What Is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is a “factory farm” for dogs.
Dogs live in cages, often in the minimum legal space allowed (only six inches
larger than the dog on all sides). Females are bred as frequently as possible,
and when they are no longer able to “produce,” they are discarded by the
breeders. It is no life for man’s best friend.
mills legal and regulated?
Though cruel and inhumane, puppy
mills are legal. Puppy mills have been regulated by the federal government since
the 1960s. Breeders who sell puppies to pet stores must hold a USDA dealer
license, and many states also require breeders to obtain a license to have a
dog-breeding kennel. However, the standards to which they must adhere do little
more than require food, water and shelter. For example, it is perfectly legal
for licensed breeders to:
- Own 1,000 dogs or more
- Keep all
dogs in small wire cages for their entire lives
- Breed dogs as often as
The standards set forth by the government are not meant
to ensure a good life for dogs; they are meant to impose only the bare minimum
of care requirements. Furthermore, there are only a few inspectors in each state
for hundreds — sometimes thousands — of licensed breeding facilities.
Where are puppy mill dogs sold?
people buy dogs from puppy mills each year, and most believe they are getting a
dog from a responsible breeder. Puppy mill owners count on people falling in
love with their puppies, either in the pet store or through adorable photos on
Websites: Puppy mill breeders have great-looking
websites all over the Internet to sell puppies directly to the public. No matter
how convincing the site is, the reality could be hundreds of dogs warehoused for
breeding. Breeders will even say they are not puppy mills right on their
websites. Never, ever buy a puppy online.
Pet Stores: Stores sell
puppies as though they are merchandise, or products. The system is the same as
any other product in a store: Puppies are raised with low-cost production
methods, sold to a broker or “middle man,” and delivered to retail stores to be
bought by customers. No responsible breeder would ever sell puppies to a pet
Classified Ads: For decades, the newspaper classifieds have
been the first place that puppy buyers look for a new pet. Commercial breeders
tap into this market easily by placing ads. Beware of any ad that lists several
breeds for sale. If the breeder offers to meet you somewhere or won’t let you
see where the dogs and puppies live, do not buy the puppy.
How can I help fight puppy mills?
Opt to adopt!
Millions of dogs are killed every year in our country’s shelters. If you choose
to rescue, you’ll find beautiful, loving dogs of every description who simply
need a second chance. Up to 25 percent of dogs in shelters are purebreds, so
even if your heart is set on a particular breed, the best choice is adoption. If
you love dogs, please opt to adopt.
What are the Best Friends
puppy mill initiatives?
Right now, millions of adult dogs
are suffering on the “production line” in America’s puppy mills. Meanwhile,
more than 9,000 animals are euthanized in the nation’s shelters every single day.
The Best Friends puppy mill initiatives team is working with you to create a
world of No More Homeless Pets by fighting against puppy mills. From targeting
pet stores that sell puppies from mills, to educating consumers, to creating and
lobbying for better legislation across the country, our team is making an
impact, and saving lives.
Please join us in working toward a day
when all of America’s dogs have what they deserve: safety, good care, happiness,
and love from a family of their own.
How to fight puppy mills:
- Don’t buy dogs from pet stores or the Internet. Adopt instead.
- Donate to the Best Friends puppy mill initiatives at
- Speak out: Teach others about puppy
To learn more about the puppy mill problem and find out how
you can help, go to puppymills.bestfriends.org.