Thousands of puppies are raised each year in commercial kennels. Puppy mills are breeding facilities where animals are bred solely for profit. It’s not about improving a particular breed of dog, it’s not about producing great quality pets for people’s homes; it’s all about the money! Puppy mills can be identified by the inhumane conditions that the animals live in and constant breeding of unhealthy and genetically defective dogs.
Puppy mills maximize their profits by not spending adequate money on proper food, housing or veterinary care. Often there is no heat or air-conditioning available in a puppy mill, so the dogs freeze in the winter or die of heat stroke in the summer. The dogs are kept in small wire cages that they can barely move around in for their entire lives. The dogs are often covered with matted, filthy hair, their teeth are rotting and their eyes have ulcers. Female dogs are often bred the first time they come into heat and are bred every heat cycle until they can no longer give birth. Once litters are born they are cared for by their weak, improperly cared for mothers for a short period of time. At around 5 to 7 weeks of age they are taken away from their mother and sold to brokers who pack them in crates for resale to pet stores all over the country.
Pet stores often tell customers that their puppies come from local breeders or quality breeders. Don’t believe them, ask to see the paperwork and find out where the puppies really came from. Unfortunately unsuspecting families will buy a puppy from a pet store only to find that it’s very sick or has genetic or emotional problems. Sadly, hundreds of dogs bred by puppy mills are flawed as family pets by the circumstance of their birth, in small, crowded, feces-ridden cages and the lack of socialization and positive interaction with people. From birth to 16 weeks of age a puppy learns from its environment, this is a very crucial age in its development. Any negative experiences may cause severe social difficulties where the puppy may develop aggression, destructive behavior, anxiety or nervousness toward people or other dogs.
Puppy mills attract their buyers through advertisements in the newspapers, usually naming several breeds of dogs in their ad including the latest designer breed. Keep in mind that these puppies are not bred and raised by people who love the breed, not by people who care about temperament or conformation of the breed and certainly not about the puppy’s health and well-being.
There are over 4,000 federally licensed breeding kennels. Approximately 3,500 pet stores in the United States sell puppies. They sell approximately 500,000 puppies a year. It is estimated that the puppy industry in Missouri is valued at 40 million dollars a year. In one county in Pennsylvania, the puppy industry is valued at 4 million dollars a year.
There are seven states that are known as puppy mill states because they have the majority of puppy mills in the country. They are Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
There is no question that legislation is the key to regulating puppy mills. The mills claim that it’s not illegal for them to operate the way they do. Just because it’s not illegal, doesn’t mean its right! You don’t have to look up laws and statutes to determine that the way these dogs are raised in puppy mills is wrong. Anyone with compassion can see that.
It’s all about the money and behind the money is a lot of misery. The only statutes that exist are vague and apply to all animals. They don’t target puppy mill operations. To begin helping these poor animals, please contact your legislators and tell them you are concerned about the inhumane conditions of these breeding facilities and want laws to address these problems.