What is a puppy mill? A puppy mill is a place of endless confinement and egregious living conditions where dogs are used as breeding machines as part of their lease to remain alive.
Degenerate opportunists hold our most beloved souls hostage in filthy, rusted cages. The dogs eat, sleep and live in these unfathomable living conditions every single day of their lives.
The helpless breeding dogs go without medical treatment when they're sick. They go without blankets when they're cold. They don't get exercise. They are not loved.
Meanwhile, the deadbeats who run these places get rich from the suffering of the animals because it's easy to lure in clueless shoppers with irresistible lies, like adorable puppies in a window and fancy websites. Don't allow yourself to be duped!
What is a puppy mill if you're shopping online? If you're shopping for a dog online, a puppy mill is like a dating-site-catfish. She's enticing you with adorable pictures of puppies taken in front of a tidy backdrop. Her website uses words like "family raised" and makes it sound believable, but she's using that backdrop as a filter to mask hideous neglect, disease, filth, horrendous cruelty, illness and greed.
If you're shopping for a dog in a pet store, the question, 'what is a puppy mill?' becomes a lot more manufactured and convoluted. Imagine the same conditions as above on a bigger, more commercial scale where the facade is a sparkling Disney castle, but inside is a dismal prison cell made of rusty, shit-caked wire where sub-human individuals are inflicting torture on the most undeserving victims.
How can we love dogs, but still doom them to a life of misery to satisfy our desire to attain one?
When it comes to America's love for dogs, it's hard to deny the gross disassociation with our love and desire for a puppy, and our willingness to look the other way on where the puppy came from. If you happen to be in a pet store when you ponder that question, the answer is ALWAYS a puppy mill.
Puppies that are bound for pet stores are snatched from their mothers around 6-8 weeks of age.
For the mother, having her puppies taken too soon is both depressing and a blessing. She has been locked up with them for their entire 6-8 weeks never getting a break from their constant crying and nursing. Her teats are swollen, painful, infected and if she's lucky they're free from mammary tumors that so many female dogs rescued from puppy mills are affected with.
If the puppies are destined for a pet store like Petland, they are picked up by puppy brokers (the shameless middle-men), driven across state or across the country, sometimes hundreds of miles in crates in the back of sweltering trailers, many are extremely unwell when they arrive, but some don't make it at all.
You might be thinking that torture on this scale is somehow illegal, but you'd be wrong.
Unfortunately it's legal to keep a dog in a tiny crate for it's entire life with only inches of room to spare and there are at least 10,000 puppy mills across the United States of America churning out 2.6 million puppies per year.
In fact, these operations are so large scale, that the government decided they needed a cut of the profits. They require anyone with 5 or more breeding bitches to acquire a USDA license, which is a license to factory farm dogs, with little oversight, in these same inhumane conditions, as long as they pay their license and renewal fees. Many of the pictures included on this page are from puppy mills with USDA licenses.
In the land of milk and honey where everything that can turn a profit is industrialized, even at the expense of one of our most celebrated and gentle domestic creatures, these foul individuals operate in secret instead of getting jobs.
Amish aren't the only offenders when it comes to puppy mills, but the general lack of empathy toward animal-kind is common amongst them.
I will not support the Amish in any capacity. I don't buy their baked goods or employ them for any construction needs. In my years of living around them and witnessing firsthand their treatment of horses and livestock, not to mention all the puppy mills in my area of Ohio, I will never support them again.
Their lack of sanitary indoor plumbing and hot running water makes their pies a lot less appetizing in my opinion anyway. Food for thought...
Female dogs in puppy mills outnumber the males, 10-fold for obvious reasons.
The sole objective of a puppy mill is to maximize profit, so female dogs are bred during every heat cycle. As you might imagine this takes it's toll and most can only whelp puppies for around 5 years before their bodies are entirely used up.
If she's a long haired dog like a Yorkie or a poodle, she is matted. Her matted fur has trapped urine and excrement to her skin and has caused burns. She has fleas and other parasites and her nails are long, curled under and painful. She's never slept on a warm lap or felt the grass beneath her feet. She has lived in a prison without kindness in an uncomfortable wire crate and that is the only life she will know, until her untimely death.
Puppy mill dogs are disposable. When a breeding mother is sick, she
is replaced, often with 1 or 2 or her puppies. On very rare occasions,
dogs are rescued, but the vast majority will be killed when their life
of servitude is over.
Sadly, the breeding mothers who only live 5-6 years are among the lucky ones.
This precious little Yorkie suffered despicable injuries caused by a crude method of debarking. Puppy mills debark dogs to keep them quiet. The Amish are well-known for this brutality against their breeding dogs.
Several of this poor dog's teeth were missing and her jaw was badly injured. She would have lived the rest of her life in pain... and even in her condition would have been forced to give birth to several more litters if she had not been rescued.
Thanks to the work of a caring person, She is one of the few lucky dogs to have escaped her cage, but there are thousands just like her with very little hope of ever making it out alive.
The same as you would never treat an animal like this, you should NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store. A responsible breeder would NEVER sell puppies to a pet store and you should NEVER believe otherwise.
Pet stores will tell you that their dogs come from "Local Breeders" because that's what they're told to say, but guess what, every puppy mill in the world is "local" to someone.
There are several ways to know if you're dealing with a puppy mill versus a responsible breeder. If you're standing in a pet store that sells dogs, they 100% came from a puppy mill.
If you happen to be scouring the internet when you find a potential breeder online, there's a pretty good chance it's a puppy mill.
They'll likely use words like, "family raised", "papers", "health guarantee", "AKC", but don't allow yourself to be duped!
If you choose to give them a call, don't feel apprehensive in the least about asking the following questions in the section below. A responsible breeder will know why you're asking and will be glad you're doing your due diligence.
If on the other hand, the person seems annoyed or reluctant to divulge information... You still should not feel bad. You're likely dealing with a puppy mill or puppy broker and they deserve to have pressure put on them. They are the bottom feeders of society along with anyone else who could hurt an animal, a child or intentionally inflict harm on another.
Here are a few red flags along with questions you could pose to help determine if you're dealing with a puppy mill: Try to sound laudatory in your questioning. Sound curious instead of accusatory. Keep in mind that they are likely well versed in what to say to trick you. You will have to listen carefully and follow-up on their responses.
As a side note, Having AKC or CKC papers or any other papers related to registering puppies means nothing. Almost all puppy mills register with AKC. And now AKC has partnered with Petland. Petland has been the subject of MANY MANY puppy mill mistreatment stories. The AKC regularly uses it's large pocketbook to actually fight laws meant to protect the dogs in puppy mills.
Please report the operation. Puppy mills are not illegal, but breeding operations are supposed to be licensed by the USDA. Report any suspected puppy mill to your local animal control agency, sheriff's office or humane society. The Humane Society of the United States also has a puppy mill tip line, 1-877-MILL-TIP.
Another phone call you could make would be to a rescue group in the area of the suspected puppy mill. Do an internet search for (your breed) + (location) + rescue group. Rescue groups know from experience how to handle puppy mills. They'll know what to say to save parent dogs whose breeding days are over, to increase the odds of the puppy mill surrendering the dog instead of killing it.
Reporting these operations is important, both locally and federally. Even though oversight is still severely lacking and those with lengthy lists of egregious violations with the USDA (see examples below) are not held accountable, some oversight is better than no oversight. Your tip might be the one that finally gets the breeding dogs rescued.
Be diligent and studious in your search for a puppy. Being intentionally misled by a puppy mill is bad enough, but there are a lot of other puppy scams across the internet. Currently, across facebook pages and fake websites, people are taking deposits for dogs they don't actually own using stolen photos from the internet. If you feel like you've been the victim of one of these puppy scams, contact your state's attorney general office.
Meeting the puppy and the parent dogs at the home of the breeder is a great way not to be duped by either of these scams. Insist on paying the deposit in person and meeting the parent dogs in person at their residence to avoid being scammed out of your money... and scammed out of your moral conviction to avoid puppy mills.
A USDA license is a license to factory farm dogs, which is a clear indication of a puppy mill. Many of the USDA licensed puppy mills are among the worst of the worst.
Here is one example of many; a licensed USDA puppy farm was found in violation of several laws pertaining to the AWA (animal welfare act). It found the breeder had twisted the tails off of puppies, an inhumane method of tail-docking. It also found a new litter of Weimaraner puppies who were living outdoors, were severely underweight, with protruding bones and infested with fleas and ticks. One was unable to stand.
The USDA agent filed the report and visited 3 more times over the next 5 years and found 20 more equally appalling violations. The breeders license was still renewed for another year each time. And to this day, this particular breeder is still USDA licensed to continue his sick breeding operation in the state of Missouri.
The problem is that the USDA is very business-friendly (I use the term "business" very loosely). They push a lot of paperwork and charge their fee, but it's very rare for them to actually pull a breeder's license.
A puppy manufacturing facility is NOT a legitimate business. Penning dogs up for their entire lives is a harsh act of cruelty, in and of itself. It's damaging both mentally and physically. Any industry that profits from prolonged torture and misery such as this should have their shame brought to the forefront, instead of being allowed to operate in secret.
Dogs are companion animals. They were domesticated and bred to perform specific actions for human assistance. From herding sheep to seeing eye dogs, and mouse chasers to hunting dogs, it's in their DNA to be by our loyal assistants.
Dogs don't belong in cages. And while I'm on the subject, they don't belong tied to trees in the backyard either.
How do backyard breeders differ from puppy mills?
Backyard breeders often start out by breeding their pets, but are ignorant of breeding for temperament, breed standard, health, genetic defects, etc. They're strictly breeding for the money or some other idiotic reason... like wanting their children to witness birth.
A backyard breeder could be someone you work with who has puppies for sale or a neighbor who accidentally (or on purpose) allowed her Westie to get pregnant, etc.
The major difference is the number of breeding dogs and where and how they're kept.
It's a very slippery slope from a backyard breeder to a puppy mill. All too often, a backyard breeder gets in over her head and unwittingly turns a tiny breeding operation into a puppy mill. So what might have started with an accidental pregnancy turns into a full scale puppy mill driven by the desire to profit from the puppies.
How will you know if a breeder is reputable? Below are the practices and traits of a creditable and trustworthy breeder.
What can one person do to put an end to puppy mills?
One person can do so much...
If you're considering buying a puppy online, from a newspaper ad or at a pet store, there is a 99.9% chance that you're about to become a part of the problem. Please watch this video and join us in the fight against the torture of animals in puppy mills
Warning: If the following video is too disturbing to watch, kindly "think of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight". (Albert Schweitzer)