting from shelters like Francisvale.

Coming Friday on TE Patch: What to look for and things to do to avoid ending up with a puppy mill puppy and how you can help put an end to inhumane breeding conditions. It's much easier than you may think.

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