Puppy Mill FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Puppy Mills

Q: What are Puppy Mills?

A: Pet shops buy their puppies from brokers. These brokers get their animals from puppy mills.  A puppy mill is a commercial breeding kennel that mass-produces dogs in usually cramped, crude, filthy conditions for resale. The constant confinement and a lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often result in animals who are unhealthy and difficult to socialize.

Q: How Do Puppy Mills Operate?

A:  Puppy mills operate like a business, except instead of car parts or shampoo, the "goods" produced are puppies to be sold to consumers.  This dog business is much like any other business in that there are three basic operating principals; the increase of goods, the decrease of costs, and the maximization of profits.  In puppy mills dogs are bred for quantity, not quality.  As direct result, breeders, brokers, and pet stores ensure maximum profits by not spending money for proper food, housing, or veterinary care.

Q:  Where Do Puppy Mill Dogs Live?

A:  To save money on the cost of housing dogs,puppy mill kennels can consist of anything from small cages made of wood and wire mesh to tractor-trailer cabs or simple tethers attached to trees.  Because of this make-shift housing, mothers and puppies often suffer from year-round exposure to temperature extremes.

Q:  How Many Litters Can A Mother Dog Produce?

A:  Female dogs are constantly bred and are often destroyed when they are no longer able to produce puppies. Because of this continuous breeding, mothers and their litters often suffer from malnutrition, chronic stress, and exhaustion.   To save on costs, the mothers rarely receive proper, if any  veterinary care.

Q: I got a puppy from the pet store, but she's really sick, what happened?

A:  Much like livestock, puppies are taken from their mothers at a young age and sold to brokers who pack them into crates for transport and resale to pet stores. Both sick and healthy puppies are packed into pickup trucks, tractor trailers, and/or airplanes.  Puppies who are shipped like commodities from mill to broker, from broker to pet store can travel hundreds of miles often without adequate food, water, ventilation, or shelter.  By the time the puppy has reached the pet store, they have survived the unsanitary conditionsat puppy mills and the grueling transport to the pet stores, they have rarely received the kind of loving human contact that is necessary for them to become suitable companions.

Q: Why are so many of these pet store dogs ending up in animal shelters?

A:  Due to inbreeding and over-breeding, unmonitored genetic defects and personality disorders, often passed on from generation to generation, are common.  Pet shop customers can end up with very high veterinary bills.  Often these sick, unsociable, or maladjusted dogs are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by frustrated buyers—furthering the companion animal overpopulation crisis.

Q: What happens to all of those breeds of dogs I see in the movies?

A:  Some people impulsively obtain purebred dogs, even though they may not be ready for the commitment that animal companions require. Movies, TV shows, and commercials have caused a jump in the popularity of certain breeds, yet very few potential dog caretakers take the time to investigate the traits and needs of the breed that they are considering.  Dog breeders see this as an opportunity for a profit.  When there is a surge in demand for a particular breed, puppy mills try to meet that demand, but when Jack Russell te rriers don't turn out to be just like Frasier's "Eddie" or St. Bernards don't act just like "Beethoven," rescue groups and animal shelters become flooded with these breeds.

Q:  Doesn't the AKC (American Kennel Club) help consumers purchase good dogs?

A: The AKC, which opposes mandatory spay/neuter programs for purebred dogs, receives millions of dollars from breeders who pay AKC registration fees.  Buyers may be swayed by talk of "papers" and "AKC registration," but these papers cannot ensure good temperament or good health.

Q: Ask yourself - do we adopt our children from commercial child-breeding facilities?

A: The answer and the decision is yours, but is it all that different to adopt dogs from puppy mills or get cats from catteries rather than going through an adoption facility?

Q: What Can I Do To Help?

A: Save A Life.  Every year, animal shelters destroy millions of dogs -- including purebreds and puppies -- and cats. PLEASE adopt a companion animal from your local shelter, humane society, rescue organization or veterinarian. You can also find animals to adopt at www.petfinder.com, www.pet-ark.com and www.pets911.com


Related phrases and questions that might bring you to our Puppy Mill Frequently Asked Question Page:

  • What is a puppy mill?
  • Pet shops and puppy mills
  • Puppy mill rescue  / puppy mill rescues
  • Puppy mill articles
  • Dog breeders and puppy mills 
  • Puppy mills in Ohio / Puppy mills in the midwest / Puppy mills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
  • Puppy mills investigated by CAPS / Read puppy mill investigation reports
  • Report abuse in puppy mills
  • Lobby against puppy mills / What can I do to help eliminate puppy mills?
  • Stop puppy mills now!

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