The loving desire to add a furry friend to the family, especially during the pandemic, has driven the darker market of puppy mills.
Barbara Cartwright, chief executive officer (CEO) of Humane Canada, told The Sam Laprade Show on Sept. 21 that puppy mills have substandard breeding and no regard for animal welfare.
"Canadians time and again, sadly, get duped really into purchasing these animals that often are sick, unsocialized, have mental health issues and physical issues," she explained.
Cartwright said that the best thing people can do if they want to buy a pet is researching that they're getting it from an ethical source, like a reputable breeder, rescue shelter or SPCA. She cautioned that sometimes puppy mills disguise themselves as rescues or use the term "adopt" to confuse the public, so it's important to look at the conditions the animals are kept in, including if they're in crowded barns or if there are multiple species.
"Think about if you walked into that room, would you think, 'Oh, wow, this is really amazing, these dogs must be having a great life.' Or might you think, 'Oh, I don't really like that. I'll just grab my dog and get going.'"
Other red flags include places selling puppies younger than eight weeks old or offering sales on purebred puppies without papers.
Those looking to support the cause can enter Humane Canada's Fall Fortune lottery, which will award one person a cash prize and see the money raised going toward animal welfare.
Listen to the full interview with Barbara Cartwright below: