Adopt, Don’t Shop

If someone you know is in the market for a dog or cat, please encourage them adopt from OAARS, Karing Kennels, or adopt from one of the many families that can’t take their pet when PCSing. If you discover what appears to be a sick animal for sale in a pet shop, contact the Okinawan Health Department. There are certain laws that can be of help if these animals seem to be neglected, or sick. While puppy mills continue to flood the market with “purebreds”, shelters euthanize millions of unwanted dogs. When shopping for a pet, please consider acquiring a shelter animal. These animals are desperately in need of loving homes.
Puppy Mills

Don’t ever buy a puppy unless you have personally visited where the puppy was born and raised. Convince others to do the same. Pet store staff have been filmed attesting that they visit the breeders they purchase puppies from and that they are wonderful loving homes, when in fact, they are puppy mills. Don’t be misled by claims that the puppies were not bred in puppy mills. JKC or AKC registry papers do not mean the puppy is healthy or that they were properly bred or adequately cared for. Become an advocate for the many animals housed at the shelter and for the shelter itself. Spread the word that shelter animals are great animals! Many people think all animals in shelters have problems, when in fact most are healthy and well-adjusted and need only a loving and permanent home.
How else can you stop puppy mills? 

Contact your Representatives and two U.S. Senators asking them to urge the USDA to strictly enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Members of Congress can be contacted at: The Honorable (insert your representative’s name) U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20510. You can find out who your representatives are by visiting and entering your zip code.

Write the USDA to register your concern that they do not regulate breeders who sell directly to the public. Letters should be sent to the Honorable Ann M. Veneman; Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20259.

This information was compiled with permission from the Humane Society Archives. For more information on Puppy Mills and what you can do to help, please go to


Pet Stores

An except from The Unseen Suffering: The HSUS Exposes Cruelties Behind Closed Doors

“In my presence, the pet shop owner picked up one of the kittens in one hand, picked up a wooden dowel in the other hand, and struck the kitten in the front of the head,” said the former manager of a northern California pet store in a sworn statement; “I observed blood run from the nostril of the kitten. The owner then placed the kitten in the freezer without really checking to make sure the kitten was dead. He then instructed me to kill the remaining eight kittens the same way. I did as I was told.”

Sadly, the harrowing incident described above doesn’t begin to reveal the magnitude of suffering taking place nationwide, or even in the three northern California pet stores that recently made news headlines. In that episode, ten former employees testified to the behind-the-scenes abuses they witnessed and the near-death conditions of animals that had been sold. “I observed sick dogs at that store that eventually died because of neglect,” said one employee. “The dogs would be placed in the back room and would not be given the necessary food, water, or medication and would die. Birds were put down by striking their heads on the sides of the tables,” said a manager. “Hamsters would be killed by placing them in bags and then striking the bags against the wall.” “On another occasion,” said a kennel worker, “I recall the district manager placing a sick female beagle puppy into a plastic bag and slamming the puppy against the wall. He then placed the beagle into a freezer. I also saw him destroy kittens in this manner.”

The gruesome tale goes on. Tales of roach-infested back rooms, freezers bursting with animal carcasses, and mass killings of unsold Easter bunnies. The cruelties occur in the back rooms and basements where ill and injured animals are not receiving the proper care or medical attention they need. The journey for that irresistible spaniel or terrier begins under some what less cosmetic conditions than the glass encased cages the customer sees. While some pet shop puppies come from reputable local breeders, for many of the 400,000 dogs sold each year, life begins in the cramped, decrepit confines of the puppy mill. Puppies endure extreme deprivation during their first weeks of life. Housed on wire floors in chicken coops and rabbit hutches with nothing more than wooden boxes, if that, to protect them from blizzards or the baking sun, puppies are afforded the barest essentials to keep them alive. During an extensive undercover operation, one HSUS investigator turned up newborns living inside rusty barrels, discarded washing machines, even empty fuel tanks. Another HSUS investigator discovered a stable housing some 600 caged dogs with piles of feces waist deep! At eight weeks of age, puppies were found crammed two to a crate and shipped to any of thousands of pet shops across the country. These animals, jostled from truck to truck and finally to air cargo bay, may endure days in transit. Pet shop employees have alleged that puppies arrive at retail stores by the truckload, coughing, vomiting, and suffering from severe dehydration symptoms that ultimately spell pneumonia, distemper, and deadly parvo virus.
Okinawa Pet Stores
Pet stores in Okinawa are no different when it comes to pets. In some cases, it may be even worse than in the United States because the stores are not regulated. We have received information that puppies are sold at under eight weeks of age. Many animals develop medical problems and have a poor quality of life at these shops. There are no guarantees that you will be refunded your money and by the time problems are noticeable, you may be too attached to your pet to exchange it or be refunded for it. We advise that you check the facilities’ conditions and inquire whether the seller will reimburse you for medical expenses that were caused due to the conditions that the animal was kept in prior to being in your care.