Hidden cameras expose the horrible conditions of a puppy mill where dogs are being sold to valley pet stores and flea markets.
An estimated 10,000 large scale breeding facilities known as puppy mills exist across the U.S. A recent undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the U.S. revealed many of those puppies are sold right here in the Rio Grande Valley.
The young puppies we see often have hookworms, coxidious, parvo virus, fleas and ticks, Dr. Robert Early said,
These puppies can be found at many of flea markets and pet stores in the Valley and are often sold with pre-existing health conditions.
Dr. Robert early says many of the animals end up at veterinary clinics like border animal hospital in Weslaco.
"Quite often the puppy mills, the sanitation is not as good, Dr. Early adds. Puppies are a born to mothers who are kept in tiny wire cages their entire lives and have multiple litters. The puppies have little to no veterinary care. The problem is, many pet owners don't see the signs of sickness until after they've brought their new family member home. They do not realize their new puppy may have fleas, ticks or even a deadly disease.
"The parvo virus has a high instance of mortality, which means a lot of them die, but depending on the shape we get them in, a lot of the hookworm dogs do just fine, Dr. Early said. A hundred dollars for the price of a pet could be more like thousands of dollars to keep that animal alive.
"Like a parvo puppy, the bill could run anywhere from 800 dollars to 1500 very easily."
Dr. Early said anyone considering owning a dog should be cautious on where they buy them.
"If they are already investigating, and they know that TMs what they want, they really should go to a reputable breeder or a reputable pet store,
Puppies may be cute and cuddly, but taking care of one can be a costly responsibility.