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Puppy Mills -- Why Do We Hate Them? And What Can We Do?

Updated on April 24, 2019

Would You Treat Your Dog Like This?

Puppy Mills Often House Dogs In Deplorable Conditions
Puppy Mills Often House Dogs In Deplorable Conditions

The term "puppy mills" evokes feelings of disgust and anger among dog lovers. The stories we hear about the oppressive and unsafe conditions for the mothers of puppies, and the too-soon release of puppies for sale, have created outrage among all of us who love dogs.

Safety issues and the lack of human contact are the two most egregious examples of puppy mill abuses. For instance, a target of much legislation for improvement of puppy mills has been the improvement of cages for mothers and their puppies. Low cage height and dangerous wire flooring are among a number of problems cited by animal rights groups.

State regulation of puppy mills shows mixed progress

Most states have few regulations that apply to safety and humane treatment of dogs in mass breeding, puppy mill, operations. In spite of new laws in some states that aim at eradicating the worst abuse of puppy mill operations, more than half of all states have little or no regulation. States that have passed protective requirements have promulgated laws that limit the number of females held for breeding, institute requirements for facility inspection, and establish rules related to appropriate veterinary care. Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Virginia passed laws in 2008 that are intended to curb abuses in puppy mills. Then, in 2010, Missouri passed a landmark law for puppy mill regulation. That law would have greatly improved conditions in puppy mills, but was subsequently overturned following aggressive lobbying from dog breeding advocates.

So what can dog lovers do to assure humane treatment in puppy mills?

In addition to writing and calling local legislators to establish progressive laws relating to puppy mills, there are a number of activities that each dog lover can do to promote improved regulations.

• Coordinate with the Humane Society of the United Sates (HSUS) to establish local advocacy programs

• Establish draft legislation and rally community support for that legislation

• Contact support groups that can advise and provide support for local effort

The following are links that can assist any individual or group with local efforts to impact puppy mill regulation:


Ongoing mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills angers all dog lovers. Specific steps can be taken by all individuals and groups who would like to take positive action to improve puppy mill conditions.

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