Puppy Mills


Photo by Mandi Pratt | www.greyboypetprints.com

People have an ethical responsibility to raise and treat animals with care and respect. The evidence is overwhelming – puppy mills (farms) are no better than factory farms for dogs. Apart from being cruel and abusive places there are many reasons why a consumer must stay away from purchasing a puppy from a pet store, flea market or over the internet. Most puppies sold in this way are from puppy mills and back yard breeders.

Do puppy mills damage puppies physically?

  • Puppy mills breed puppies for bulk and profit with no concern for health or temperament. Many puppies that are sold from these places have severe health conditions. Puppies that don’t die within a few weeks of purchase can experience health problems throughout their lives. Many families lose their puppies shortly after buying them from pet stores or back yard breeders.
  • The cost to families whose puppies don’t die but continue to have health problems into adulthood can be financially draining, and many of these dogs end up either being euthanized or dumped into the shelter system.
  • There are many documented cases of puppies being sold with serious diseases that can be transferred to humans. Children are at particular risk if they come in contact with such pups and dogs.
  • Breeding bitches and sires are rarely given veterinary care and live in misery. Those that are rescued are physically and emotionally scarred from their ordeal and often undergo major medical procedures to stop their suffering.

Do puppy mills damage a pup’s mental health?

  • Puppy mill puppies are kept in appalling conditions with little contact or experience of other dogs, people or environments in the vital weeks when mental and physical development is so crucial.
  • Many puppies are removed from their mothers and sold too young (4 to 7 weeks old) to maximize profits. It is vital that puppies are with their mothers and their littermates until at least 8 weeks old. Puppies learn a lot about social interaction from their littermates and valuable life lessons from their mothers.
  • Behavioral science has proven that the most valuable time for a puppy to learn from its environment is from birth to 16 weeks. A puppy is like a sponge at that time and if it has not had positive experiences in all different kinds of environments before 16 weeks of age, it can develop severe social difficulties such as aggression, destructive behavior, anxiety and nervousness towards people and/or other dogs. This negative behavior can be difficult to change even with training and behavior modification therapy.
  • From the moment they are born, puppies need to have lots of social interaction and handling by humans in order for them to build that important human/animal bond. If this is not done from birth a pup will be uncomfortable with human interaction. A dog like this will be nervous, anxious and have a greater risk of responding aggressively towards a human.

Puppy mills are inhumane

  • Breeding bitches are used as breeding machines and kept in horrific conditions their entire lives. Most bitches never see the light of day or feel grass under their feet. Some are so sick and mentally depressed they are unable to give the guidance their puppies need. Because of this many puppies that come from puppy mills are emotionally numb and don’t know how to play with toys, other dogs or humans.
  • Male dogs used for breeding are kept in similar conditions. When adult dogs from both sexes are no longer producing puppies they are often drowned, shot, starved, gassed or electrocuted. Puppy farmers rarely go to the expense of humane euthanasia.
  • Dogs receive limited to no veterinary care in a puppy mill environment and often die from treatable medical conditions, starvation and neglect.

If puppy mills are so cruel why do people buy puppies from them?

  • People rarely buy puppies straight from puppy mills and don’t realize that when they buy from a pet store, yard sale, flea market, over the internet or in the local paper, that the puppy is from a mill. No self respecting breeder that is concerned for the health and welfare of their puppies will sell them to a pet store. Even the fancier looking pet stores still get their puppies from puppy mills or middle men that work for the industry regardless of what they tell prospective clients. Learn how to find the right puppy.
  • People who buy dogs from sources where they are unable to see what the breeding environment is like and where there is no opportunity to meet the mother are buying a potential liability. A lot of information can be gained just by watching a mother dog interacting with her puppies, and a breeder will know of any potential genetic abnormalities that might affect their puppy’s mental and physical development. If it is a responsible breeder, there should be none.
  • Puppy mills often hire ‘middlemen’ to sell their puppies. These men and women might pose as rescue workers, run unlicensed ‘shelters’ or even create a homey looking environment where the buyer can view the pups with their mother only to be returned to the mill once the puppies are sold. People are often conned by these middlemen and ‘halfway houses’.

Do puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem?

  • It has been estimated by the Humane Society of the United States that an average of 4 to 5 million dogs are put down every year and only 5% of those for medical reasons. Why? Because there are too many dogs and too few homes to care for them. The last thing this country needs are puppy mills that breed thousands upon thousands of dogs a year to add to the pet overpopulation problem that exists in the United States and other parts of the world. The more they breed and the more the unsuspecting public buys, the more dogs will end up in shelters.

Bottom Line
Legislators have a responsibility to provide laws for the common good. The only way this horrendous situation will change is with education and effective legislation. It is the government’s responsibility to keep the people they serve safe, but if more and more of these puppy mills are allowed to operate, the implications will have a negative impact on us all. It is very sad when dogs are sick and/or aggressive because of where they were purchased. The problem needs to be tackled at source and the despicable practice of puppy farming must become a thing of the past. Action needs to be taken now to keep dogs, dog owners and the non dog-owning public safe.

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