Puppy Mill Awareness Day in Texas: How you can help save lives

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A special group of Central Texans gathered on Sunday to raise awareness about puppy mills and encourage the public to “adopt don’t shop.”

“People don’t realize that the adorable puppies that they find online or on Craigslist, Facebook, in pet stores, those parents live and die in horrible conditions called puppy mills,” said Courtney Leigh, the Director and Founder of Puppy Mill Awareness day in Texas. “So we encourage you to adopt from rescue groups and your local shelters.”

The event held at Republic Square Park in downtown Austin, featured Weiner dog races, rescue booths, live music, food trucks, vendors and a blessing of the animals.

“It’s a fun day, it’s to celebrate survivors and rescue and promote rescue, but it’s also very necessary,” Leigh said. “We are creating awareness of puppy mills, what they are, that they do exist and what the community can do to not support it and help put an end to it.”

Leigh went on to explain what puppies who are in those awful situations face. “Some of them, seeing them walk on grass for the first time is just heartbreaking because they’ve never felt it.”

“There’s very little to no vet care. They’re constantly having horrible ailments, not to mention emotionally. They’re living and dying in these horrid conditions, they’re using the restroom on dogs underneath, they’re depressed, they are forced to live in cramped conditions, never seeing the light of day on wired cages, never touching grass. The few that do get out and we do go rescue, have a lot of behavioral issues as you can imagine and physical in addition to the lack of vet care that they have.”

Courtney Leigh, the Director and Founder of Puppy Mill Awareness day in Texas

KXAN’s own Jim Spencer and Kaxan were at the event in support of their furry friends and to save lives, just as Kaxan’s life was changed back in 2012.

“Many people that’s the problem, they don’t realize, once they do, once they learn, they’ll say oh my goodness, I had no idea this was going on,” Leigh said. “You pull from a rescue, or a shelter situation, you are saving two dogs in fact because you’re opening a spot for that rescue to have a foster and take in a dog from another shelter.”

Related: Learn more about KXAN’s annual partnership with Central Texas animal shelters to encourage people to “Adopt Don’t Shop.”

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