First of all, let’s start by saying that not all breeding kennels are puppy mills. There are many responsible breeders out there who take great care in the breeding of their puppies and dogs. These people are not the target of this article. The intention of this article is to help inform the general public about the horrors of puppy mills and to urge people to educate themselves before deciding where to buy a puppy.
What is a puppy mill? A puppy mill is basically a business that mass-produces puppies to sell over the internet, at auctions, flea markets, or to pet stores, brokers, etc. The main objective of a puppy mill is to make money. For this reason, there is little care or concern for the animals involved.
Physical conditions at puppy mills are often enough to make most people sick. The breeding females are often kept in small, cramped cages with very little human contact. Often, the only handling they receive is rough at best and abusive at worst. The breeding stock and the puppies are kept in wire cages which are rarely, if ever cleaned, forcing the dogs and puppies poodle puppies for sale near me to live in their own excrement. It is not unusual for the living quarters to be exposed to the elements. Many puppy mills that have been investigated have had young puppies in wire cages outside in sub-freezing temperatures with not enough bedding to keep them warm. In the summer, puppies and dogs kept in metal cages with no ventilation can literally cook to death. Are these the kind of conditions you want your future puppy raised in?
The physical health of the animals is not of any more concern to the owners of the puppy mill than the living conditions are. Often, the breeding females are bred from their first heat cycle and every cycle after that until they are no longer able to breed. These poor dogs are literally bred to death. What happens when a female is no longer profitable? They are disposed of. These people are in this for money, so they are not going to feed a dog that is no longer bringing in money. There is rarely proper vet care for these animals – out of date vaccinations, if they are given at all, animals that have tumors or go blind are kept, without medical attention as long as they can produce offspring. There is little if any consideration for the genetic defects that in-breeding or breeding carelessly can cause. This often produces puppies that have many health problems later in life.
Of even less concern to the puppy mill breeder is the mental and emotional health of the animals. Many puppies obtained from a puppy mill are taken away from their mother and littermates too soon, causing behavioral and fear issues. These puppies may be fearful of people or other animals, acting aggressively out of fear to protect themselves. These puppies usually end up in shelters or being euthanized by owners who don’t know what else to do with a dog they cannot control.
What should you do if you think you’ve found a puppy mill with deplorable conditions and sickly animals? First, report it to your local animal control facility, law enforcement agency and humane society. If you do not report it, nothing will change. One of the most important things to remember, and perhaps the hardest rule to abide by, is do not risk compromising the investigation of the puppy mill by providing food, water, bedding, etc. to the animals until the authorities tell you that it is okay to do so. Many puppy millers have escaped prosecution because some well-meaning person has provided these things to the animals before the authorities arrive. By waiting until the proper time to help the animals, you will have a better chance of helping them long-term, rather than just temporarily providing comfort and allowing the puppy miller to continue subjecting them to the terrible conditions day after day.
There are several things you can do to help stop puppy mills. One of the best things you can do is to adopt a puppy from a rescue group or shelter. If you are set on a purebred dog, remember that there are many breed rescue groups that specialize in a certain breed, and purebreds wind up in the local shelter just like mixed breed dogs. If you really want to buy a puppy, do the research and make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder. Never buy from a pet shop that sells animals, the guy in the local supermarket parking lot or flea markets. If you are buying a puppy, you should be able to see at least the mother and you should be able to inspect the living conditions of the animals. As much as you want to rescue a puppy from these conditions, you are creating demand for what the puppy miller is producing, thereby perpetuating the puppy mill problem. When you buy a puppy mill pup, you are supporting the puppy mill business and forcing the adult dogs to a miserable life of being bred over and over again in poor living conditions.
You can help stop puppy mills even if you are not ready to bring a new puppy into your life. You can write letters to your state and federal legislators to let them know that you support laws to protect pets and humane regulations. You can write a letter to the editor of your newspaper addressing your concerns and to educate the public about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores. You can remind your friends to use care when selecting a breeder to buy from and help research responsible breeders.