Frightening Tricks from the Puppy Mill Industry

Leaves are falling, there’s a chill in the air, and scary movies are playing on TV. It’s spooky season… but trouble lurks year-round for dogs in commercial breeding facilities. These facilities masquerade as something they’re not, deceiving well-intentioned families who just wanted to bring home a furry little friend. Be sure you don’t fall for these frightening puppy mill tricks: 

Lie: Puppies at commercial breeding facilities are bred with love and care.

Commercial breeding facilities, known also as puppy mills, pump out puppies like factories pump out product—using the breeding dogs over and over again even when they’re sick. These animals are not provided with adequate veterinary care, food or water. The dogs are typically piled together in cramped cages all day every day.  The dogs receive none of the love that people should provide for companion animals. 

Puppy mills prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals, and often the animals end up with contagious illnesses or hereditary diseases due to lack of care from the facilities. 

Lie: Pet store puppies don’t come from puppy mills.  

Pet stores will often claim they never sell dogs from puppy mills. The shadowy mask of puppy mills is that they often sell to brokers, who buy puppies in bulk and transport them across the country. Brokers, in turn, sell the puppies to pet stores. This means pet stores rarely have any oversight or interaction with the commercial breeders, and the store can’t really guarantee that their puppies came from a responsible breeder or that the puppies are healthy. Consumers then buy the adorable puppy from the pet store, having no idea that their dog might come from a puppy mill. 

Lie: If a breeding facility is licensed, it’s not a puppy mill.

Dog breeders who breed puppies to be sold as pets must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they have more than four breeding females and sell puppies wholesale, or sight unseen, to pet stores, brokers and/or online. But being “USDA-licensed” isn’t something to brag about, and it definitely doesn’t mean that the facility isn’t a puppy mill. The USDA is responsible for oversight of licensed commercial breeding facilities, but it is well-documented that the agency fails to enforce the law and allows violations to go unpunished. Hundreds of thousands of dogs suffer in USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities every year. In fact, the Department of Justice recently had to step in again after the USDA refused to take action against a commercial breeding facility that continued to amass horrific violations of animal abuse. 

You can avoid these frightening puppy mill tricks and help end the nightmare for dogs in commercial breeding facilities!

Don’t buy a puppy from a pet store. Pet store puppies come from commercial breeding facilities. If you are ready to add a dog to your family, consider adopting from your local shelter or rescue organization. You will be saving a life and freeing up space in the shelter for another animal in need. 

If you buy a puppy, make sure to do your research to ensure that you’re not supporting a puppy mill. One good tip is to always meet the mom of the puppy you’re interested in, and to meet her at the breeder’s facility, so that you can ensure the puppy is coming from a safe place and that the breeder treats the dogs well. Check out our handy infographic for more tips on avoiding puppy mill cruelty.

Will you help us fight for better protections for dogs? Use our simple online form to urge your member of Congress to sign Goldie’s Act. Goldie’s Act would require the federal government to protect animals in licensed commercial breeding facilities 

The dressed-up puppy in the pet store may look adorable, but the place where it came come is far from that. Don’t let puppy mills trick you this holiday season. 

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