Puppy mills are a source of controversy. They are considered a form of neglect and mistreatment of the animals that are being bred for money. The shockingly poor conditions that the mothers need to live through are devastating, and most people have no idea that the cute pets they are purchasing came from a very depressed bearer. Money is valued above care for the animals.
Here are some statistics and a few bits of information about this form of cruel breeding.
1. The mills are always overcrowded, like factory-farmed chickens. Since there are so many of them, they often don’t have sufficient food, water, medical care and even just a bit of TLC.
2. They are kept indoors pretty much their entire lives.
3. The bitches are bred as often as possible, meaning they are pregnant or feeding almost all the time.
4. Due to the lack of care in the mills, puppies often have small illnesses such as pneumonia and other respiratory infections. At times, they display genetic diseases a few years after purchase.
5. The mothers often live in their own excrements, or at the very least, are never cleaned.
6. There is no law against keeping dogs (or other domestic animals) in cages their entire lives; it is only if the dogs are beaten or lack water and food that intervention is possible.
7. Many aren’t even inspected by the USDA; only the large-scale ones require this certification, and the standards are very low.
8. The cages are made of metal wire and stacked one on top of the other, so the top dogs are highly uncomfortable.
9. Mill owners sometimes lie about lineage, thus making more money.
10. The excrements cause odors and problems related to ammonia vapors.
11. The law states that puppies can’t be sold until they are 8 weeks old, but they often are sold at 6 weeks old.
12. Mills are known as commercial breeders, so profit is the main goal.
13. There is an insufficient number of inspectors in most states, so several mills get away with this inhumane treatment without even so much as a fine, much less a license suspension. They can therefore renew their licenses without a problem.
14. Mills that sell directly to the customer or through auctions DO NOTE EVEN REQUIRE A LICENSE.
How can you know the difference between a humane breeder and a mill breeder?
1- Humane breeders will only have one breed.
2- A mill won’t let you see the kennel or property.
3- A humane breeder is always eager to meet the family, at times even requiring it. A mill will have it shipped to you and may even refuse to meet you.
4- A mill won’t ask for references and won’t require a contract.
5- A humane breeder will offer to take the dog back if the family can’t keep it, for whatever reason.
6- A puppy mill has very little space for the number of animals. A humane breeder will have very few puppies and a large area.
7- A humane breeder will let the mother skip a heat cycle and rest.
8- A humane breeder screens the dogs for genetic defects and will present the results to prospect customers.
9- A humane breeder will not insist on cash-only transactions and may even offer a payment plan.
10- A humane breeder would never accept selling his puppies in auctions.
Another solution is to find your local Humane Society and adopt a pet that has surely been discarded by owners who bought from a mill.
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)