We, as Americans, hear a lot about “puppy mills” and the negative connotation that name carries. Let’s take a closer look as to why they are bad and how to avoid them!
To help shut down the industry people need to stop buying puppies from them! Simple idea but harder than it sounds to avoid, here is some information to make it easier.
Not going to mince words, puppy mills are a grotesque exploitation of our canine companions. They are quite literally the equivalent of factory farms, but with dogs.
Dogs! America’s most loved companion.
The American Humane Society defines a puppy mill as: “A puppy mill is an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and unsocialized. Puppy mills commonly sell through internet sales, online classified ads, flea markets and pet stores. In fact, the majority of puppies sold in pet stores and online is from puppy mills. Responsible breeders will be happy to meet you in person and show you where the puppy was born and raised—and where their mom lives too.”
These dogs are locked in cramped cages, only coming out to breed; they lack proper nutrition, little to no health care, no toys, and no beds. The parent dogs are then culled or sold at auction when they can no longer produce.
Why does this happen? Of course, the answer is purely financial. The addition of ethical measures to their practices would increase costs and therefore they would have to raise prices and risk profit loss. Puppy mills are in business for the sheer purpose of making money and they continue to stay in business because they know there is a market for it. Because it’s just a dog, right?!
Over a half a million dogs each year come from puppy mills. A large perpetrator of puppy mills is the Amish. They believe dogs are livestock just like any other animal and don’t deserve to be treated any different. Stay away from puppies that come from Lancaster, PA or Holmes County, Ohio, and Shipshewana, Indiana. IF you have a puppy from one of these places, you have a puppy mill dog.
If you are looking to add a new 4 legged family member, please know the signs of puppy mill and how to avoid them. Many people make the mistake of thinking because they buy a dog from a pet shop they are saving that puppy, but in fact they are supporting the business by increasing sales. Here are the top 5 things that can be done to avoid supporting these unethical practices.
- NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store. Pet stores that sell puppies in a retail capacity are getting them from a puppy mill.
- Stay away from online brokers. They are simply just an online store front equivalent for a retail store. You should have access directly to your breeder at any time to ask questions, get updates etc. A reputable breeder will never use a “middleman” like a store or a broker.
- Ask for health clearances on the parents and the puppy. A reputable breeder should be doing yearly exams and vaccines as well as screenings for congenital health issues. If these are done regularly there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have access to the records.
- Meet mom. And dad if possible. Lots of times you can find both parents on location. However, more often than not the stud dog may live somewhere else. But you should still ask to meet them and see what the breeder says as a response. Mama should be happy and alert, not lethargic shy or aggressive. Now remember though, some mama’s can be very protective of their babies. So if they come off a little ‘aggressive’ the reason may be that they feel you are a threat to the babies. You will be able to tell the difference between protective and aggressive
- DO YOUR RESEARCH. I cannot express how important this part of the process is. Once you have decided to add a puppy to the family, the next step is to decide the breed, whether you want to purchase or adopt (either way is ok), understand the commitment. Then research your breeders, make calls, ask questions, read the reviews online. A good breeder will want to talk to you. There should be an open line of communication between you and the breeder.
We’ve all seen the videos online of the “heartwarming” stories of puppies being presented as a surprise for Christmas or Valentine’s Day. No dog or puppy should be a surprise. Adding a puppy is adding a family member and a 10-15 year commitment.
Many people still use “puppy stores” or questionable places to get their pups because it means they can get the puppy sooner rather than waiting for one from a reputable breeder. I hear things like “well, they were very nice to work with” or “well, my puppy is happy and healthy”. These are the very reasons that these places stay in business. What we have to take a moment to think about it; how is the health of your puppy’s mother or siblings? Did they survive? Has momma had proper vet care or food?
If you find that you are not ready to consider all of these factors, then you’re not ready to give a dog the proper care and time they require.