Puppy Mills: The Real Cost of The Doggy in the Window

The other day I was watching on of my favorite shows, Animals Cops, on Animal Planet. Although the show can be sad at times, the episode I saw was especially upsetting. In the episode, the SPCA confiscated hundreds of dogs from a dog-breeding facility where the dogs were kept in horrifying conditions. This dog-breeding facility was called a “puppy mill.” Little did I know, puppy mills are common practice.

Image taken from sonomapets.com

Puppy Mills

According to the ASPCA, a puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. These puppy mills keep dogs in inhumane conditions to cut costs. Dogs are often kept in small wire cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. They are confined to these cages for their entire life, in filthy conditions, and denied veterinary care.

Female dogs are bred as many times as possible with little to no recovery time in between. Puppies are torn away from their mothers and sold to brokers who pack them into crates for transport and resale to pet stores. The breeding dogs are sick, wounded and malnourished. The mom and dad of the puppy at the pet store are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive, along with the many puppies born with overt physical problems that make them unsalable to pet stores. When the dogs breeding usefulness is over, they can be killed or dumped.

Here is footage from a puppy mill rescue by the Humane Society of the United States

How to Avoid Puppies from Mills

Adopt a Puppy: Every year millions of dogs die in shelters waiting for a home. The best way to find your perfect dog is through a shelter or rescue organization. By adopting, you can help a dog that may have otherwise been euthanized and help end puppy mills by decreasing demand for puppies. Although you may have your heart set on a specific breed, there are many loving dogs who would be perfect pets. If you are set on a specific breed, but want to adopt, there are also breed-specific dog rescue organizations. Find adoptable puppies in your area at PetFinder.com

Find a Responsible Breeder: Responsible breeders take good care of their puppies and provide them with a loving and healthy environment. Never buy from a breeder before seeing where the dogs are raised and meeting the puppies parents. Most responsible breeders want to meet you and make sure the puppy is going to a good home.
If a breeder refuses this, it can be an indication that the puppy is from a puppy mill.

Do Not Buy From Pet Stores: Pet stores are what keep puppy mills in business and the puppies in demand. Although pet stores will deny buying from puppy mills, chances are they do or buy from brokers who buy from puppy mills. Pet stores such as Petland have been caught buying its dogs from puppy mills.

Do Not Be Fooled by Websites: Puppy mill websites can be masked with cute pictures of puppies and claim to have high standards of breeding and care. Many puppy millers pose as small family breeders online, in newspapers and magazine ads. Online, there is no way of knowing if these claims are true. Do not trust them. Also beware because many of these websites can be scams.

Have you ever adopted or rescued a dog? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

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