Puppy Mills - Factory Farms for Man's Best Friend

pw14aPuppy mills typically are large-scale dog breeding facilities that mass-produce purebred and mixed-breed puppies for resale to brokers who, in turn, sell directly to pet shops, and where emphasis on financial profit is placed above the dogs' health and well-being. 

They are also referred to as puppy farms or canine factory farms, places where intensive confinement is the norm.

Puppy mills can also be licensed facilities/kennels that sell directly to the public, and can house as few as a dozen dogs or exceed 1,000. Even so-called reputable or AKC hobby and show 'fanciers' can and do operate puppy mills. 

The majority of puppy mills are located in the Midwest, but several hundred are also found in PA's Lancaster County, where Amish & Mennonite breeders flourish in “the puppy mill capital of the East."  Thousands of Amish and Mennonite-owned puppy mills are found in Ohio and Wisconsin and New York's Finger Lakes Region.

Holmes County, Ohio, population 39,000, now leads the pack with almost 500 kennels, and most of these are Amish-owned. For more information on Ohio's puppy mills, click here.

In a typical puppy mill, hundreds - even thousands - of adult dogs (the “breeding stock”) are bred continuously. These dogs live miserablepw19a lives in crude, tiny, mostly outdoor structures.  The “breeding stock” never gets out of their wire cages; they never touch the ground or run in the grass; they are never free, safe, loved or treated like companion animals. They are often inbred, resulting in a myriad of genetic defects which are inherited in the puppies. 

Puppies are taken from the mothers between 5-6 weeks, before their immune systems are strong enough to withstand transport. As a result, many puppies have contagious viruses, infections, congenital defects, parasites, and other health conditions. In addition, these puppies tend to exhibit a host of emotional and behavioral problems resulting from the poor health of the breeding stock, the poor conditions, the stress of transport, and the lack of maternal and sibling bonding in the first weeks of life.

High prices and American Kennel Club (AKC) registration papers DO NOT guarantee a quality, healthy puppy. Don't be misled by pet shop employees who claim their dogs come from "good breeders" or that their puppies are "hand picked by the owner."

Puppy Mill Auctions

What happens to dogs in puppy mills when they can no longer breed or produce puppies for the pet store trade?

They are trapped in a continual cycle of exploitation and abuse on auction blocks, in kennel sellouts, and kennel dispersals that take place inauction many Midwestern states throughout most of the year. Most sales occur in Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri, where so-called breeder dogs are transported across state lines from Pennsylvania and other states to be sold to the highest bidder, or for as little as 25 cents. 

Breed-specific rescues will often bid against huge commercial kennels to save their special breed, like the pitiful Dachshund pictured at right, still wearing her USDA tag, while others wait until the end of a long, tortuous day to gather up the sick, weak and unwanted. These rescues will then spends thousands of dollars to rehabilitate - medically, physically and emotionally - these pitiful, un-socialized dogs who would otherwise end up with bullets in their heads and thrown in a compost heap.

The pet industry is a dirty and greed-driven business and auctions are the end of the road for many dogs that have lived for up to 8 years in puppy mills. Kennel owners milk them for every ounce of life they can and then attempt to squeeze every last dime out of buyers for these dogs.

For more information on puppy mill auctions and the movement to end them, visit the links provided below; you can also Google "dog auctions” for more resources not included here. 

Ban Ohio Dog Auctions

Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project 

Summary of Dog Auctions 2000-2007

Ohio Dog Auctions

Online Puppy Mills

The online sale of puppies is one of the fastest-growing Internet scams! There is no place more dangerous to acquire your new puppy than over the Internet.

Many prospective pet owners feel that by not patronizing pet shops, they are avoiding puppy mills and unscrupulous breeders. Yet, these scam artists and their ilk lurk in cyberspace, preying on naïve and uninformed puppy purchasers, engaging in false and deceptive advertising and selling very sick puppies with no oversight from local, state or federal agencies.

Online puppy millers hide behind pictures of adorable puppies that are nothing more than generic images lifted off public websites. Buyers find out too late that the puppy they’ve just picked up at the airport is actually imported from a puppy mill in the Midwest or even Russia or Hungary. Eastern European puppies are cheap, plentiful and very sick, yet buyers report paying thousands for these fragile little dogs who are imported into the US weeks before they are weaned in order to be sold before they lose their cute “puppy look."

Health guarantees provided by sellers are oftentimes not worth the paper they’re printed on. Puppies are either over-vaccinated or not at all and are delivered to their new homes loaded with parasites, suffering from kennel cough, pneumonia, fleas, and mange. What’s a new owner to do when the sick puppy has been shipped from another state, sometimes thousands of miles away?

Sadly, consumers don’t have a leg to stand on. Only about 20 states have puppy “lemon laws” and a buyer only has recourse if the state where the puppy is sold has a pet consumer protection law. For example, NJ residents have no rights if they purchases a puppy from Oklahoma which, incidentally, is one of the worst states for consumer or animal protection.

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