Do you know what puppy mills are?
Puppy mills are mass dog-breeding operations have been around for decades, but they continue to be a problem because unsuspecting consumers keep buying those adorable puppies in the pet store window. Or on some slick Internet site. Or even through an ad in the trusted local newspaper.
But behind the friendly facade of these pet shops, web sites, and newspaper ads, there often lies a puppy mill. These canine breeding facilities frequently house dogs in shockingly poor conditions, particularly for “breeding stock” animals who are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.
Find out what you need to know about puppy mills and what you can do to shut down these ‘houses of horror’!
- Get the Facts on Puppy Mills – HSUS
- Stop Puppy Mills
- Prisoners of Greed
- No Puppy Mills
- Puppy Mill Rescue
- Last Chance for Animals – Puppy Mills
An excerpt from Puppy Mills, Puppy Mills and More Puppy Mills
The bane of existence for dogs, a life of neglect, abuse, torture and suffering, and when they have outlived their usefulness, an often brutal ending! Disease, malnutrition, dehydration, sickness and death flourish in cramped filthy cages, freezing in the winter, scorching in the summer. Females bred and over-bred from their first ‘heat’ cycle through every subsequent one until their bodies are so used up and broken down that death is a welcome release for them. They never know a kind word or a gentle touch.
And please believe me when I say that my description barely touches on the reality. If you have a strong enough stomach and hard enough heart, you can do a search engine query for ‘puppy mill’ and look at more images and read the horror stories.
Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania are known as the major puppy mill states but puppy mills are not confined to just these states. You can find them in any state, mostly in the more rural areas. Most of the time the owners skate right on the edge of the law, but they know, no matter how much they deny it, that what they’re doing is not right, so they try to ‘hide’ their dirty little operations out of sight.
With recent heightened awareness of animal cruelties and abuses and more advocates fighting for ends to these abuses, you are seeing more and more of these inhumane ‘commercial breeders,’ as they call themselves, under scrutiny, raided, closed down and their owners finally facing charges of cruelty and abuse.
The costs of rescuing, treating and caring for rescued puppy mill puppies and dogs often run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, dollars that come from contributions, donations and our taxes. And far too often, after these dogs are finally healthy and cared for, they are returned to their abusers, back to the life of suffering and torture they were rescued from due to the leniency of the laws.
Cracking down on puppy mills is not easy. Many of these large ‘commercial breeders’ are backed by large organizations whose revenues depend on this mass breeding. Take the AKC for instance, it has been surmised that up to 80% of their registration fees come from ‘commercial breeders.’ Do you think they want them closed down? In theory, the AKC inspects about 5000 breeding organizations a year and they say when they find substandard conditions they will not issue registrations to the puppies produced there. Easy enough to overcome for puppy millers, just change the kennel name or registrar name.
Approximately 500,000 puppies are ‘produced’ each year from the country’s 4000-5000 puppy mills. About half the puppies die due to cruel substandard conditions. Even then, the ‘business’ is so lucrative that the losses are just considered ‘part of doing business,’ and they continue. They ‘trash’ their losses and rake in the bucks.
Almost as bad as the animal victims are the human victims; the people who buy the puppies either from a pet store, a newspaper ad, an internet ad or right from the puppy millers themselves. So many of these puppies are sick, disease ridden and their tiny bodies are usually dehydrated, malnourished not to mention genetic defects and other problems. People who buy these puppies often wound up spending thousands of dollars trying to fix their new canine companion that they have already grown attached to, only to have them die or live short, painful lives.
It’s a vicious cycle and there is only one way to break it. Laws and legislation will only go so far and many of these puppy millers can skate on the edge of abuse and cruelty laws, if they even exist, for years. People need to learn about puppy mills. So many people just plain do not know that the cute puppy in the window of that neighborhood pet shop comes from a puppy mill or that the ads in the newspaper or on the internet are for puppy mill puppies. Sure, pet shop owners will tell you they come from local breeders but unless you can actually check out the breeder and the puppy’s parents, you have no way of knowing. More than 95% of puppies come from mass breeding businesses, many of these fit into the description of a ‘puppy mill.’
Ethical breeders will not sell their puppies to just anyone. They care about what happens to the puppies after they go to their new homes. They provide health guarantees and many will have a contract that if things do not work out, the dog is to be returned to the breeder. Ethical breeders have standards and morals and care about the breed, not just lining their pockets on the misery of living creatures.
Yes, in some areas legislators are working to improve the laws but even if the measures pass they will still fall far short of what it will take to really make a difference. What is necessary is to get the word out, to educate and show people and teach people. There are thousands and thousands of dogs each year that are killed for lack of homes, why bring more puppies into the world, especially puppies that are sick, produced out of often, the most torturous and horrendous conditions imaginable.