As legislators work to crack down on puppy mills and backyard breeders nationwide, they still run rampant. As puppy mill awareness increases, we are going to go over some Frequently Asked Questions revolving around puppy mills.
1. What is a puppy mill?
According to the Humane Society, "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."
2. How can you tell if the dog is from a puppy mill or a reputable breeder?
Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and unsocialized. They will be commonly be sold at flea markets/swap meets or through internet sales, online ads (think Craigslist), and the seller of the dog will give the dog to the first bidder instead of an application process.
3. Why are most still allowed to operate?
While some puppy mills have been able to fly under the radar, there are many that have been allowed to continue to operate. The USDA is the U.S agency in charge of animal welfare which includes puppy mills and animal breeding. One story recalls an inspector visiting a property multiple times and racking up 20 violations in just a few years, yet the breeder was allowed to renew their license. It's been revealed that the USDA "most often chooses to take no action at all, leaving violators to continue conducting business as usual." (ASPCA). The USDA lets these puppy mills "go unpunished by combing through documentation buried in the agency’s public database and by submitting public records requests." (ASPCA). Essentially, they don't care.
4. What about in states that can't sell dogs in stores anymore?
Many states, including California and New York, have passed laws that pet stores can't sell breeder puppies due to the fact that these puppies are often sourced from commercial puppy mills. But many pet stores have used the loophole that only rescue dogs can be adopted from stores. Fake nonprofit organizations are established and then "adopt" their "rescue dogs" from the stores. Yet these dogs are designer dogs that still costs $6,000. An investigation from CBS2 goes more in-depth on how these stores have managed to get away with it.
Photo Credit: Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG
5. How can you help?
Here are a few things you can do to help put a stop to puppy mills courtesy of Animal Rescue Professional Association:
Tell your friends and family about puppy mills and what goes on in those establishments.
Choose to adopt from your local animal shelter instead of buying pets online or from pet stores,
Report abusive pet breeders or puppy mill operators to your local animal law enforcement agency immediately.