Save lives: adopt don’t shop


Stephanie Stahl, Editor in Chief

When in search of a furry friend, the best place to look is at a local animal shelter. Not only does supporting animal shelters save lives and provide the community with jobs, it decreases sales in the puppy mill and breeder industries. Adopting dogs from shelters is less expensive, the dogs tend to be healthier, and they come spayed/neutered.

Adopting a pet from a shelter can cost anywhere from $50-$500 depending on the organization. This is a fraction of the price breeders and puppy mills charge. Pure bred dogs can cost thousands of dollars. Veronica Scharing, a Mesa student studying communications, said that adopting her dog was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. Scharing said, “I adopted my dog Lily from the Helen Woodward Animal Center two years ago. They were having an Easter sale, so her adoption fee was reduced to $25 that day.”

While the allure of a pure-bred Goldendoodle or English bulldog might seem worth it because they’re “oh-so cute”, the cash it will cost is not. Not only are they expensive to buy, but pure-bred dogs can suffer from more diseases than shelter dogs, which could mean expensive vet bills in the future, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Another benefit of adopting is that shelters have veterinarians neuter/spay their dogs and even provide various vaccinations. This helps reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies and combats the overpopulation of homeless pets.
If shopping for a pet is still something you’re considering, consider this: puppy mills and breeders come with complications and ethical dilemmas.

In 2017, California became the first state in the U.S. to ban puppy mills; however, they are still legal in many other states and are highly unregulated. Puppy mills are controversial due to the poor living conditions. These conditions include lack of veterinary care, starvation, dehydration, and crowded cages. Puppy mills and breeders have one thing in common: money is their motive, not the quality of life for the animals.

With profit being the incentive for puppy mills and some breeders, the animals face neglect. They are weaned too quickly from their mothers, suffer from malnourishment and other serious illnesses. Due to high demand for certain breeds, breeders and puppy mills practice incestuous methods, resulting in disease and sometimes death among the litters. This is a fairly common practice, and consumers are not informed that their puppy may suffer from low immunity and consequently, a shorter lifespan. This sad reality is hidden from the consumer, and the last piece to the puppy mill/breeder puzzle is slapping an inflated price tag on the puppy.

Now for the happy news: adopting a pet from a shelter provides numerous benefits to you, your pet, and the community. Bringing a furry friend into your life can reduce stress levels, increase activity and improve overall health, according to a health report conducted by Harvard Medical School.

Adopting from a shelter also means you can see a variety of animals of all ages. Sue Brown, a volunteer at Helen Woodward Animal Center said, “Adopting an older dog can come with unexpected perks. They are usually house trained and have already learned basic commands.”

The great thing about variety in the shelters is that there is someone for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a puppy with lots of energy, or an older and relaxed dog, an animal shelter is the place to find a friend that is a perfect fit for your home.

The photo features Lily, the boxer terrier mix after being adopted from Helen Woodward Animal Center. Photo credit: Veronica Scharing.