Hooray for Puppy Mills!!

I’m not a politician, and I have never claimed to be interested in or able to comprehend what I’m sure are the delicate intricacies of how to create and enforce effective legislation.  I’m not big on telling people what they want to hear just for the sake of a few egos, and no one has ever accused me of being too soft on those I don’t necessarily agree with.

What I do know about is common sense, and as disinterested in politics as I may be, I get pretty passionate about injustice and cruelty, especially towards those who can’t protect themselves.  Child abuse is the most heinous crime I can think of, and nothing will ever compare with my outright loathing of those who are guilty of it.  Abuse against helpless animals is pretty far down the same road as child abuse, though, as far as I’m concerned.  In fact, much has been made lately of the link between animal abuse as a very common precursor to human-on-human (including children) crime.

That’s why I literally fail to understand how any decent, moral self-respecting human being can oppose efforts to curb the horrific and cruel practice of puppy mills.  Other than psychotic, neurologically damaged killers I honestly can’t think of anyone I know who would prefer that puppy mills stay in business and be allowed to profit and thrive off the misery and pain of dogs.

But I guess I don’t know enough people or have severely misjudged the humane tendencies of human beings at large, because somehow, there are still those who oppose puppy mill reform to the point where they go out of their way to ensure that no new laws are passed to protect dogs from this form of cruelty.  That’s exactly what happened recently in North Carolina, where a perfectly reasonable (and actually somewhat watered-down) puppy mill reform bill was summarily killed by the state legislative process due to mindboggling, astoundingly stringent opposition from a few powerful lobbying groups.

The bill was designed to "eliminate abusive practices and provide for the humane care and treatment of dogs and puppies by establishing standards for their care at commercial breeding operations."  That’s it.  Basically, it would have made sure that any breeding facility that had 15 or more breeding bitches and 30 or more puppies was subject to state regulation, licensing, oversight and humane practice requirements by the state.   And some people thought that that was a bad idea worth fighting against.  Unbelievable.

Now I don’t have any problem with respectable breeders who breed for the love of their particular breed and are concerned about raising puppies in the best possible way, maintaining a full regard for all their dogs’ mental and physical well-being.  While I can’t imagine why I would ever go to a breeder to get a new dog when there are so many wonderful pets waiting to be adopted in shelters (most of whom had originally come from puppy mills or breeders, by the way), I understand those that do, and don’t look down upon them at all.  What I do have a problem with are people who go out of their way to actively oppose efforts to ensure the well-being of domesticated dogs.

The North Carolina puppy mill bill (SB460) was killed before it could get to a vote because several lobbying groups brought their considerable power to bear on those who were trying to pass the bill and save dogs’ lives.  The groups who have proudly announced their opposition to and relish their role in the ultimate defeat (for now) of the bill include the National Rifle Association and (amazingly) the North Carolina Pork Council.  PORK!!!??!!  RIFLES??!!!?

Now I can tell you that I enjoy eating bacon as much as the next girl from time to time, and a good hearty debate about the right to bear arms is what Americans’ right to free speech is all about, but I’m not going to get into that now because it’s not relevant to a blog post about puppy mills.

OH WAIT…  Pork and guns ARE suddenly a part of the discussion about puppy mills, because amazingly those who lobby on behalf of pork and guns have thrust themselves into the debate and (for some completely inexplicable reason) decided that a bill designed to curb abuses against dogs in puppy mills is a threat to those they represent (pork farmers and fans of guns).  I may not be a genius, but I like to think I have decent head on my shoulders, and still I just don’t understand this.

The NRA and the Pork Council have gone so far as to actually say that they have more of a problem with those who sponsor the bill than the bill itself.  So basically they’re willing to let their fear of those in support of the bill dictate their stance on whether or not they’re ok letting dogs languish in abject misery in puppy mills.   The NRA want to protect the rights of hobby breeders, especially those that breed sporting hounds, while the Pork Council believe that the main goal of this bill’s backers is not so much about puppies but is actually a more sinister plot to eventually force the entire country to stop ever eating meat again!  Brilliant.

All I can think is that these groups feel that a simple bill to crack down on puppy mills is somehow an assault on their way of life.  I can’t see how that could ever be the case, and I don’t think that makes any sense, but it’s the only explanation I can come up with for why they would obstruct laws opposing puppy mills.  Unless they really do just hate puppies.

I don’t think there’s a group in the world that I agree with 100% of the time on 100% of the issues.  I’m sure the Pork Council and the NRA have played some roles in making the world a better place from time to time, but on this issue, they’re dead wrong, and this time they’re exposing their willingness to put themselves, their greed and their egos ahead of the well being of defenseless domesticated animals.  These aren’t chickens, pigs, cows or even fish (and yes, I do believe all animals should be treated better even if they are being bred for their meat) – these are pet dogs and if we can’t come together to try and protect them, then what next?

Amazingly, even the American Kennel Club has voiced strong opposition to puppy mill bills in the past, presumably fearing that the more stringent laws on puppy farmers will trickle down to their registered breeders as well, causing them to be subject to stricter licensing and humane treatment laws.  They might also be worried that less breeders will be paying to register their puppies via the AKC which would mean less money for the AKC.  And here’s silly old me thinking that kennel clubs in general were organizations that were designed to put dogs’ well-being first.  If a registered breeder is doing what they’re supposed to, I don’t see why more oversight would be a problem for the AKC or its breeders.  If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you’ve got no problem showing what you’ve got.  If anything, more oversight would help the legitimate breeders, as they would have official status and stamps of approval as humane breeders.

The bill’s opponents also say there are already laws on the books in North Carolina that deal with the issue of animal abuse and puppy mills.  Hmmmm.  I guess they missed the fact that the current bill was inspired from the recent rescue of 300 dogs from a North Carolina puppy mill.  The current stuff’s not working, Einstein.

So here’s an idea:  why don’t the NRA and Pork Council bring their considerable power to the table on behalf of pet dogs in puppy mills and find a way to give whatever legislation currently exists the teeth it needs to identify bad breeders and hold them accountable?

 That’s an honest challenge to those opposed to puppy mill reform:  you fix the puppy mill problem however you want, so long as the following issues are resolved including:

  • dogs being kept in small cages all their life
  • dogs having no social interaction with other dogs or humans
  • dogs that develop genetically-based diseases due to incestuous breeding practices
  • dogs that have their vocal cords ripped out to stop their incessant barking
  • dogs living in and among their own feces and urine in cages stacked on top of each other
  • dogs that don’t know how to walk on solid ground after having spent their entire lives in wire cages.

 You opponents of puppy mill legislation come up with your own solution to the above problems that don’t conflict with your love of pork chops and shotguns, and you’ll be absolved.  If you don’t, though, we’ll know where you stand:  you’re ok with abuse to puppies and dogs.  It really couldn’t be any simpler than that.

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96 thoughts on “Hooray for Puppy Mills!!

  1. Ethel

    Growing up as I did, I always wanted to help every animal I saw--or at least keep it as a pet. 😛 Dogs, cats, bats, mice, turtles (includes snappers!), fish (wild and domesticated), horses, chickens, worms, guinea fowl, geese, ducks, crawfish, caterpillars, nonpoisonous snakes, frogs, ants, birds (tried for a raven once...ouch) and oh so many more! I think I was a hoarder in the making...or maybe a really good farmer.

    Ahem. I love animals obviously, and donate to the ASPCA and to my local shelter. Though I've never been to a puppy mill, the name alone brings to mind unpleasantness. Like they're grinding out puppies en mass like a farmer grinds wheat into flour. It makes me shudder at the image. Little ones just being sprinkled on the floor like chafe then scooped up and stuffed into cloth bags then loaded onto an old donkey cart to be shipped out all over the country. It's a silly image, I know, but that's just what I see when I hear "puppy mill".

    I don't like them. >:(

  2. Liz & Koa

    Spot on. What is wrong with these people?

    Koa is from Jaime' Kennels, a puppy mill in Maine that was shut down after eight years of investigation, imagine, eiight years? The effects are still showing after 3 1/2 years. It breaks my heart. So many dogs that need homes and these places still exist.

    Thank you.

  3. Linda Michaels, MA Psych

    Thank you Victoria! The more I know you, the more I like you...seriously. You give me the opportunity and the confidence to speak my own mind in the face of our powerful opposition. Thank you for being strong. So many well-meaning pet parents who want puppies, simply don't realize where the mail order puppies come from...if only these puppies could tell their stories. Puppy mills regularly offer to replace sick puppies with "better ones' as if a sickly animal can just be thrown away like trash once someone has fallen in love with her or him. I too find it unfathomable how these things can go on in a so-called civilized world. We can work together to correct this because they cannot speak for or protect themselves.
    For the love of dogs.


  4. Cathi

    I live in Raleigh, North Carolina and frmo what I can tell, the Porkers and Gunnies who oppose this bill do so out of fear. They agree that dogs need protection and feel there are adequate laws in place, only more enforcement is needed.

    What I find extremely odd about this, is that the only reason these lobbies oppose this group is because the Humane Society is the majority supporter. They feel that if HSUS gets a "foot hold" into NC politics, it is only a matter of time before they get laws passed that will affect all animal based businesses. As a North Carolina voter and tax payer (as well as pork eater and gun owner and animal guardian) I can't believe this type of fear still exists. And I find it extremely frustrating that our elected representatives fall prey to it when this bill is overwhelmingly supported by the voting NC public.

    North Carolinians needs to pay attention to who we vote into office. We need to stop voting in these career politicians with a "Boss Hogg" mentality who will always follow the money and not the will of the voters.

  5. Karen

    Back in 1972 when I was in 6th grade, our class went down to San Diego, CA for a field trip to a tuna canning operation (very famous one). While walking along with the class on an outside walkway, there was a beautiful, adult, bottlenose dolphin laying on an enbankment among a bunch of rubbish, dead. I was so upset, I started asking questions why the dolphin was there. I learned, as many people know today, that dolphins were, and still in some countries, are trapped and killed in the nets while fishing for tuna. From that point on, I vowed not to eat tuna anymore, and my Mom, Dad and the rest of my family supported the idea. Now because of people joining together over the years and not buying/eating tuna, the companies listened and the US has dolphin safe tuna.

    We can do the same thing again. Stop eating pork products and that includes pig ears for dog treats. Anything pork related. Hit them where it really hurts, in the pocket book just like we did for the dolphins. Email, call or contact your friends, neighbors and even your enemies. Anyone who has pets, anyone who loves dogs (even if they don't have one). Tell them what is going on. Forward this information in emails and ask that the info keeps getting forwarded. Get people to understand what the pork industries are doing, and what suffering the puppy mills are infliciting on these wonderful animals. Lets get the pork industry to listen by hitting them in the wallet and change their position on the puppy mills.

    It worked for the dolphins; lets do this for the suffering dogs and puppies. Action is the key.

  6. Lesley - Leeds, United Kingdom

    Both myself and partner and children are loving owners of 3 Jack Russell terriers who we now know are the result of puppy farming in the UK and Ireland. Our oldest dog - Jack,a parsons terrier is just over 18 months old and has suffered extremely with defective elbow joints of what we now know is the esult of incestuous breeding. It has cost us a great deal of money to get him on the mend but much worse than this is seeing our adorable,faithful pet in so much pain and distress - it's completely hearybreaking. We didn't know the pet store we bought him from dealt in puppy farms until it was broadcast on our local news station. 12 months later and our Jack is still having hydrotherapy and physiotherapy.
    We went on to get a second pup from the same pet store as I felt so much that I wanted to protect them all. Jasper, a traditional, short-legged jack russell is one years old in September 2010 and also has joint problems!!!!. Needless to say the next time we visited the store for supplies they had even more jack russels sat forlornly in pens!!!! I would have liked to take them all but we bought another little one - he is at the moment only 9 weeks old but is already showing signs of the same problems as our other dogs. He is such a beautiful little thing and already knows his name and constantly follows us around the house and garden.
    I am wholly in favour of abolishing these ''puppy farms'' that have no consideration of the mental and physical damage they are causing these innocent animals. They are unable to tell us what they have already been through - I aim to treat mine with the respect,love and care that they most certainly deserve. They bring so much love, companionship and fun into our lives. If I could win the lottery I would personally buy up all of these poor animals and look after them the way in which they should be looked after - I would then spend the rest of the money campaigning to get these horrible places shut down once and for all and make it illegal to set up these places in the first place.
    God bless all the poor unfortunate animals that are at this moment stuck in one of these places - It is so upsetting...............
    God Bless

  7. Shirley Dodson

    This was an awesome, if somewhat disheartening read. I can't believe that lobby groups for riffles and pork could possibly get in the way of responsible dog ownership, but apparently laws that require owners to care for their furry children responsibly could possibly hurt them financially. I mean, it's pretty obvious isn't it? Once people realize that dogs (and in fact all animals) should be treated with kindness and respect, people might all of a sudden stop eating pork or stop buying guns to go out hunting! . . . . ok, I actually started that sentence intending to mock their logic, but that almost makes sense. But even if that were the case, money and profits should not be the end all be all of how we make our decisions. Whether or not something is the moral and right thing to do should be what governs our decisions. And I believe that one day through "consumer" education as to where to acquire their newest family member we will once and for all be able to close the doors of puppy mills with or without the help of legislation.

    Speaking of getting a new dog, I felt like putting my two cents into something I kinda found fault with. It was stated that the shelters are "filled" with purebred dogs and that they make up the majority of shelter dog populations. I'm quite sure that this is not the case. While certain areas might have higher percentages of purebreds than other cities, I'm sure that the national average is actually quite low. I did a google search on the phrase "Percent Purebred Dogs in Shelters" and just by glancing over the results it's pretty clear that this is not the case. The average stated percentage of dogs in shelters who are -- thought -- to be purebred is actually closer to 25%. But even if it were as high as 35% or 40% that leave an overwhelming percentage of "other". Reputable breeders do not breed "mutts", (and in reality, backyard breeders and puppy mills don't normally breed mutts either) and in fact state in the adoption agreement that should the adopting party be unable to keep their new dog for any reason it is to be returned to the breeder, thus keeping it away from the shelter and off of death row. This leaves irresponsible owners who leave their dogs intact and allow them to produce unwanted litters. The mutts. If we are to stop the horrible, endless parade of death at shelters across the country, we must stop the problem at the source. Anyone who has a dog and doesn't intend to breed them should have them fixed so as to not contribute to the problem. And this applies to the vast majority of the dog owning population.

    This isn't to suggest that I don't support adopting shelter dogs. Far from it. Seeing as most prospective owners just want a lovable companion, there's no better place to start your search than the shelter, where there are thousands of dogs across the country waiting to find loving homes. And many of these dogs have no problems or "baggage", they were simply victims of circumstances out of their control. However, if you have specific traits in mind, whatever they are, and you can't find the right dog in your local shelters after a few months of searching (unfortunately, most shelters I've looked into wont adopt out of their local area) then there is nothing wrong with going through a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders are protectors of the breeds that we all know and love and without their efforts to preserve and advance their breeds of choice, purebred dogs (and with them, predictable traits) will cease to exist.

    That said, I'm so glad to have found this blog and I can't wait to hear more from you Victoria. I absolutely adore your show and am an avid supporter of your training techniques. You actually have inspired me to want to become a dog trainer one day. Keep up the good work and show all of the world what positive dog training and communication is all about!

  8. Joie

    Victoria, the Puppy Mill dogs in PA really need help! The bill that was passed in 2008 that required solid flooring for nursing mothers and for dogs to be able to be let outside was just TAKEN BACK today! :'( We are all so upset and crying, as these "commercial breeders" as they call themselves, are winning this war. These poor Momma dogs are back standing their entire lives on wire flooring nursing their babies, because these "breeders" say it is more sanitary. It is only more sanitary because they NEVER clean the kennels!!! We need help up here in the Puppy Mill Capital of the North East!!!!

    Thank you

  9. Kevin


    Thank you for being a voice for dog's. And thank's for supporting adoption verses buying. Two of my dog's I found homeless in the street. Their both wonderful dogs. I would never buy or breed a dog. I've seen dogs suffering out their doing my mobile locksmith business and hear people talking about breeding dogs all the time.It's really sickening. If people really cared about dogs it seems like a no brainer adopt because dogs are being euthenized. People that go to a pet shop or a breeder they wan't a particular breed what ever is popular so they can show the dog off. Ou look what kind of dog I have. My wife calls it for pretty looks or an assesory. Why do these people have to have a certain breed? Why don't they just find a dog that needs a home there everywhere. Alot of people shouldn't have a dog. We should regulate that ,close down puppy mills and pet shops like petland .I wish more people would have a heart. I try to talk to people and would like to make more of a difference too. I will talk to people about your blog.

  10. sara

    Victoria, will you come to the pet parade this year. it's in Atlanta and benefits the humane society.

  11. Aislinn

    Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention - that which we already knew - but need to be reminded.

    We must all do our part to stop this abuse of these poor, helpless animals.

    Firstly, do not buy a dog from a pet store. Please, just walk into a shelter. just once, and you will see the most beautiful, loving animals who need homes. if we all adopted shelter animals, the puppy mills would cease to exist. There are puppies in shelters too, so please, if you are looking for a dog, or cat for that matter, go to a shelter, and save a life.

  12. Maria

    Thank you so much for this message. Some people don't know what's going on in the Dog world they're not educated enough to know whats been happening around the corner. How the pet stores are getting their animals and what the breeders are doing to keep a dollar in their pocket. Not this way! I wasn't involved before, I sure will be from now on. I've been visiting Victoria's wedsite and Blog and I'm learning a lot from the world of breeders the kennels etc.. I'm also learning from the people that write in these blogs itself. Thank you all for allowing someone like me that didn't know what was going on, to learn from you! Thanks to Victoria and her followers for saving the lives of these animals...It's not right!!!!

    You know I just cry every time a commercial comes on and I see a hurt dog, it's just so sad....

    Thank you,
    Maria Serrano
    [email protected]

  13. Christine Barber

    Puppy Mills are havens for abuse and everyone needs to be aware of what really goes on in them. These dogs don't have a voice to tell us they are in pain, or they haven't seen anyone in weeks or played with another dog. If people isolated children like that it is a crime, but to house an animal in horrible conditions takes months to years of investigation to better the lives of these innocent animals. Then there is the aftermath of them cranking out dog after dog with physical and mental issues due to these types of environments. Victoria, I am so glad that you take the time to speak out on your how, on your website, and in your events about the reality of these puppy mills and what they represent. There are so many good dogs in shelters and rescue organizations! Keep up the good work, Victoria!

  14. Cathy Schmiers

    I have two toy dogs. I have a toy aussie and a toy poodle. I try to be a good owner.I take them for walks sometimes.I try to feed them well.They get lots of affection. I could breed them but I intend on spaying them when they are about a year old.I dont understand people who see dogs as ways to make money without caring whatsoever about them.When greed takes over its time to do something else I think.Dogs cost money.They need vet care.They get fleas.They need to be groomed.Laws need to be made because some people will never have a conscience.They only understand how it will effect them.Dogs are sweet loyal creatures that deserve to be cared for.

  15. Pooja and Berit

    Hi miss stilwell
    me and my friend berit are raising money to give it to animal shelters(we love your show). the shelters we are donating to is paws chicago and the red door shelter. Half the money we raise is going to buy new toys for the dogs,cats,and bunnies.We are also raising money by selling things online. could you please go to our website that we made just for the animals.P.s. we are nine

  16. Laura

    To Lesley from Leeds.

    I understand your impulse to "rescue" the puppy mill dogs in the local pet shop, but buying them makes the problem worse. The only way to stop the abusive breeding is for everyone to STOP buying these dogs until adequate laws are passed and enforced to end the poor practices. Every time you buy one of these dogs, you are making that heartless business more profitable. They will breed two more sick and defective puppies for each one you buy.

    Please get any future dogs from a shelter where the dogs that can't be sold go. The puppy mills don't make any money on shelter dogs. The dogs in shelters who don't get adopted usually end up euthanized, so these dogs really need saving.

    Would you buy babies from a volume breeder, or would you say that no one should give money to support such an immoral practice? 'Nuff said.

  17. Hanna and Sissel

    why can't the world just ban puppy mills???
    I can't understand people that do these to dogs!!!!! it's so.....terrible!!!!!
    I love my dog ( Sissel ) i should kill myself if i should have to do that to her and other dogs.


  18. Kim Douglas

    Hi Victoria, 1st of can I just say that I'm one of your biggest fans 😉 ....As far as the puppy mills subject is concerned, well it's a subject that I have to deliberately try to stop thinking of day in and day out..tears me apart to think of those poor animals in cages..makes me so angry..I have a Lhasa Apso bitch and a chihuahua boy puppy who are my life practically..i look at their lil faces every day and love them more and more each time and i think if anyone harmed them in anyway i would have to string them up by their bits..so whilst I'm rubbing their bellies regularly I'm thinking bout those animals who will never know the joy of that sort of attention...Som

    ething has to be done...I think it's great ur raising awareness 🙂

    Kim Douglas

  19. Mary LaHay - Iowa

    Thank you, Victoria, for bringing attention to this ugly industry.
    One of the biggest culprits in this whole fiasco is the USDA APHIS program. They're supposed to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Everyone should read the USDA Inspector General's report on their audit of the inspection of kennels: http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf But be prepared. It's graphic and very disturbing.
    Iowa was more than 400 USDA-licensed commercial dog breeders. Only OK and MO have more. There are more than 23,000 adult dogs in those 400+ kennels. I researched USDA inspection reports and found that more than 59% of the kennels have been cited, many repeatedly, for violations to the Animal Welfare Act; gunshot as a routine form of euthanasia, cagemates killing one another, no shelter from our bitter winters or sweltering summers, dogs starving and without water. The list goes on and on and on. Yet NONE of these reports brought any disciplinary actions... until I started jumping up and down about it and got other Iowans to join me to address this.
    We were instrumental in getting a new law passed that provides more strict state enforcement. The USDA took notice and started stepping up. They're still not doing enough, but it's a start. And I'll continue to monitor the reports. If anyone out there wants info on how you can do this for your state, visit our website, http://www.iowavca.org, and use the Contact Us option to email me.

  20. KJ

    Your statment "If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you’ve got no problem showing what you’ve got" is exactly the issue. The Pork Council does not want us to see what goes on in their facilities, and that is the most likely reason for their opposition to this bill. Pigs are kept in the same dire circumstances as dogs abused in puppy mills (or worse). If one one type of animal gains protection, how far off are laws that protect all animals, even ones raised for food? As someone who believes these protective laws should exist for all animals without distinction, it's disheartening that this bill didn't pass. However, more awareness has been raised about the plight of puppy mills... which hopefully leads to a better outcome for future bills and a more informed consumer population.

    By the way, did you know pigs are as intelligent as 3 year old humans? Read more: http://mammals.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_intelligent_pig.

  21. Rebecca McLeod

    I am actually from North Carolina and I was pretty angry when the bill wasn't even offered a chance. It really sucks - tougher restrictions is just what our southern states need. And those that protested and sunk the bill did not have anything to do with the bill. Personally, I don't understand how they were allowed to put there nose up in someone else's business.

    However, I was glad that "Susie's Law" passed and will take effect December 1st of this year. It toughens laws on animal cruelty offenses, but does nothing, unfortunately, to toughen puppy mill regulations. Though if a puppy mill owner is convicted of animal cruelty, it would give them harsher punishment... However, I find that somewhat "beating around the bush," as we southerners often say.

    I really hope something will come to light here in NC that will push this bill back to life and forward to a (hopefully unanimously passing) vote.

  22. Mary

    Joey-Thank you for your comment on PA's gutting of their puppy mill laws. And, Victoria, thank you for your article. Want to do one on Pennsylvania and the horrible amount of puppy mills here? I volunteer for my local SPCA and a rescue that take in the poor animals that are rescued from these torture chambers. We sit and hold these dear creatures who are so afraid. We feed and groom them, train them and love them. It breaks my heart when they try to bark in joy and only a squeak comes out. We cheer their every accomplishment. But so many of them will never find a home except for the one they have now. I feel as though I have over 1000 dogs-my two and the populations of the places where I volunteer. I only wish that all "my dogs" were as happy and healthy as the two I have at home.

  23. Catherine

    I live in North Carolina too. Dogs who are neutered require a license that is $5, Intact animals require a $35 fee. However, if you're a hunter, you only pay $5 per dog, and they are allowed to breed them as they please. Hunters sometimes abandon dogs who are past their prime. Guess that'ws why they need to breed their dogs, so they can use up some more, and abandon them too.

  24. Antonia

    My puppy, a sweet and absolutely adorable 6 month Shih Tzu named Juliet is a puppy mill puppy. I bought her from a pet store with my hard earned cash and love that went hand in hand with my good intentions. I have heard about puppy mills, I am a vegetarian, and oppose the abuse of ANYTHING living, with that said, my decision to buy a pup versus adopting one stems from the following:

    1) I live in NYC, in an apartment. The place is big, big enough and clean enough for a dog of any size, with that said, I went through three shelters and was turned away because the system serves based on a first come fist serve basis over anything else. The system is so desperate to get rid of pets, they give them away to people who dont really deserve them, and waiting for HOURS just to be refused a dog because I didnt come early enough, or because my landlord didnt get back to the shelter right away is both time wasting and disheartening.

    2) If we're going to be politically correct, carry moral virtues, and oppose the abuse of animals, then we must all be vegans and thrive off of food we grow ourselves because otherwise we are supporting slaughterhouses, the current oil war(imported produce) and minimum wage labor. We would have to stop wearing makeup, and clothes, and get rid of all or stuff we have because no matter what we do as human beings, we are supporting something that is taking away from someone else. Its simple as that. I dont say that such is impossible, I do however think that this society doesnt cater to altruism unless there is profit in it...Which I guess defeats the whole purpose of altruism.

    3) And what about the puppy mill puppies? It isnt their fault they were brought on this Earth in the way that they were. It doesnt make them any less loving, amazing, and beautiful creatures. If a puppy doesnt get sold or is too sick to be sold, it gets sent back to the breeder where it too becomes a puppy producing machine. I see it as saving a dog, because Juliet will never know the horrors of such a place. She is happy and she is safe, and where she is from isnt not her fault. She is part of a system that doesnt define her. It doesnt generalize her and it will never be who she is. I would prefer that what happened to dogs in puppy mills didnt happen in vain, and while my money may have been pocketed by a heartless crook, my dog is in a spacious apt, getting walks every day, fed, loved, trained and groomed as any dog deserves. So whats so wrong with that?

    I understand people who get angry at people who purchase a dog instead of adopting, but I also feel like puppy mill dogs cannot be put into a general category, and neither can the owners. I didnt design the system that is currently failing the city, I merely found another way, with the same intentions at heart.

    Hope that makes sense,



  25. Mel Miller

    These mills should be abolished. Unfortuneatly this will probably not happen. How about we do to those as they have done to the dogs. Same with people guilty of animal cruelity that has nothing to do with puppy mills. If someone beats a dog, so shall he be beaten. Neglect, starvation,abuse in any form should be put on the inflicker. Oh but wait, we wont do that because we americans are not barbaric EXCUSE ME what do people think their treatmaent of animals is??? We are probably one of the most hateful people on earth. If we have an actual consequence for our actions people might start to think twice. Kind of like the deterent in Wyoming. All people are allowed to carry guns. If a would be robber walks into a store with the intent to rob it, he has to ask himself if Grandma in the corner is packing. Crime rate dropped. When will we show a little backbone and started protecting those who cannot protect themselves???

  26. Pingback: Puppy Mills :Stop Digging Dog

  27. sandy

    "All our dogs are from individual breeders" aka not puppy mills says the puppy store. The proof? On every dog info tag are the names of the breeders and location. One thing though, all those 'individual breeders' are from puppy mill states. Almost every puppy store in Connecticut advertises their dogs this way. Unfortunately people are fooled by this.

    The puppy stores are doing this because the puppy mill message has gotten out.

    We need a expanded puppy mill message that educates potential dog owners about puppy mill states and not to fall for this ruse.

  28. Andrea Riley

    These people that run this type of "nightmare" for those poor babies should be shot....that may sound terrible, so let's not shoot them....let's cage them and give them the same treatment!

  29. Blair Anderson

    Victoria, when you are finished knocking off this issue in NC, come over to NZ.

    Designer dogs are an issue it seems, everywhere. Our Dog laws are up for review. Your standing could catalyse and galvanise the issue and put paid to the malpractice in a heartbeat. You have my respect.
    You may run into my partner Natalie in Atlanta. Maybe you might consider keeping late October 2011 and come out and speak to our NZ Companion Animal Conference 1st week of Nov. We'd be very happy to host you at our "School of the Naked Dog" in Christchurch.

    Regards, Blair

  30. mama toni

    With the number of beautiful, sentient and innocent creatures being
    destroyed worldwide (b/c of the selfishness and downright stupidity of
    "human beings") I am amazed that ANYONE can look the other way
    concerning puppy mills. They are the moral equivalent of "a
    concentration camp for animals'.And I don't give a percolatin'-pee-pee what the
    "PC-POLICE" have to say about that phrase! Get over it...!

    If your ole' Sicilian mama here, had her way, there would only be ONE
    licensed breeder (per state) granted by lottery,for any given
    breed...First they would all have to have degrees in Veterinary Medicine
    (w/an emphasis on GENETICS, Animal Husbandry, etc.), and be subject to
    limits of no more than ONE litter whelped a year w/mandatory ASPCA
    Kennel inspections Twice yearly....It would be about improving and
    limiting the breed (and likewise the staggering number of homeless
    animals), not about making a buck! .

    IF ONLY !

    ..Or maybe someday, in a more perfect world.... at least a more HUMANE
    one...Oh, well...

    Yeah, I know, some idiot is gonna read this now and start a self-righteous
    harangue- diatribe about "personal liberty" or
    "governmental intrusion" or something else..But if YOU do, spend a day
    at your local animal shelter FIRST...Especially on "kill-day"...Then go
    around back to the loading area where all those big plastic trash-bags
    are are piled up waiting to be taken to the incinerator...You'll only
    have to loosen the twist-tie on ONE to know what's bagged as useless
    trash in the REST of them!

    You'll find every breed, of every age and gender, who's only crime was
    being born in some irresponsible moron's backyard or some
    flesh-exploiting kennel..And I'm betting that almost every one of them
    took that needle with their little tails wagging! !!

    THEN tell me 'bout what your "personal liberties" are WORTH in
    the eyes of God, or Buddha, or Allah, or WHOEVER -WHATEVER you claim to
    get YOUR moral compass from!!...I dare ya!



    P.S. UNSPAYED-NEUTERED is UNLOVED!..If you're set on a purebred dog,
    contact a rescue group for that particular breed..SAVE A
    LIFE!...Purebred dogs can be found in any shelter, anywhere, any day of
    the week..What does THAT say to you???

  31. Holly W

    This won't be a popular view, I'm sure, but conscientious breeders (I'm talking here about those who love and are educated about their breed, breed only when they want a puppy for themselves, and do all their health testing and appropriate vet screening) are a MAJOR, POSITIVE force in the dog world. Money for research into diseases that ALL dogs get, money for rescue, rehoming dogs they've bred for the life of the dog, keeping puppies for life if the right home isn't found, flying a dog across the country to a new home then BACK again because it didn't work out - all this and much more!!

    So - where do all those purebred dogs in shelters come from?

    Easy! Folks who bought a purebred dog, then let her get pregnant for "the kids to see the miracle of life", or let her get pregnant and couldn't sell the puppies, or bought a purebred and didn't spay/neuter as required by the contract with the breeder, or just dropped the dog because it "wasn't like the ones in the movie", or just got tired of the dog because it "was stupid".

    There cannot be that many people "moving and cannot take the dog". I've worked in vet clinics and done rescue work. I've seen what average people do to their dogs. Puppy mills are wretched. They should NEVER be licensed. Period.

    But - don't blame reputable breeders. And please - don't talk about "incestuous breeding" practices. Incest isn't a concept that applies to animals. It's a human problem.

    Thanks for the work you do. But let's be sure we get all the facts before we go off. ; )

  32. Arthur

    Puppy mills are sick because they treat dogs like things to use and when can't make any more puppies they are killed .How Wasteful and inhumane!!!!! Thank You Victoria

  33. Joanna

    I'm the proud owner of a rescued from a Puppy Mill Bernese Mtn Dog. Thankfully a rescue group went in and got 4 of these beautiful dogs out of an Amish Puppy Mill in Ohio --- where they are allowed to do this because it is considered a "cash crop" Ridiculous.

    I've had my boy for 3 years now and he still has such huge fear issues. It is very sad. Thankfully he is a very happy dog and gets to live an incredible life, but his life before rescue was atrocious. No human or dog interaction for 9 months, kept only in a cage. Who does this. It is just plain wrong. C'mon people, we need change.


  34. Shirley Nebel

    Victoria, what a spokesperson you are for standing up against puppy mills. I'm 100% behind you and would help close any puppy mill I should come across. I believe anyone that can mistreat an animal could do the same to a human being. Arthur's blog was spot on. We must be the voice of these abused animals. I would never buy a dog from a pet store. Although I am getting a designer dog, she will be from a private owner who doesn't sell animals to puppy mills. I'm not sure what the solution is but, unfortunately, some people don't want to go through the paperwork and waiting (some times only during certain hours of the day) to rescue their puppy. They want to walk in and walk out their puppy with little wasted time. So the shelters need to make it easier to find a dog and somehow we need to make it harder to sell a dog from a pet store. It also needs to be covered more on TV. Show pictures of puppy mills, let people see how horrible they are. Not just once in awhile, but often. Thanks, Victoria, for caring so much. You are one of my heros.

  35. Susie

    Hello Victoria, you say you are not a politician, but maybe it's time you became one. You are a well known person, you are smart, funny and good looking. All of these things give good press coverage, something that these 'dumb animals' so badly need. We read here that the pig farmers are frightened of giving one paticular lobby group a voice, maybe they are right to be frightened, we can all look back at world affairs and see where extremests have inserted themselves into everyday life and ultinately brought entire countries to their knees.
    My personal opinion is that paranoia is running the show there.
    We have, in this blog a great example of how public opinion changed an entire industrys way of doing business. Tuna fishing. That was done with media covarage. Media covarage brought to the worlds attention by a well known household name.
    Heres another one. Fair Trade goods. In the begining if you wanted to buy fair trade goods you shoped in Oxfam, slowly we saw one or two lines appear in our supermarkets until we see todays picture, coffee houses that only stock fair trade coffee and major chocolate suppiers are proud to be part of the fair trade alliance. Lenney Henry and comic relief brought that to us.
    We need someone who is known world wide, you are, your show is seen in so many countries, you have also helped many celebraties to have better relationships with their own pets, each and every one of them would also be a voice ready to heap scorn on the pig farmers paranoia.
    Let me give you a last foot note to think on.
    I used to work in an animal shelter in Belgium, one of our other workers was a local politician who told me an dreadful story, one that is still current now. In England puppy farmers who have extra stock they can't shift take that stock, i.e. puppies over the channel and sell them to unsuspecting Euopeans. These puppies are Kennal club registered by vertue of blood line only. These are the puppies that are so imbread it's a wonder they are alive, they certanly don't meet KC bread standards. But unsuspecting Europeans buy these puppies assuming that the KC regdistrations means that the puppy is, healthy, well bread and worth paying a small fortune for.
    Be a voice Victoria, if Lenney Henry can do it for farmers in third world countries, I'm sure you can raise awareness for our dogs.

  36. Emily

    When I was a kid, my mom was working for a residential facility for Alzheimer's patients. They went and got a dog for the patients from the pound, and older female Border Collie.

    The dog had been used for breeding at one of these puppy mills. She was bald on the top of her lower back, her teeth were worn down from chewing on metal. She was incredibly protective over food and would always eat grass when she was put outside. To trim her nails, she had to be sedated at first because she was so terrified of the clippers. We had her stay with us for a few days before they wanted to introduce her to the facility, and she grew very attached to my mom.

    The aggression problems got way worse from there. She saw my mom as the only person who had ever been kind to her, and became fiercly overprotective, biting and nipping at people (mainly men, especially those wearing hats) who got too close. None of the bites were bad because the dog had no teeth, but it was enough where the management decided she was the wrong dog for the job and had to be put down.

    My mom ended up paying $400 compensation to the facility so we could take the dog home instead. Because a dog that was put through so much didn't deserve to die just because some company didn't have the time or money to help her.

    And over time, she became the sweetest dog I have ever met. Once she realized that she was in a loving home, and would always have food and shelter, the aggressive behavior was gone. For probably the first time in her life, she could run and play and really be a dog.

    This is the reality of puppy mill breeding dogs. They are so scared and abused and so many get put down because people just write them off as dangerous and don't consider that it isn't their fault.

  37. Cora

    The AKC is IN the puppy mill business. They support puppy mills and lobby with puppy mill operators and brokers because most of the AKC's income comes from puppy mill puppy registrations. (They have a business deal with the biggest puppy mill broker in the country, Missouri's Hunte Corporation, which receives our tax dollars through the Farm Bureau and USDA)

    Do a google search for "AKC puppy mills"

    The so-called "responsible" show or hobby breeders of the corrupt AKC do not care about the dog abuse. They only care that they get the money from the puppy mill registrations to fund their expensive dog shows, breed clubs, and the like

    Check out http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=American_Kennel_Club#AKC.2C_NAIA_.26_state_breeders_associations

    The AKC supports just about every form of dog abuse in existence, if it means profits for breeders.

    The AKC has been corrupt for some time, and AKC show breeders are often themselves running puppy mills on the side. But the lies fly thick and fast.

    they also hire a tobacco lobbyist, Rick Berman, to lobby to protect the puppy mills.

    The AKC is about as corrupt as they come. It is all about the money. They are NOT an organization that represents the health or humane treatment of dogs.

  38. Archie

    Wow. It's not even like they wanted to get RID of mills. They just wanted to improve them and make them more humane.
    This sort of thing really makes me lose my faith in humanity.
    WHO would oppose this and WHY?
    I do not understand, I cannot understand, I'm glad I DON'T because I feel like I would have to be a really screwed up individual to understand why someone would be AGAINST making things BETTER for harmless little puppies.

  39. Elle

    It's not that these organizations are okay with the abuse of puppies and dogs. The reality of the situation is that they are okay with abuse to ALL animals. The Pork Council is fearful that, if we begin to impose higher welfare standards for puppy mills, eventually we will begin to do the same thing for pig farmers who also rely on minimal standards of care for their animals for maximum profit. Many farmers are able to escape regulation under the Animal Welfare Act because farm animals are excluded from the Act's definition of "animal." Because of this, we are seeing individual states create legislation to better conditions for both farm animals and dogs and puppies in puppy mills. To organizations such as the the Pork Council, any advancement in animal welfare legislation is a threat to their industry and, more importantly their wallets. Once people begin to care about the standards of care for one animal, there is fear that they will begin to care about the standards of care for all animals.
    In regard to the NRA, their thinking is similar. They are fearful that any advancement in humane standards for the care of dogs and puppies could evolve into stricter legislation regarding the hunting industry

  40. Animal Mill Hater

    Whenever I think of animal mills (that's right, there are more than just puppy mills) I start crying and want to tear the millers to shreads.

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