Stop Puppy Mills!
A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Unlike responsible breeders, who place the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible, breeding at puppy mills is performed without consideration of genetic quality. This results in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary defects.
Some puppy mill puppies are sold to pet shops—usually through a broker, or middleman—and marketed as young as eight weeks of age. The lineage records of puppy mill dogs are often falsified. Other puppy mill puppies are sold directly to the public, including over the Internet, through newspaper ads, and at swap meets and flea markets.
Illness and disease are common in dogs from puppy mills. Because puppy mill operators often fail to apply proper husbandry practices that would remove sick dogs from their breeding pools, puppies from puppy mills are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions. These can include:
– Heart disease
– Kidney disease
– Musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, etc.)
– Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism)
– Blood disorders (anemia, Von Willebrand disease)
– Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.)
– Respiratory disorders
On top of that, puppies often arrive in pet stores and their new homes with diseases or infirmities. These can include:
– Upper respiratory infections
– Kennel cough
– Intestinal parasites
– Chronic diarrhea
Sometimes. Fearful behavior and lack of socialization with humans and other animals are typical of puppy mill dogs. Puppies born in puppy mills are typically removed from their littermates and mothers at just six weeks of age. The first months of a puppy’s life are a critical socialization period for puppies. Spending that time with their mother and littermates helps prevent puppies from developing problems like extreme shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety.
In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. When, after a few years, they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. The mom and dad of the puppy in the pet store window are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive—and neither will the many puppies born with overt physical problems that make them unsalable.
Today, Missouri is considered the leading puppy mill state in the country. Over time, puppy mills have spread geographically. The highest concentration is in the Midwest, but there are also high concentrations in other areas, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York. Commercial dog breeding is very prevalent among Amish and Mennonite farmers, with pockets of Amish dog breeders found throughout the country, including in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and parts of Wisconsin.
At any given point in time, there are typically between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (commonly referred to as puppy mills) operating in the United States. However, this number does not take into consideration the number of breeders not required to be licensed by the USDA or the number of breeders operating illegally without a license. Because so many of these breeders are operating without oversight, it’s impossible to accurately track them or to know how many there truly are. The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
The number of dogs in a puppy mill can vary significantly. Some puppy mills are relatively small, with only 10 breeding dogs. Other breeders run massive operations with more than 1,000 breeding dogs! Because not all puppy mills are licensed and inspected, it’s impossible to know the true average.
There is no legal definition of “puppy mill.” Many pet store owners will tell you they get all their puppies from “licensed USDA breeders” or “local breeders.” In fact, in order to sell puppies to pet stores, a breeder must be licensed by the USDA! Pet stores often use this licensing to provide a false sense of security to customers, when what it really means is that they do, in fact, get their puppies from puppy mills.
The fact is, responsible breeders would never sell a puppy through a pet store because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure that the puppies are going to good homes.
No. Being registered or having papers means nothing more than the puppy’s parents both had papers.Many registered dogs are sold in puppy mills. Don’t be fooled by “papers.” Many, many pedigreed dogs come from puppy mills! The only way you can be sure that a puppy came from a reputable source is to see where he or she came from yourself.
Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills. The only way you can be sure that a puppy came from a reputable source is to see where he or she came from yourself! Responsible breeders would never sell to someone they haven’t met because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure the puppies are going to good homes.
Please make adoption your first option. Purebred dogs end up in shelters just like mixed breeds. Breed rescue groups exist for just about every breed possible. If you have your heart set on a purebred, please be sure to visit your local shelter or find a breed rescue group before searching for a breeder.
If you can’t find what you want through a shelter or breed rescue group, please learn how to recognize a responsible breeder. When buying a dog from a breeder, always be sure to meet the puppy’s parents or at least the mother, and see where the dogs live. Never meet a breeder at an off-site location, and never have a puppy shipped to you sight-unseen.
The public will stop buying pet store puppies gradually over time, not all at once—someone will eventually purchase those dogs at the store. Puppies in pet stores are usually sold quickly. If they don’t sell quickly, the owners continue to slash the price until the puppies are sold.
The less they sell for, the less profit the store makes. That means the store will order fewer puppies the next month. And puppy mills will ultimately produce fewer dogs.
Information on this page Reference: From the ASPCA website: