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What Is A Puppy Mill? | FAQ's About Puppy Mills


So what is a PUPPY MILL anyway?  A puppy mill has many definitions and could be any one of the following depending on who you talk to:

bulletSomeplace that keeps one or more breeds and continually has puppies for sale.
bulletAn unhealthy, disgusting place where one or more breeds are kept in deplorable conditions and again puppies are continually available.
bulletSomewhere a single breed is kept in healthy condition and puppies are continually available.
bulletA place where many dogs are raised, where the sole purpose of breeding is for financial gain instead of for betterment of the breed, and the puppies are sold to anyone, including brokers or pet stores;
bulletAs many dogs as possible are kept in the smallest space feasible with minimal contact.

You will find that puppy mills dogs of all breeds are kept in confined areas, small crates or cages. They, who do not ask to be born, rely on us to tend to their needs. They never feel the love of a human. Their only human contact being the hand that feeds them. These are like dog factories where the owners consider them as just a means to an end. Whose only thought is to make money. As much as possible, in as quick a time as possible and with as little outlay as possible. People whose sole motivation is GREED.

The Life of a Puppy Mill Puppy
These dogs are shipped off to various Pet Stores, around the country for sale, in large trucks just like cattle. Many don't survive the journey because of extreme tempatures.   Thin, looking undernourished, but unfortunately, not bad enough to claim they they were neglected. Unfortunatly, the unsuspecting public don't appear to know or be able to tell the difference.

There are often "Dog Auctions" selling off the dogs who are no longer able to breed, unsuitable to breed, possibly just overstocked, or are just getting too old and might cost money to maintain. There are many Rescue organisations in the states some of which attend the auctions in an attempt to "Rescue" some of the poor dogs from a continued life of misery life. The money to pay for these dogs come from donations, sale of items made to advertise their cause and any other form of fundraising the clubs can come up with.

The dogs that they manage to rescue invariably have medical and socialisation problems which must be attended to before the dogs can be considered suitable for adoption in well selected, loving homes. Prospective adoptive families are screened very thoroughly to ensure that the personality of the dog will blend in with the personality of its new home. All of which costs money and oft times there is not enough cash to cover all the costs. Then the foster parents have to dig into their own pockets.


FAQ's about Puppy Mills

Q: How do you know whether a puppy or kitten has come from a mill, or factory?

A: If you're purchasing your puppy or kitten from a pet shop, you can almost be guaranteed that they are coming from a puppy mill. People who breed animals responsibly do not breed more than one litter a year or every other year and they do not have a whole lot of animals that they are breeding, so they are not going to be able to supply a pet shop.

Pet shop dogs come from large Class A "dealers", and even if their facilities are clean, they are still not able to give the animals special attention. The puppies you see may be friendly because they're young, or you may notice right away that they have behavioral problems. But as soon as you ask for the registration papers on the dog - whether or not they are AKC registered, CKC registered, whatever, you're going to find where they came from - assuming those papers are legitimate. They will tell you which kennel raised those dogs and where that kennel is located. Most of the time you'll find they are from out of state. That's your biggest clue that the animals come from puppy factories.

Q: What about dogs you see advertised in the paper?

A: There are a lot of puppy mills not licensed by the US Department of Agriculture who do not sell to pet shops. Instead, they sell through newspaper ads. As soon as you pick up a newspaper and see more than two breeds of dog listed, you know that these people can not feasibly give the proper attention needed to the animals and they don't have the space or staff to properly take care of them. If you call, you should demand to see their facility and see the breeding pairs.

Q: What kind of people are involved in backyard or puppy-mill breeding for profit?

A: These operation are run for profit. Backyard and puppy-mill breeders are generally people who are looking for additional income, because most of them have jobs, I've noticed. Or they may be disabled and this is their only source of income. But this is not a business that animals should be subjected to! A lot of these people are not well educated, but some are, there's no hard and fast rule about that. They are generally in regions of the country where the economy is sluggish, and this is a means of bringing in extra money. Also, you find this often in rural communities because it's so easy - generally they have a lot of property on which to keep the animals.

Q: What kind of conditions do these puppies and kittens generally live in?

A: Unacceptable ones. The fact is, it is impossible for one person, or two people, or three to adequately care for hundreds of animals, to groom them, trim their nails, medicate them and make sure they are getting the attention they need. Most of the animals are kept in wire cages off the ground so that it's easier for the waste matter and so forth to pass through the cage. Generally, underneath the cage is not clean. Diseases and mites very often go undetected and untreated. In addition to the fact that the animals literally live on wire, they live without human contact.

Q: What are some of the problems that puppieshave that are from mills?

A: Automatically, health problems. Kennel cough is prevalent, cocydia, all types of communicable diseases that puppies generally get - parvo - you will also see different problems that may be hereditary, congenital problems, you may be buying a dog that you think is a pure bred dog and it may not be, and the same with kittens.

Q: What can I do in my community to help put a stop to this practice?

A: First of all, NEVER buy a puppy from a petstore.   Buying from petshops supports these mills and allows the owners the knowledge that there is a market and that they must keep up supply. Only by reducing the demand will we be able to cut down on the numbers of mills.

If you do want a purebred puppy, start researching breeders. Go to a dog show, talk to people, find a breeder who's breeding to better the breed, and start making arrangements to reserve a pup. It may take a little while, but a puppy is a lifelong companion. It takes 9 months for a baby to be born. A month or 2 wait for a puppy isn't that long when you compare it to the years and years a healthy well adjusted purebred dog will bless you with. Another option is Purebred rescue. These groups take in purebreds from shelters, private homes etc and evaluate and rehome the dogs.  There are also many purebreds in regular animal shelters that are waiting for homes to give them the love and care they deserve.

If you suspect that there is a kitten or puppy mill in your community, all you need to do is call ads from the newspaper and say you are looking for a puppy or kitten and make an appointment to see them. The following are all signs that the breeder in question may be running a puppy mill and should be red flags:

bulletBreeder does not allow you to visit the property, or will not allow you to view the animals in their daily living conditions. There's a reason why these people don't want you to see those animals!
bulletWhen visiting a property, hordes of dogs are heard barking continuously.
bulletMultiple breeds of dog from the same person, particularly if the ad is in the paper continuously.
bulletEvidence of sickness: soreness, limping, excessive scratching, raw skin, running noses or eyes.
bulletDirty living conditions - an excessive amount of excrement on the ground or any excrement at all in cages or kennels, very small cages stacked on top of each other, a foul odor, a lack of adequate fresh water for the puppies and kittens to drink.

If you witness or experience any of these things, the seller is likely a backyard breeder. You should then call your local humane society and also alert the police and a national animal protection society like the ASPCA or IDA.

If you are thinking about breeding a dog or someone you know is, please consider your motivations. If you are not prepared to spend heaps of time, effort and money then I advise you not to breed. Both mother and pups need constant care 24 hrs a day. This means very little sleep and dedication to the new family. This is civilisation and you have a domestic (not wild) dog that you have made a commitment to care for. You made that committment when you took it into your home from where ever you obtained it. Its your best friend and no matter what. He/She always will be. Take care for your friend and do what you can to save others from a life of misery. After all they have something very special to offer. Unconditional Love!!

Q: So what does it take to get these people shut down?

A: It takes an investigation. Generally local police are not in any way shape or form knowledgeable about the care for animals or their health. It takes a knowledgeable person from a humane society or from animal control. Just because somebody works for animal control does not mean they are knowledgeable about animal care. If it's just somebody hired to pick up dogs in a rural community, don't count on them to get the job done. It takes a person with a trained eye.

If there is any suspicion at all that there is a problem, find a veterinarian that's not from that community to go and inspect the facility with you. The USDA has to investigate and shut down these people if they are licensed. But if you find an animal dealer who is breeding and has a horrible operation is not licensed, then you can certainly try to view the property and the animals as an independent person. I would much rather see criminal charges brought against a person who is neglecting animals than leave it to the USDA to simply warn them and maybe never shut them down.

If you are buying a dog that is supposed to be registrable with the AKC you should realize it is your responsibility to obtain complete identification of the dog or YOU SHOULD NOT BUY THE DOG. Failure to get AKC "registration papers" causes more grief for buyers of pure-bred registrable dogs than any other problem except sickness. It has long been common practice to explain the inability saying "AKC hasn't sent the papers yet." The essence of this and similar excuses is that because the American Kennel Club is at fault, papers are not available. The fact is that the processing of any AKC registration item takes approximately three weeks. If a breeder is doing his paperwork in a regular, careful manner, there is ample time to obtain the necessary "papers" from AKC prior to sale of any puppy. When "papers" are not available at the time of delivery, it is a red-flag warning sign to exercise extreme caution."

"There is a widely held belief that "AKC"or "AKC papers" and quality are one and the same. This is not the case. AKC is a registry body. A registration certificate identifies the dog as the offspring of a known sire and dam, born on a known date. It in no way indicates the quality or state of health of the dog. Many people breed their dogs with no concern for the qualitative demands of the breed standard. When this occurs repeatedly over several generations, the animals, while still pure-bred, can be of extremely low quality."




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