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What is a Puppy Mill? Facts and Statistics
Did You Know?
In the United States, an estimated 98% of puppies sold in pet stores come from Puppy Mills?
What is a Puppy Mill?
My simple definition: A puppy mill is a form of animal cruelty and neglect.
Wikipedia’s definition: A puppy mill, sometimes known as a puppy farm, is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care.
PUPPY MILLS ARE LEGAL. Only large-scale commercial facilities considered “wholesale” operations, selling animals to pet stores for example, are required to be licensed by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) through the AWA (Animal Welfare Act). The AWA which is enforced by the USDA outlines (very minimum) standards of care for animals bred for commercial resale.
The owners of these puppy mills are known as “commercial breeders.” The main goal of commercial breeders is profit. Puppies from these mills are usually sold as purebred dogs in an attempt to attract higher prices. To gain more profit, many corners are cut which leads to inhumane treatment.
The bare minimum care requirements of the AWA are not much more than requiring food, water and shelter. In addition, each state only has a few inspectors for hundreds, even thousands of licensed kennels making it impossible to track the overwhelming amount of inhumane treatment in puppy mills. Therefore, violators are rarely fined; their licenses are rarely suspended; repeated violations go unnoticed; and these breeders are able to keep renewing their license. According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are “inefficiencies and loopholes in the system.”
PUPPY MILLS WITH NO LICENSE REQUIRED
PUPPY MILLS THAT SELL DIRECTLY TO THE PUBLIC, THROUGH AVENUES SUCH AS THE INTERNET AND DOG AUCTIONS, ARE NOT REQUIRED TO ADHERE TO THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT OR TO ANY FEDERAL HUMANE CARE STANDARDS!
Also see my article Dog Auctions and Puppy Mills~ What Really Goes On?
More Often Than Not ~ What Happens in Puppy Mills
Puppy mill dogs are forced to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. They have no human companionship. They live in small wire cages, individually stacked on top of each other, often in their own feces. They remain caged for months, even years.
In many cases, their feet never touch the ground. They don’t get a chance to run in the grass and play. They don’t receive toys and treats. They may not even receive food and water. They are not socialized. They do not receive adequate veterinary care. They don’t exercise or receive basic grooming. They are exposed to the elements possibly sweltering in the heat or freezing in the cold.
Females are bred as often as possible without skipping a heat cycle. When they are no longer able to produce puppies, they are discarded, in some cases like trash.
Puppies are often weaned from their mother way too early. They are more likely to have health problems due to poor care. Consumers who purchase these puppies are often faced with significant veterinary bills or even the death of their puppy soon after purchase.
Puppy Mill Breeder vs. Humane Breeder
PROFIT IS THE MAIN INCENTIVE in puppy mills! A puppy mill operates differently than a responsible, humane breeder.
With a little knowledge, you can tell the difference . . .
- A puppy mill breeder may have many breeds of dogs for sale at the same time. A humane breeder will work with one breed at a time.
- A puppy mill breeder usually will not allow customers to view their property or kennel. A humane breeder will welcome you into their home and kennel area.
- A puppy mill breeder may offer to ship a puppy to the new owner without meeting you first. A humane breeder is eager to meet you and your family first.
- A puppy mill breeder won’t require an application or references from a buyer. A humane breeder will require a completed application (contract) and possibly additional references.
- A puppy mill breeder does not ask buyers to return the dog or contact them if at any point in the dog’s life the owners cannot keep the dog. A humane breeder will tell you that if there if ever a reason that you cannot keep the dog, contact them and they will take the dog back.
- A puppy mill breeder has a very large kennel, usually owning 50 to several hundred dogs or more. A humane breeder will have sufficient kennel space with a limited amount of puppies available at one time.
- A puppy mill breeder breeds females every time they come into heat. A humane breeder will skip heat cycles and give enough recovery time as necessary.
- A puppy mill breeder is USDA licensed (in many cases) so that they can sell puppies to pet stores. This is a red flag that a breeder is in the “profit only” business. A humane breeder has no reason to be USDA licensed.
- A puppy mill breeder will not screen their puppies for genetic defects. A humane breeder will have all the appropriate screenings completed on all the puppies for sale. They will present screening certificates to the new owners.
- A puppy mill breeder will not tell you of any health problems the puppy may have. A humane breeder will be upfront and honest.
- A puppy mill breeder prefers to deal with cash and will not offer you a payment plan. A humane breeder will not insist on only a cash deal. And they may offer a payment plan beginning with an initial deposit.
- A puppy mill breeder does not put the welfare of the dogs/puppies first. A humane breeder's main focus is the welfare of the dogs/puppies.
- A puppy mill breeder will buy and sell dogs at a dog auction. A humane breeder would never step near a dog auction.
A PUPPY MILL IS NOT THE PLACE FOR MAN’S BEST FRIEND TO BEGIN LIFE!
This is Sharyn's Slant
A Few More Statistics:
- It’s estimated that 4 million dogs are bred in puppy mills every year.
- There are nearly 6,000 USDA-licensed commercial kennels in the U.S. (not including an untold number of unlicensed)
- 4-5 million animals die in shelters every year (roughly 11,000 every day)
Where to Find "Puppy Friendly" Pet Stores
There are pet stores that are “puppy friendly” meaning they do not support nor purchase puppies from cruel puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States tracks these pet friendly stores. Click HERE to see a list by state.
Puppy Mill Awareness Day
Puppy Mill Awareness Day is held annually in September.
But it really isn't just one day, it's every day!