Puppy mills are very difficult to write about. If you don’t know what a puppy mill is, then be prepared to become emotional after reading this article. PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC CONTENT.
There are approximately 10,000 puppy mills in the United States today.
Puppy Mills Explained
Puppy mills, in the technical explanation, are commercial breeding facilities. Now, with this explanation, they don’t sound too terrible. Once you dive a little bit deeper, you will understand why these places are so harmful.
The Real Truth of the Matter
In the ‘every-day’ puppy mill, dogs are over-crowded, and living in extremely unsanitary conditions without veterinary care. In order to maximize their profit, mothers are bred non-stop without any time to recover. The puppy mill puppies are often sold to pet stores where people will see how adorable the puppies are without any idea of where they came from.
Now, not saying these people are ‘bad’ for not knowing… most people truly do not know about puppy mills and their horrors. Puppy mills are not something that is commonly talked about.
Living in Unsanitary Conditions
In a puppy mill, dogs are kept in cages with wire flooring that damages the paw pads on their feet. Cages are also often stacked on top of one another to maximize the profits of the organization. The more cages they can stack, the more dogs they can have, and the more money they can make.
There is a “marketing” statement here… quality over quantity. Once mother dogs are physically no longer able to produce, they are killed as they are considered to no longer be useful.
Genetics Don’t Matter
If a puppy comes from a puppy mill, the likelihood of that puppy having some type of congenital or hereditary problem is extremely high. In a puppy mill, dogs are bred regardless of what illnesses they may have. Remember, the puppy mill wants to make a profit, and if a mother dog can have puppies they will sell the puppies regardless of if they are healthy or not.
Once home, their new guardian may also realize their new puppy has pneumonia, parasites (like worms and fleas) or another illness they weren’t originally aware of when they adopted the puppy from the puppy store.
Other common problems include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Hip dysplasia
Behavior-wise, these dogs may show fear, anxiety, aggression, and difficulty in bonding with humans due to their lack of early socialization.
The largest red flag is purchasing from a pet store. Many pet stores, unless under contract with a humane society or dog rescue, will have puppies from a puppy mill. Stores in malls are most known for this.
A huge red flag to watch out for is puppies that are extremely overpriced. Take a look at these tips:
- If you go to the mall and see the most adorable Corgi puppy, ask how much she is. In puppy mill cases, these puppies can sell for up to $5,000 per puppy!
- If you ask to meet the parents, and they say the parents are not able to be seen, this is a red flag.
- Giving a puppy away at an extremely young age: Some puppy mills adopt puppies at as early as five or six weeks old!
The Bottom Line
Puppy mills operate with one main goal: to produce and sell as many puppies as possible, often at the expense of the dogs’ welfare. As potential pet owners, the power lies with us to conduct thorough research, ask the right questions, and choose not to support this cruel industry. By opting to adopt rather than shop, we can collectively make a significant impact on the demand for puppy mills and prevent adding to this ongoing issue.