What are puppy mills?
Puppy mills are breeding facilities that breed purebred puppies in large quantities. The puppies are then sold to pet stores, through newspaper advertisements, or online.
Though there are many legitimate breeders, puppy mills often over-breed the dogs, and in some cases, even inbreed. This brings on an array of medical problems for the dogs and puppies.
The cute little puppies are often forced in small cages that are overcrowded. Additionally, there is very little human socialization, which is an important factor in all puppies lives, especially in such tender years.
In order for the breeder to ship out as many puppies and make as much money as possible, the puppies generally receive inappropriate veterinary care. Sometimes, the documentation of vaccines has even been forged. The worst part… unwanted puppies are killed.
How do I avoid purchasing a puppy that was bred in a puppy mill?
Pet stores are often full of puppies from puppy mills. The pet store is out to make money and generally does not care where the puppy came from, but rather is only interested in the largest profit margin. Puppies are merely inventory for the pet store. Unless you make a specific inquiry as to the origin of the puppy and investigate the breeder, a pet store is not the best place to purchase a puppy.
Newspaper and internet advertisements are also venues that generally promote puppy mills. It is easy to see a picture of a cute puppy and fall in love, but what you don't see is the massive overcrowding and poor health care.
Also, consider the alternative of selecting a puppy from your local shelter or purebred rescue group.
When visiting a breeder, how do I know if it is a puppy mill?
Here are some signs that you have found a legitimate breeder:
- The puppies are eager to see people and do not shy away
- The living area for the puppies and clean and well-kept
- Puppies are fed premium dog food
- The breeder only breeds a few breeds and knows the breed standards (size, color, temperament)
- The breeder encourages you to spend time with the parent of the puppy and multiple visits
- The breeder shows you the medical record and explains the vaccinations
- The breeder shares potential genetic problems inherent in the breed
- The breeder is active with local, state, and national kennel clubs
- The breeder provides a written contract and health guaranty and allows you time to read it thoroughly
- The breeder offers training tips and provides references of other families who have purchased puppies
Doesn't someone need to rescue the puppies from the mill?
Some may argue that unless the puppies are rescued from the puppy mill, they may be killed; however, it is important to see the big picture.