How much was that doggie in your possession? Just a healthy dollop of inhumane treatment, courtesy of the puppy mill -- the pet factory farms -- that bred it.
Unbeknownst to its holier-than-most owners, nearly a third of San Francisco dogs came from puppy mills, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
This will shock and awe many proper living San Franciscans, according to the San Francisco SPCA. "We reuse bags and buy fair-trade coffee, but many of us are ... perpetuating a cycle of cruelty to puppies," said Jason Walthall, the organization's co-president.
How did this happen? While 68 percent of dog owners either adopted their pets from shelters, acquired them from family or friends, or shelled out thousands for a purebred with papers, a whopping 32 percent of dog owners said they bought their dogs online, from a pet store, or from breeders who did not interview the buyers, the newspaper reported.
All of those are signs that puppy mills were involved, the SPCA said.
Mill-bred dogs are underfed, receive poor medical treatment, and suffer a host of health and birth defects, the newspaper reported. They live in cages the size of a microwave, rarely interact with people,a nd don't get exercise.
Puppy mills perpetuate a vicious cycle: because of health problems and behavior issues, the dogs are often surrendered to the SPCA. They get adopted, but more dogs are bought from pet stores and other suppliers who use the mill dogs.
Pet Central in San Francisco's North Beach sells dogs with papers, certification, and microchips. These are more expensive, but they are guaranteed cruelty-free, according to the newspaper.