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  • Feb
  • 22

Teeny, Tiny ‘Teacup Terriers’

Posted by at 6:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Teeny, Tiny 'Teacup Terriers' by Michelle RiveraSo the other day, I was standing in the line at the post office, and I noticed that the woman in front of me had a pooch in her purse. I commented on her little dog, and she told me that he was a “service dog.” Being that the dog was all of 2 pounds, I doubted her sincerity, but that’s a story for another day. Today’s story is about where that teeny, tiny tot may have come from.

I blame Paris Hilton.

It was Paris who first strutted her miniaturized Chihuahua around Beverly Hills, the unfortunate animal practically worn on her wrist like a corsage. She quickly tossed him out on his 2-inch tail when he failed to stay under the breeder-guaranteed 4 pounds.

Aside from the woman in the post office, I’ve seen this time and again. Pet stores are stocking up on miniature dogs, and puppy mills and other breeders are churning them out in droves.

Nearly a decade ago, PETA investigators shed light on the horrendous conditions endured by sick and dying dogs and puppies in puppy mills on an NBC Dateline special. More recently, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres both featured the issue on their talk shows. We learned more about where dogs in pet stores come from, how puppy mill owners cut the vocal cords of their dogs with scissors, and how tiny puppies are torn from their mothers to be transported in semi-trucks to pet stores across the country. As a humane educator, I frequently use PETA’s six-minute puppy-mill video, featuring Charlize Theron. It’s a powerful visual teaching tool, and even though I have seen it hundreds of times, my blood still boils and my heart still breaks when I watch it. It teaches my students that there is good reason to stay out of pet stores that sell animals.

To continue to breed animals in a country where countless dogs and cats are awaiting new homes in animal shelters—where about half of them must be euthanized every year-is irresponsible and immoral. But the problem is much bigger now. Now, we are not just fighting the American Kennel Club (AKC), we are also fighting hundreds of other little registries that have sprung up to answer the call for mixed-breed designer dogs, such as “purebred” Maltipoos, golden doodles, and puggles. Registries are also popping up for miniature dogs who cannot be registered with the AKC because it doesn’t recognize miniature Chihuahuas, miniature bulldogs, or miniature Australian shepherds. Why would “man’s best friend” need to have “papers” and a pedigree anyway?

There’s a lot of work to be done. The dogs may be tiny, but the problem is huge. I will never get over the fact that some people are comfortable treating an animal who is supposed to be their best friend and companion as a fashion accessory.

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  • Justine says:

    It’s unbelievable to me how people can keep buying these dogs and cats when there are so many at the shelter about to die! I take in whatever animals I can but it’s a pittance 🙁 Animal suffering breaks my heart!!

  • Patty Bowers says:

    SICKENING and heart breaking..When is it EVER going to end?
    Sometimes it’s hard not to despair, but we have to keep up the
    good fight, and PETA does the best job of it of all!
    Patty Bowers

  • Please don’t forget there are also kitten mills.

  • glennlee says:

    I was really glad to read in the newspaper about PETA protests at the Westminster dog show with the signs saying breeding dogs take homes away from shelter dogs. The newspapers are full of puppies for sale ads and probably half of them will end out dying in shelters because there are more for sale than there are buyers. thank you, PETA for bringing up this issue and reaching so many people.

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