City passes law to make sure pet stores only sell rescued dogs

This story is about Lily, a dog who, like many others, was born under the worst conditions and never really had a chance at life.

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Lily was born in what is known as a puppy mill. These are breeding grounds for dogs that resemble an assembly line in a factory. The dogs are bred for their looks and the females are kept as breeding slaves where they are forced to have as many litters as possible before they can no longer reproduce. The terrifying thing is, it's completely legal.

Youtube / The Humane Society of the United States

"Lily spent all of her days confined to a small, cold wire cage in a dark, foul-smelling barn. Never was she removed from her cage for exercise or socialization. In her dreary confines, Lily was forced to produce one litter after another with no respite. Like all commercial breeding dogs, she was a veritable breeding machine whose worth was measured in only one way – her ability to produce puppies," explained Theresa Strader, founder of National Mill Dog Rescue.

Facebook / National Mill Dog Rescue

Due to this, by the age of seven Lily's body had been warped into something barely resembling a dog. She had no lower jaw, the consequence of no dental care, poor diet, and having to drink water from a rabbit bottle. Her jaw had literally rotted away. Deadly tumors developed inside her chest and Lily became reclusive and terrified of people.

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Lily was worn out and the breeders no longer needed her so they sold her at an auction. Lisa Strader bought Lily for what the breeder called a "steal." Lisa Strader, a self-admitted animal lover has been a dog rescuer her entire life — fostering unwanted and stray dogs. No one wanted Lily because she was so worn out. Despite never having housed anything other than a rescue dog in her life, she bought Lily. After being adopted, she underwent four surgeries to remove mammary tumors and to repair her face. Her uterus had transformed into a rotted, black hole from the years of breeding.

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Through loving care and being treated humanely, something all dogs deserve, Theresa Strader recounts that Lily, "learned so much in our home – about being a family member, being a dog, being worthy." Lily has had a profound effect on the lives of the Straders: "But she learned how to love and be loved and for that, there are no words. She changed our lives forever." Lily spent 12 months with her adoptive family, full of love and care. "Lily died on May 13, 2008, at the age of eight – about half the life expectancy for an Italian Greyhound," wrote Theresa in a letter to the breeder who had neglected her so badly. Lily died because of that neglect, because of seven years of torture and inhumanity. The question is: how many more dogs have suffered this same fate?

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The unfortunate reality is, Lily's case is just one of many. There are hundreds of thousands of puppies suffering daily across the country in puppy mills. The ASPCA estimates that there are over 10,000 puppy mills in operation across the country.

But one city has decided to put a stop to this. Phoenix, Arizona just passed a law declaring that all dogs and cats sold at local pet stores must be rescue animals. This will drive puppy mills out of business, putting an end to the suffering.

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This new law is a shining example of something that should be happening in every city. Puppy mills are completely unnecessary — there are plenty of dogs already alive that are looking for a loving home. Let's hope that this is the start of a trend that will soon make puppy mills a thing of the past.

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