Don't let Banana Joe's Westminster win be a victory for puppy mills

On Tuesday night, a five-year-old affenpinscher named Banana Joe won best in show during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden. Photo: cbsnews.comOn Tuesday night, a five-year-old affenpinscher named Banana Joe won best in show during the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden.

It’s undeniable that this dog is precious—who could resist this cute face? –and it’s good news that he gets to retire from the purebred circuit and is going home, but I do hope that celebrating Joey’s win doesn’t mean a new trend of buying this breed—or any breed showcased at Westminster—online.

As demonstrated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s new investigative report, How Much is that Doggie on my Browser?  The Truth Behind Online Puppy Sales, the Internet is a massively unregulated marketplace where dogs and consumers are exploited seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The potential for abuse is staggering.

In fact, the investigation found over 12,000 advertisements (representing a total of over half a million puppies for sale) for sale online on nine websites in just one day.

Six of these sites are dedicated primarily to the puppy market; IFAW determined that 62% of the ads pulled from those sites qualified as likely coming from puppy mills.

Lacking the regulation assigned to some brick-and-mortar establishments, the Internet clearly has become a preferred platform for unscrupulous commercial facilities to sell puppies directly to innocent consumers who are unwittingly supporting the puppy mill industry.

Joey is cute, but we hope that consumers looking to add a new puppy to their family will not fall victim to the deceptive practices of puppy mill operators over the Internet.

Instead, they should proactively take a stand against puppy mills by always adopting from local shelters, responsible local breeders and one of the many rescue groups dedicated to the affenpinscher breed and beyond.

--TC

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Experts

Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Jan Hannah
Northern Dogs Project Manager
Nancy Barr, Program Director, Animal Action Education
Program Director, Animal Action Education