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JoAnna Lou
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Facebook Says No to Puppy Mills
ASPCA teams up with the social network to clean up their online classifieds

In some ways ridding the world of puppy mills seems easy. If people simply stopped buying animals from pet stores, the problem would be solved. But in reality, it sometimes feels like a battle that will never be won.

Anytime a friend is looking for their first dog, I try to educate them about puppy mills and point them in the direction of reputable breeders or shelters. But many times, I've been disappointed over the years when some of those friends give into instant gratification and turned to a pet store.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the Internet has only helped perpetuate puppy mills. Buying dogs online has become as common as buying from pet stores. This is particularly troubling because dogs sold on the Internet are exempt from the Animal Welfare Act license and inspection requirements of brick and mortar pet stores.

Now, puppy mills have one less place to advertise online. The ASPCA's No Pet Store Puppies campaign teamed up with Facebook and Oodle, the company behind the social network's Marketplace, to put new measures in place that ensures puppy mill dogs will no longer be sold in Facebook's online classifieds.

This is a small step in solving the problem of online puppy sales, but it's great to see key companies, such as Facebook, supporting the campaign. Puppy mills contribute to the overpopulation problem and
ignore the best interests of the dogs they exploit. Preventing these sales might be an uphill battle, but it's an critical one. I'm hopeful that one day we will be successful in making puppy mills a thing of the past.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Brett McBain/flickr.

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