Early on in this blog, I wrote a series of posts about puppy mills. I wrote 7 parts of “Let’s Put an End to Puppy Mills” between October 2012 and April 2013. My blog didn’t get a lot of traffic back then, so probably not as many people as I would have liked read the series. So when I was asked if I’d like to support The Puppy Mill Project (TPMP) and share about their Puppy Mill Action Week and the Mothers in the Mill benefit, I was happy to do so.
Even two years after my series, puppy mills are still a huge problem. The Humane Society of the United States put out their annual report “The Horrible Hundred 2015: Puppy Mills Exposed” and this report encompasses 16 states with the worst problems. The only good news they had in there was that about two dozen puppy mills have been closed since their last report. My own state was not on the list but neighboring states of New York and Pennsylvania are, so I don’t doubt that there probably are puppy mills in my state.
If you are unclear on exactly what a puppy mill is, here is my explanation from the first part of my series:
Puppy mills are high volume commercial dog breeders, who sell either online or to pet stores. Their animals are often kept under deplorable conditions, such as:
- Unsanitary cages, so small the dogs have just enough room to move around. The dogs become dirty, matted, and often sick.
- Little to no veterinary care, meaning poor dental care leading to complications; as well as dogs with diseases such as heartworm and respiratory infections.
- Very little human interaction due to the large volume of animals kept. Puppy mills might have up to hundreds of dogs.
- Females are bred every 6 months, whenever they come into heat. This can go on for up to 5 years.
- No toys, no games, no exercise. Their sole purpose in life is to produce puppies for the financial gain of the breeder.
- When they are no longer useful for breeding, they are killed, abandoned or sold cheaply at auctions.
Some other sad facts, according to TPMP:
- 99% of all pet store puppies are from puppy mills.
- Approximately 2.5 million puppies are born in mills annually and more than 400,000 breeding stock dogs are imprisoned in these kennels.
- An estimated 3 to 4 million shelter dogs die every year.
What can you do to help? Spread the word: don’t buy a pet from a pet store, online, or at a flea market. Rescuing or adopting from a shelter are great options, but many people have good reasons for wanting a purebred dog from a breeder (two of my dogs are from breeders, and one is a rescue). If you want to buy, please find a reputable breeder that allows you to visit and see their whole property and the parents of the puppies (*clarification…both parents won’t always be on the premises, so realistically if you can at least meet the mother I think that is sufficient*), and make sure they are all cared for properly.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that a breeder claims their business is licensed by the USDA. That alone is not good enough….there are many USDA licensed facilities that have had multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, yet are still in business. There are loopholes in the laws.
Support non-profit organizations like The Puppy Mill Project, National Mill Dog Rescue, and Best Friends Animal Society. They all work tirelessly to protect animals and help communities to ban retail sales of puppies.
The Puppy Mill Project is honoring the mother dogs left behind in puppy mills in this week leading up to Mother’s Day, through their 5th annual fundraiser The Mothers in the Mills. They hold a benefit on Mother’s Day tonight in Chicago (click here for more details). You can buy a ticket to the event if you live in the area, or you can shop for items up for auction.
To me the bottom line is that as long as consumers are buying puppies that come from puppy mills, the greed of the operators will continue. You can also pledge not to buy anything at a store that sells puppies that are not from a shelter or rescue (see my sidebar for a pledge I took). Continue to spread the word so that everyone knows. If you are interested in learning more, you can enter “puppy mills” in my search box to be taken to a list of my previous posts on the subject. You can also follow TPMP by clicking on the links below.
This is the Puppy Mill Action Week Blog Hop hosted by Dolly the Doxie and Fidose of Reality. Visit each of these blogs to learn more about puppy mills, buying pets from pet stores, licensed and respectable breeding, how you can help and more.