A recent investigation by the Beijing Morning Post exposed on the front page the seedy underworld of puppy-mills and dog trading in the Chinese capital and the filthy, inhumane conditions under which animals are kept alive--just long enough to be sold. Buyer beware, Danwei warns, “it is likely that lively little puppy will die the moment you get home!”
Although this article concentrates on puppy mills in China, the practices described are undoubtedly common in many cities, states and countries throughout the world and should be a warning to anyone not to buy an animal from any Internet broker or commercial pet dealer.
The Beijing Morning Post interviewed Ms. Wang, who decided to get a puppy last month from the Xinguanyuan dog market, close to Zizhu Bridge in Beijing.
Ms. Wang chose what she described as a "very energetic" 2-month-old dog. But, within two days after bringing the puppy home, he began coughing and vomiting; and Ms. Wang rushed him to the vet right away. She said she was grief stricken when she was told that her new puppy was infected with canine parvovirus as well as canine distemper virus, which had already affected the dog’s nervous system. The veterinarian gave the puppy little chance of surviving, and advised euthanasia.
Ms. Wang phoned the pet dealer, telling him what happened to the puppy and asking why he had sold her a sick animal. The man was unrepentant, she said, and replied merely,”All animals die.”
Ms Wang told reporters that, thinking back, when she selected the puppy she was at first insistent upon taking him for a veterinarian examination. But she was discouraged by the seller, who told her it would be a huge waste of money and would put the young dog at risk of contracting an infection from other sick animals. He said, “See, this dog is alive and well. If you buy it now it’s no longer our responsibility,” she recalled.
The Beijing Morning Post found that Ms Wang wasn't the only new dog owner to feel pressured by this sales pitch--nor was she the only one to have her pet die after only a few days. They also interviewed Ms. Zhang, Ms. Su and many others – none of the dogs they bought at Xinguanyuan or Liyuan dog markets lived more than a week.
SICK ANIMALS GET BLOOD SERIUM AND ARE “PUSHED” FOR QUICK SALES
Puppies which begin to show symptoms of illness are pushed for sale to unknowing and unsuspecting customers as quickly as possible. The dogs that are sold in these markets all come the various local puppy-mill breeding kennels in Beijing, each of which can have more than a thousand dogs.
The Post conducted a physical investigation of these facilities and found the dogs were kept in horrifically overcrowded and disgustingly unsanitary conditions--veritable breeding grounds for disease. One dog breeders told the newspaper, “It is simply impossible that there are not a lot of infected dogs there…infections spread rapidly. “
Cages in which the dogs are kept are not disinfected daily, in order to keep down costs; and, even when a disinfectant is used, the dose is diluted. “Don’t even think about disinfecting every dog every day, said the breeder, “We simply don’t have the ability to give the dogs a better environment.”
It is because dogs are infected with all kinds of illnesses at a very young age at the puppy mills that the breeders have to sell them fast. At the pet market, which sells to retail pet dealers, if a dog worth between 2,000 ($320) and 3,000 yuan ($480) is found to be ill, it would be given a blood serum shot to try to suppress the progress of the disease, and the price may be dropped as low as 800 to 1,000 ($160) yuan for quick sale.
If the disease is serious, the dog will go for as little as 500 yuan (under $80). According to the breeder who was interviewed, the puppy-mill breeders do not ordinarily try to conceal the condition of the dogs at the wholesale market because those who do retail sales “know what a sick dog looks like.”
INJECTIONS BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM--FOR ABOUT A WEEK
The pet dealers reason that the public would not buy a dog that is too cheap, so they maintain the normal price for buyers. They also know that a buyer will not pay for a dog that looks sick, so the sick animals are injected with a very potent monoclonal-antibody-therapy injection, which stimulates the animal's immune system. That makes them energetic and to appear healthy for about a week.
Since the sellers know that the dogs will die anyway, they buy as cheaply as they can, pump up the animals with drugs and then hope to sell them as soon as possible. Within the first week in their new home, invariably the baby dogs succumb to the infections.
BEIJING ANIMAL HYGEINE CONTROL OFFICE HAS NO PLANS FOR PENALTIES
Unfortunately, despite the Post's excellent investigative work, there seems to be little chance of improvement to these inhumane puppy mills and pet markets any time soon. The Beijing Animal Hygiene Control Office was called by a reporter and they confirmed that they constantly receive complaints from citizens about this issue, but there are no plans to introduce penalties or regulations to prevent it at this time.
The Beijing Morning Post poses the question for all of us…When, will be a good time?
Beijing morning post (“一周狗”背后的利益链)