17 June 2011

'True Blood' star Kristin Bauer sounds off on puppy mills

True Blood star Kristin Bauer took time from her busy schedule for a three part interview with animal protection organization Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). In the latest installment, Bauer reacts to forward thinking municipalities, like El Paso, West Hollywood and Albuquerque, which have banned the sales of cats and dogs in pet stores.

What’s the problem with purchasing animals from a retail establishment you might ask? Pet stores tend to receive their supply of dogs, for example, from puppy mills. Puppy mills, aka large scale breeding facilities, are nothing more than dog factories that utilize methods that yield the highest pup output while ignoring important factors such as the health and welfare of the animals. To put it simply they are quite cruel.

The 44-year-old actress, known to True Blood fans as the vampire Pam, first learned about puppy mills after a visit to her local pet store.

"I first became aware of puppy mills just out of curiosity. You know I thought, where do these dogs come from," explained Bauer. "I would buy my pet food from a pet store, a local one, and they always had puppies and I said where do you get these puppies?"

When the worker at the establishment provided the vague response “a breeder in the Midwest,” Bauer decided to check with the source of all knowledge and find the real answer—Google of course.

That is when she discovered that reputable dog breeders usually steer clear of retail pet stores and the conditions dogs must endure at the puppy factories are downright deplorable.

“The suffering that these animals go through is truly astounding and very wrong and unnecessary,” said Bauer.

As usual when the truth gets out change is inevitable and cities across the country are starting to introduce measures that would cripple the cruel operations. And not only does progressive legislation such as the laws passed in the three aforementioned cities hurt puppy mills, they in turn increase the adoption rate at shelters.

According to Animal Humane New Mexico, since Albuquerque banned sales of cats and dogs in pet stores, adoptions have increased by 23 percent while euthanasia rates throughout the city’s shelters have decreased by 35%.

With that kind of success rate the movement to ban sales of animals in retail shops is gaining momentum. To get involved, check out ALDF’s website here.

Catch Kristin Bauer in the Season 4 premier of True Blood, June 26, on HBO.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: ALDF