What Is A Puppy Mill?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
You may stop to ask how much is that doggy in the window, but do you ever stop to think about how he got there? Chances are, that pet store pooch is from a puppy mill.

If you are thinking about buying a dog, you need to be careful where you get it. It may be tempting to simply stop in to your local pet store and purchase one of the puppies available, but this not an educated and responsible choice. You don’t know where the puppies in that store came from and it’s highly likely that they were bred in a puppy mill. Let’s talk about what a puppy mill actually is, why they are bad, and what you can do to stop them.

Related: Help The Puppy Mill Project Shut Down The Puppy Production Line

What is a Puppy Mill?

A puppy mill is a commercial breeding facility where large numbers of dogs are bred for sale primarily in pet stores, and also on the Internet. It is estimated that about 90 percent of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. These stores typically do not look into the facilities where the puppies are born, they simply take the wholesaler or supplier at his word that the puppies were raised in a safe and healthy facility. In many cases, the dogs used for breeding in puppy mills are kept in cramped cages and forced to produce litter after litter for as long as they live. Conditions are squalid with overcrowding being one of the main issues – dogs in puppy mills are also frequently malnourished or forced to suffer from medical conditions with no veterinary care. In short, puppy mills are designed to maximize the wholesalers profits at the expense of the dogs used for breeding.

Related: Help The Puppy Mill Project Shut Down The Puppy Production Line

Things You Can Do to Help

While you alone may not be able to stop puppy mills from churning out puppies, there are a few things you can do to contribute to the fight against these horrible facilities. The number one thing you can do is to be responsible about where you buy your puppy. Do not buy from a pet store unless you are able to make direct contact with the supplier and can confirm that it is a reputable breeder who follows safe and responsible breeding practices. The only exception to this rule is for pet stores that only offer puppies and dogs from local animal shelters or rescues. It is still possible that these dogs were bred in a puppy, but removed by a shelter or surrendered by the original owner. However, you will be supporting the shelter in adopting the dog rather than supporting the puppy mill in which it was bred.

Related: What To Look For In A Reputable Breeder

When searching for a reputable breeder from which to purchase a puppy, make sure you do your research. Not only should you call and speak to the breeder directly but you should visit the facilities to make sure that both the puppies and the breeding stock are housed in safe, sanitary facilities and that they are in good health. If the breeder fails to answer your questions, doesn’t want to give you a tour of the facilities, or if he offers puppies less than six weeks old, these are all red flags and signs of a breeder who chooses his own profit over the welfare of his animals.

In addition to purchasing your puppy from a reputable breeder, you can also support local, state, and national legislation that aims to protect animals from cruelty. Write to your local council in support of laws that limit the number of animals a person is allowed to keep and breed. Vote for laws that aim to ensure proper treatment for animals including access to clean food and water, proper housing, and veterinary care. You can also urge (by petition, boycott or peaceful demonstration) your local pet stores to supply pets from local shelters instead of buying them from questionable sources.

Puppy mills are a huge problem in this country, but there is something we can do to get them shut down. Join forces with other pet lovers who share your belief, spread the word about how cruel this mills are and stand up for the rights of helpless animals. Together, we can put an end to puppy mills for good.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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